Archive for the ‘Mountain Biking’ Category


CRASH!! Or how NOT to fly off the side of a bridge!!

September 3, 2009

On Wednesday, when Penny got home, I had the bikes loaded up for some mountain biking up at Caesars Creek on the “Easy” trail.  We’d hiked the “hard” trails last weekend, and they were a bit too aggressive for us to ride, so “easy” sounded good on the bikes.  We’d never done this trail before, but we like the “easy” trails at other parks, so this should be good too… right?!?

As we started down the trail, there were some interesting ups and downs, plus a multitude of roots that kept the route interesting, albeit more technical than we expected.  At one point I looked back and Penny wasn’t behind me, so I waited a bit, then turned around.  Just then, I saw her coming toward me.  One of the sections we encountered, she opted to walk to be on the safe side.

After we continued on, I saw a ramp or bridge up ahead and also a trail down to the right, probably to go around it.  I like ramps, so I accelerated forward, but things were not as they seemed.

It sure looked easy enough!  But as I got over half way across, what I saw stopped me in my tracks.  Instead of a ramp down the other side, the other side ended abruptly in steep stairs pretty much guaranteeing an ENDO (Head first over the handle bars).

I yelled “Oh SHIIIIIIITTTT”, slammed my brakes, and jerked my feet out of the pedal clips, which in hindsight knocked me off balance.  Feeling myself toppling over to the left, I tried to throw myself back to the right and as I felt myself going over, I clawed at the boards, futilely trying to stay on top the bridge.  The next thing I knew, I slammed down on my right side, dropping over 8 ft down into the dry creek bed with my bike on top of me.  Kinda odd how that happened.  One would expect that falling off the left hand side, I’d have ended up on top of my bike, but my violent effort to stay on top the bridge must have altered my momentum and the bike’s, sending us down on my right side.

The impact was stunning, probably the most intense I’d ever felt!  It didn’t knock the wind out of me, but pain just enveloped my entire body as I tried to evaluate my situation and slowly move.  Poor Penny was behind me and had just reached the bridge in time to watch me topple over.  I started rolling up onto my forearms and knees, as Penny was shouting very authoritatively from above “Do NOT Move!  Do NOT Move!  Wait for me to get down there!”  She said that a couple of times, and even though I got rolled up to my knees and forearms, I prudently considered the wisdom of her words.  It’s interesting how the mind/body just wants to jump up and use the fight/flight adrenaline to get out of a vulnerable situation.  Penny’s words triggered a thought in my head… just a few weeks earlier, I’d come upon a cyclist that had just crashed on the paved trail.  He immediately jumped to his feet, fainted and smashed his face into the pavement.  Not wanting to do what he did, I just stayed there until Penny climbed down and pulled the bike off of the top of me.  Only then did I remain on my knees, and raise up.  She looked me over to see if there was anything obvious.  The pain in my right elbow and hip were the most apparent, but nothing was sticking through the skin, so I had her brace me as I got to my feet.

Feeling around and doing a body part inventory took a few more minutes.  Sore, but otherwise mobile, I started to grab the bike, and thought to have Penny take some pics of the “crime scene”.

She said when she initially crossed the bridge, she couldn’t see me laying below.  Here I am standing below, and it looks a fair drop down.

Penny:  [I really was thinking, “okay, how do I tell EMS how to find us? How many bones are broken. Please not his back or neck….”
And then I find him……miracle.]

The bike was a little dinged… rear wheel knock around in the dropouts, my handlebar is skewed on the stem, but looks easily fixable, and my front tire loosened way up and nearly fell out of the dropouts.  Otherwise, it had a softer landing than me since it landed ON me… lol!  Evenso, I’m going to have the bike shop check it out just to ensure there isn’t any hidden damage.

Aside from the considerable jarring my back took, my elbow took a pretty good hit, with a big lump appearing soon after.

When I got home, Penny cleaned out the major abrasions, while I downed several shots of Yukon Jack to stave off the soreness that was enveloping my body… and primarily my back.

The following morning found me so sore that it took everything I had to roll/twist out of bed.  Aleve, Ice, and Icy Hot have been dear friends to me… but I still managed to get on the rowing machine and use it to loosen sore legs and get some healing moving around my body.

I’m an extremely lucky guy!!  This situation could have turned out much much worse, especially with the large rocks that were littering the creek bed (I “found” some of them)!  I think the primary “lesson learned” for me was that the first time on a trail should be taken with extreme care (I went slowly over most sections, but cast caution to the wind on what I thought was a ramp).  I would be a good idea to ride or walk around any obstacles or trail where the other side can’t be seen!!

… but this all left me wondering… WHY is there a bridge like this on an “easy” trail?  Has anyone else mistakenly ridden out on this bridge?


Finally…. Some Mountain Bike Trails!!

August 15, 2009

We had been considering a nice long bike ride on the trail today, but after being reminded that the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike race was going on in Colorado, we threw our mountain bikes on the back of the Jeep and headed for John Bryan State Park.

I tried to take a “shortcut” to get to John Bryan, but took the wrong exit on the Interstate and ended up taking longer to get there than the straight but slow route.  Hate it when that happens!

When we got to the park, there were few riders there, so it was easy to get around.  We decided that we’d spin around the Arboretum Trail.  The Arboretum trail (purple line on the map) is kinda like a fire road that interconnects the single-track trails and is a great warmup and tire test before hitting the trails.

After we got warmed up we hit the 2.5 mile Abracadabra trail.  Penny led out the first time around, then we stopped and rested to discuss it a bit.  I have to admit…. we haven’t been hitting the real intense exercise lately, so we had to catch our breath a bit and grabbed a quick bite.

Now that we were thoroughly warmed up, I led the next trip around, which proved to have a bit of excitement.  At one point on the trail, I saw another rider through the trees, but it looked like he was on the Arboretum trail.  Not the case… we rounded a corner and were head to head, just veering and stopping to miss each other.  The comedy part was that I couldn’t get my foot out of the pedal fast enough and toppled sideways over top of the other guy… lol.  After chatting a bit, we rode off and came up on another rider.  However, I wasn’t so deeply entranced in a zone so we stopped in time with no toppling or co-mingling of bikes.

By the time we’d finished for the day, we’d ridden about 8 miles on the trails.  Certainly a bit tired, but it was a good tired.

We headed over to Yellow Springs to stop in at the Village Cyclery because they had several Surly Long Haul Truckers in stock.  Penny test rode one of them.  The components were somewhat different than the complete Surly LHT that I’d gotten a few weeks ago, but the differences and similarities were effective.  After discussions about changes and such, she decided to get one.  After they get done prepping the bike, I’ll be picking it up for her sometime next week…. but she’ll be the proud owner of a Long Haul Trucker!

Edit: Surprisingly, with all the activities and exercise we’ve been getting, we aren’t even a hint of sore today from the mountain biking!  Woo Hoo!!


Mountain Biking at Landen-Deerfield

November 23, 2008

Even though we only live 5 miles away, we’ve yet to make it to the mountain bike trail at Landen-Deerfield until today.  Our original intention was to go out on the road bikes, but Penny’s front tire was flat (and we found where the tire was punctured, so we modified our plan and decided on a mountain bike ride).

We weren’t sure exactly where the entrance was, but knew that a trail led into the woods from Landen Drive at the end of Landen Lake, so we parked there and rode off into the woods.  From the last time we had walked in here, there were signs placed that said “Landen Residents” only.  Hmmmm…. was this a trail for locals only?  Continuing on, we came to a junction that indicated the main trail.

The trail has a bit of up and down, a couple of creek crossings where we had to walk the bikes across, and a few technical root sections.  When we climbed the hill about 3/4 around the track, we saw a parking lot and asked one of the local riders where this was.  He indicated where he drove in, giving us an idea of where we needed to park next time.

We finished out the circuit, back to the “locals only ” trail where we started, and decided that was good enough for the day.  As we arrived back at the car, I heard “psssssssssssssssssss”.  It was coming from Penny’s rear tire.  Just as she was arriving back to the vehicle, something punctured her tire as she rode across the grass…. d’oh!!

This is a nice 2 mile track, providing a nice place for a local ride.

Trail at edge of Ravine

Trail at edge of Ravine

Trail at edge of Ravine 2

Trail at edge of Ravine 2

Penny at edge of Ravine

Penny at edge of Ravine


Too much of a good thing?

November 5, 2008

Another visit to the Oakwood mountain bike trails in Napoleon left me plenty sore and seeking the relaxation of the hotel hottub!!

I took another spin around the various trails, then after I got nice and warmed up, I focused on “hill repeats”… going up and down some of the sharp ascents and descents.  I figured this would be great practice for some of the hills in Cincinnati that I loathe on my road bike.

I’m not sure how recommended this is, but I found that I had a better go of the hills when I reached down and “locked out” the front forks before the ascent.  Otherwise it seemed that the shocks absorbed so much of the energy I was putting into the pedaling that I ground to a halt before the summit.  Once I locked out the forks, I was able to tackle any of the hills, even those with many roots.  Of course, once back on flats, or before the descents, I would reach down and unlock the shocks so that I didn’t get jarred to death or bounced off the bike.  It only took me a short steep decline to learn that lesson… LOL!

Anyway… that hot tub sure felt nice… and my back is looser…. now… where is that Aleve!! 🙂

I’m sure looking forward to getting back on the road bike when I get home!!  There’s a potential group ride Saturday morning for the Cincinnati Bike Club I just joined, and a Saturday night ride in Xenia with a group from Greene County and the Pedalopolis forum.


7 Miles of Mountain Biking at Oakwood Park in Napoleon, OH

November 4, 2008

It seems as of late, I’ve been doing a lot of mountain bike riding.  Looking at my training log, that is surely the case.  Why?  1) Perhaps because we just got new mountain bikes a couple of weeks ago, 2) With the sun setting quickly in the evening, it’s a great way to get a good workout packed into a short amount of time, 3) The completeness of the workout, both for building leg strength on the short intense hills of the trails, and the upper body workout from handling, twisting, pulling, and balancing the bike as the trails turn sharply around trees and obstacles…. something entirely missing from riding on the road.

Tonight I ran over to Oakwood Park in Napoleon, OH.  I’d only learned of it a few days ago when I was perusing the SpokeJunkie website.  I had no idea it was this close to the college where I work (Yes… I live near Cincinnati, not near the college… a distance employee of sorts that travels around… hotels are my friend… LOL).

This MTB trail has a bit of everything for a novice MTB’er like myself….. trails littered with roots, fast drops, short intense climbs, log crossings, off-camber maneuvering (think “side of hill” riding), and flats for recovering.

The sun was setting pretty quickly when I arrived, so I had little time to waste.  Attaching my light, I made off for the trail and found one of many entry points to the single track (from the gravel path that circumnavigated the ball diamonds and parking lots.)

The trail has a lot of variety to it.  It was a bit of a challenge primarily because there was a thick leaf cover making it tougher to figure out which way the trail was going.  It hid some stuff like ruts and roots too, keeping me light on the handle bars and soft on the seat.

There is a gravel path that goes around the ball diamonds and park lots.

As you can tell, I didn’t have any fun at all!

I’ll definitely be back… if not tomorrow, then soon!

Album Pics on Facebook


East Fork State Park Mountain Bike Trails

November 2, 2008

What an awesome day for screaming around on some mountain bike trails!!!

Today we wanted to head back out on the bikes…. road bikes vs mountain bikes…. hmm…. what the heck!  Let’s go mountain biking.  The next question was where?  Our last couple of MTB rides were up to John Bryan SP, so we thought we’d go out to the trails at East Fork State ParkWe’d attempted this once, but I turned the rear hub into rice krispies on the chinese schwinn retail store mtb…. not designed for real trails!!

Penny on Trail

Penny on Trail

The easy trail is 2.3 miles long and involves more elevation changes, has more roots to travel over, and takes different skills than John Bryan MTB trails.  To compare the two, East Fork takes better pedal control (so as not to spin over roots when climbing) and John Bryan takes more steering control (lots of trail between narrow trees).  Neither the John Bryan nor the East Fork “easy” trails are very difficult and can be fun for novice riders.

Bob on trail

Bob on trail

There were a few people out on the trails, so we pulled over to let others by, either those oncoming or those that caught us from behind.  Once back to the parking lot, Penny opted to sit out the next ride, instead taking her camera out for a walk.  We all have our days when not as strong as others, and this one wasn’t hers, so I opted to try the intermediate trail for my next ride.

Intermediate Trail

Intermediate Trail

The intermediate trail is 2.9 miles long and more of the same… lots of big roots, repetitive roots, and constant/bigger elevation changes with faster single track.  It was a blast to tackle for the first time, and I pushed a bit harder at different times because it had some long fast sections as well. In a few areas I was flying through and probably barely in control, but it was a helluva lot of fun!  Woo Hoo!!!

Fast and Furious

Fast and Furious

Parts of the trail over look the steep decline into the lake, so I stopped to snap a few pics of the water and trail along the way.

Water Below

Water Below

it was a georgeous day, 70F, and an awesome workout on some cool trails!  We also talked with some others that were on the trail as well…. nice folks!  Some mentioned other trails we need to try, like those at Paint Creek State Park.  Many more mtb trails can be found using the Spoke Junkies website.


Wabash Cannonball Trail (CR17 to SR-20A)

October 30, 2008

Tonight I parked next to the trail at CR17 just on the west side of Wauseon and headed west on the Wabash Cannonball Trail.  At CR 19, the trail is blocked by a trucking company that has spread across the old railbed and fenced in the property.  I headed west about a 1/2 mile and saw a semblance of a dirt path going down the side of a field.  Taking a chance, this path quickly connected to the Trail again.

This section of the trail was heavily wooded and one of the nicer sections since most of the trail borders open fields.  Once the trail got to CR21, it was in open field again, and had lots of loose rip-rap, not quite as bad as last night, but still taking more energy than the hardpack overgrown cinder.  When the trail ended at SR-20A (not far from CR22), there was no sign of it across the road.  Instead, a farmer had plowed it under.  It looks like I would have to take SR-20A west to CR22 north and re-acquire the trail.  From here I was a bit over a mile from the farthest point east I’d taken the trail when I had ridden it from West Unity to the Turnpike entrance earlier in the summer.

From here I turned around, but wasn’t keen on going back through the loose stone, so I turned my bike lights on and headed east on SR-20A until I reached CR21.  Dropping back down on the trail, I took this prettier section back until it dead ended at the Trucking Company at CR-F. I thought I was consuming enough energy gel, but felt like I was bonking, so I took the road back to the vehicle, taking CR-F east to CR17.  Here, I dropped down CR17 back to my vehicle.

Using this bike without clipless pedals is murder on the quads and leads to grossly inefficient pedaling mechanics, so I’ve considered getting a mountain bike style shoe, but I sure like the warmth of my hiking boots on the ankles.    I’ll have to weigh the options and see what I come up with.

Definitely a good workout though!