Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tybee Cross

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Monday's ride was horrible. Tuesday I got out and spun laps around the island until I wanted to shoot myself. The only thing that made it better than Monday was that I rode fewer miles.

Thursday I gave it another try. The whole time we'd been coming and going between Savannah and Tybee, I'd seen folks riding all kinds of bikes back and forth on some little trail just to the north of Highway 80. It followed the road for a couple of miles then appeared to diverge and keep going for several more. I only had my road bike, but maybe I too could ride it. Maybe it would be cool.

The trailhead.

 1-old Savannah Tybee railroad trailhead

See, road bike.


I was worried that the surface might be sandy or pebbly, but it was extremely hard packed and rolled really well. No problem on the road bike, even with the road tires.

There were literally tens of thousands of crabs on the trail. They ranged from infinitesimally small to around 2 inches and parted like the red sea as I approached, then closed back in behind me. It appeared that they were used to having to move out of the way, but not used to having to move all that quickly. I tried to dodge them, but I'm sure that I murdered a few dozen. They were fast enough to scatter when I tried to take a photo of a group of them though.


The trail. Pretty much looked like this for miles.

 4-old Savannah Tybee railroad trail 1

I felt pretty good. Maybe I was getting acclimated, maybe I was well rested, maybe it was just the magic of rolling on dirt. Whatever it was, it was no death march and very satisfying.

Little bit of erosion here.


I'd ridden a chunky section before this one. On the mountain bike I'd have probably ridden this one too, but I wasn't so confident on the road bike and chose to walk. Unfortunately fine gravel and Speedplay pedals do not mix and I spent several minutes clearing the garbage from my shoes before barely getting them to clip back in.

End of the line. Apparently this is a rail-to-trail conversion. I'd hoped it would come out somewhere, but it just ended abruptly. Nothing to do but turn around.

 6-end of the line

On the way back, again, I had to walk and spend several minutes clearing my shoes. The build-up of grit left me with almost no float and clipping out took a lot of force. As I rode through the first chunky section, my front tire slipped, I could not clip out and I ate it pretty hard. Yay. First crash ever on my road bike, and ironically, not on the road.

A mile or so later I pinch flatted on a bridge. Guess I should have hopped a little more. After a quick change I rolled about 20 feet and Blam! Blew out my spare. The valve stem didn't quite look right after I'd aired up the spare. I must have gotten it kinked or something.

No more spares, no more C02. Time to call in a rescue. I walked 2 and a half miles back to the trailhead where my wife and father-in-law met me and picked me up. I'm a real genius though. I could have turned around and walked half a mile the other way to a different trailhead and just got them to pick me up there. The thought had half-occurred to me, but for some reason that I don't remember or understand now, I dismissed it. Whee.

I did consider just walking through the marsh over to the road, which was about 100 feet away to the south, but the water was at least a foot deep and I had no idea what the mud would be like. There were several fallen trees buried to various extents in the mud. Would it be soft? How deep was it? I didn't know, so I just walked out. I kept looking for an easy way across, but never found one.

The walk gave me a chance to get a good look at some wildlife though.



Crane. Kind of hard to see. In real life it was big.

 8-marsh and crane


At first I thought it was a cottonmouth, but on closer inspection...
Circle head. No danger.
I think this is a yellow rat snake.


I've seen folks ride all around Big Creek on road bikes, and I'd thought about trying my road bike out on some of the local mountain bike trails. No doubt they'd be flatter than Big Creek, but after that little adventure I thought better of it. Next time I go to Savannah I'm just bringing my mountain bike.

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