Since Operation Stop Being a Fatass 2.0 is progressing rather satisfactorily (down 15 pounds this month) I’ll be pulling my trusty 1992 GT Karakoram Full Rigid out of storage so I can give it a proper tuneup and start hitting the trails again. With the exception of racing my nephews up and down the cul-de-sac I haven’t gone riding since Summer of 2004 and the Karakoram desperately needs some TLC since it was ridden hard and put away wet without any end of season maintenance. I got fat and it started rusting.
So I’ve now committed myself financially to getting back behind the bars by picking up the supplies required to finally do a complete overhaul. A Park Tool PCS-10 Home Mechanic Repair Stand and Park Tool Work Tray will keep the bike firmly planted on the workbench while I tickle its naughty bits with a Park Tool AK-37 Advanced Mechanic Tool Kit, Finish Line Speed Degreaser, and Finish Line DRY Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube. My full automotive mechanic tool kit was missing many of the critical tools to properly maintain a bike so I needed the AK-37 kit to fill in the gaps.
Assuming I actually follow through, start riding again, and hit my initial goal weight of 240ish pounds by the end of the Summer I’ll definitely upgrade to a 2012 GT Karakoram 1.0 Hardtail 29er. No way I’m going to drop the coin to go full suspension unless I get under 200 pounds and am doing some serious miles. And if the wife wants to start riding as well then a 2012 GT Palomar Hardtail will probably be in her future.
I hopped on the mountain bike last night and did a leisurely 8 miles in Winnekenni Park around Kenoza Lake. It was the first time I’d actually ridden up to the castle and, instead of just bombing back down the access road, I took Castle Trail back down to Dudley Porter Trail. There was quite a bit of washout and a few fallen logs on Castle Trail which turned it into a mildly technical run.
Instead of tackling the hill on Shore Trail, I dropped down to Plug Pond Trail which has quite a few rocks and exposed roots. I was caught out a few times because my tire pressures were too high, I lost traction on the larger uphill obstacles, and dropped my chain due to a poorly-adjusted front derailleur. Other than the few times my feet were forced to touch the ground, the trail was in great condition. Even the mudpit where the trail meets the lake was almost dry and easily navigable.
Merrill Trail, however, was much different than I remember from last year. Extremely tight and twisty, the trail had become an extremely overgrown singletrack with lots of blind corners. Bushes and branches hung into the trail from all sides giving a tunnelvision effect. It was also extremely dry hardpack, which led to some very high speeds weaving between trees and bushes. I came up on the bridge so fast I didn’t even have time to hop onto it; I just dove into the (luckily) dry stream bed and popped out the other side. A few fallen trees right at helmet level made the last 1/4 mile quite interesting.
Now that I know the conditions are dry, I’ll definitely load my pack up with my Digital Rebel and document the trail.