08 February, 2008

Southern Hospitality

Here's to Tennessee!

She proved to be a worthy side trip. On Sunday, post Snake Creek #2 we swung through Chatty to ride Raccoon Mountain. This was my first time riding it, since I bailed last time to fly to Miami. The 16 or so mile loop, a mere 20 minutes outside of downtown is a testament to trail building.
We in Ohio have trails "built by mountain bikers, for mountain bikers" but these mountain bikers are slow mountain bikers, or they plan the flow of the trail while walking through the woods and never turn up the speed. Either that or its all dangerously benched into a hillside. This trail has two things going for it that must be unobtainable for Ohio; incredible flow at speed, and sustainability. I have loud hubs, and i love my loud hubs, and i've never heard them sing so unencumbered as at Raccoon.
Do a little climb, put some power into the single speed, and then float coasting through the woods, carving turns with a swing of the hips and a duck of the shoulder. Rarely do you have to grab the brakes, make a tight turn around a sappling, and start all over. Well done. And considering the amount of traffic this trail gets (we waited as a group of what seemed like 30 riders came at us and went by) its in perfect shape. Drains well, water crossings were dealt with, turns are burmed so you don't need to brake and skid, ups and downs feature wide switchbacks so they don't become temporal streams, etc ., etc.You what you get with that...a smiling Davis. Chip's smile doesn't count, that kid always has that goofy look on his face, see my write up on Snake #1.

On to Nashville for my last week of work for a while. Mixed feelings about that, but this isn't the place for that rant. Thad, of Team Yazoo, dropped me a line to come out and meet some of the guys at the Yazoo Brewing Tap Room for a couple pints. I show up, solo, to a strange place and pace the small room like a blind date reject. Little do I know that Thad is still at home battling some....er....digestive complications, brought on sometime after Snake #2. Troy and Sharp pick up his slack, we have an assortment of great beer, and then move on to another bar. I have to say that hanging out with complete strangers has reinstated my faith in humanity, but as of now, this belief only extends south of the Mason Dixon, all the more reason I'm trying to move south eventually.

Headed towards Chattanooga today, stopping at Franklin State Forest for a quick ride. I had planned on riding the whole loop, but an incident that involved a valet, my uninsured rental car, and a big puddle of coolant put a damper on my day (with more to come no doubt).
So I sped into Monteagle, TN, missed the northern trailhead, and finally found the southern trailhead at 4:30. I think i got like 8 miles in total, but the trail looked pretty good. It'll have to get a respectable ride next time, maybe post Snake #3.
Tomorrow holds another helping of southern hospitality. Shane, from Bear Creek Bikes, has fallen ill as well, but called a few of his friends, who are now taking me out for a ride in Ocoee tomorrow. I have no idea what's in store, but am looking forward to another day of riding new stuff in warm weather.

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