Friday, November 29, 2019

Rottenwood Creek

Yesterday, up at MGap, Jennifer Braddock told me that the planned work at North Cooper Lake Park had been finished. When I lived in Vinings Estates, I rode there a lot, but having moved just a little farther away, I've been busy exploring elsewhere since last February. I guess that was enough time though. The work is done, and she said it was worth checking out. Today, I felt like burning off some Turkey, so I put together a route and figured I'd give the park a run through while I was out.

Turns out I may need to make a special trip out there. The new trails are involved. It's not so much a mountain bike trail, as it is a "bike park" which is apparently a term these days; means there's jumps and stuff. Out in the field on the way in, there was an elaborate loop, full of obstacles. It looked like you could ride off of the trail into all of that though, so rather than hit it right away, I figured I'd hit it at the end of the ride.

The system has a bunch of loops, sort-of stacked, but not exactly. It's not immediately clear exactly what was preserved from the old system, so it'll take a minute to map out. I rode the easy loop, then the intermediate loop, which was full of berms and jumps, then another easy loop, this time picking up the trail that I figured ran around to the back of the property. There's this one section where you bomb down a little hill, come around the end of a big block of concrete, then have to shift way down and climb another steep hill. Right as I hit the bottom another guy came around that block from the other direction. I almost stopped. He almost stopped, but there was no way.

For the first time in 21 years of mountain biking, I actually crashed into another mountain biker. We crashed about as harmlessly as possible - only our bar ends touched. But my shoulder is garbage, and fell right out of socket. When it popped back in it stoved my whole arm and the whole left side of my chest. By far, the worst that kind of thing has ever hurt. Fortunately, I managed to land on the other arm. Before long the stoving wore off and I could test it and put weight on it. It only bothered me if I pulled on the bars, and then only a little. It was amazing how uninjured I ended up considering how badly it hurt!

It was cool to meet the guy that I ran into though. His name was Colston (I think) and he rides there a bit. He had his sister with him and I think her husband or boyfriend. We ended up riding together for a while afterwards - hit the flow trail and screwed around on the pump track for a while. He said that he thought that the trail was directional, but I didn't see any signage to that effect. There used to be, but it had been taken down, and the carsonite sign leading into the system specifically said two-way traffic. We checked the kiosk. Yep, directional. I was going the right direction. But only by pure luck. We had no idea. The line of sight at that spot just needs to be opened up. Even if all the mountain bikers are going the right way, we could easily run into a hiker there.

But... That whole thing was supposed to be a little side trip for a bigger ride, and after all that I finally got down to the real business. Silver Comet - Cumberland Connector - couple of roads - Rottenwood Creek Trail. That was the trail I wanted to actually ride. It had recently been extended a bit, and I'd never ridden the section that goes down by the river.

Well, I did today:

Ha ha!

The tread was weird on that whole trail. Some kind of very porous concrete. Like a bunch of little cement balls sintered together somehow. Like a wide, coarse, linear cinderblock. My guess was that it would drain well and provide good traction if it was wet. I wonder how it's made though.

From there I took a piece of the Moutain to River trail back up to Cumberland and basically retraced my steps home. Mostly uneventful.

Passing by Smyrna Bicycles though, I noticed their Open sign was lit up. I'd popped a spoke a few days back, wrapped it up for my night ride yesterday, and noticed the tire rubbing the frame when I cornered today. Hmm... If they were open, maybe they could fix my wheel. Yep! Fixed! It took a while to find a matching spoke for my strange wheels, but he did it. Score!

That little side trip cost me 20 minutes or so, and put me back home in the dark, but it was well worth it. I'm riding the Turkey Shuffle tomorrow, and functioning wheels are a plus.

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