Monday, October 14, 2013

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

I'd threatened to go camping this four-day weekend but opted to not.  Instead I did get some bike riding in.

Friday was a rather low-key, rainy Friday.  I spent the day catching up on some reading and doing domestic chores (do a load of laundry, have a beer!).  By Friday evening the rain was gone.

Saturday I took the Surly Big Dummy from my place, down the hill, and met co-worker Dan at the last-of-the-season farmer's market.  After a really good apple, we departed east bound along the waterway.  After a few pleasant miles we stopped a Manchester State Park for a ride around/explore session.  I was pleasantly surprised how nice this park is.

We departed Manchester State Park retracing our route back to the downtown area of Port Orchard, WA.  It was getting to be late afternoon and I was getting hungry and thirsty.  We opted to stop at Whiskey Gulch (mostly coffee shop but does sell beer and no whiskey).  One Panini and one beer later and we split company headed for our respective domiciles but not before I had one of Whiskey Gulch's impressive bacon oatmeal cookies.  Oh my, those are fabulous!

Another co-worker pointed out that Tiger Mountain would be closing to mountain bike traffic at the end of the day Monday.  Evidently, Tiger Mountain gets a bit muddy during the rainy season.  Officials close it to keep it from getting rutted out.

I picked up co-worker Dan at 8:30 AM and by 9:45 we were riding Tiger Mountain.  We explored an out-and-back trail and then hit the gravel road (closed to vehicles) for the long, steep climb to the summit.  My estimation is the road was 8% to 10% grade the entire way up.  Much sweat and effort later and we rendezvoused at the summit.  Clif bars consumed, water chugged.

I must say, the trail coming down was quite impressive.  It had excellent flow, high banked curves, plenty of jumps, and was quite technical in spots.  The longer climb was soon forgotten.  I managed to not crash.  Given the wettish conditions and my lack of mountain biking most all summer, I was expecting to given the speed of the descent and the technical nature of the trail.

Next season I'll be back to Tiger Mountain.  It has wonderful trails.  There are many we didn't have time to sample.  As much fun as I'd had camping and backpacking this past summer, I did it at the expense of not biking hardly at all.  I'm sort of bummed about that.

I am working my ass back into condition.  There are many places around that don't close for the rainy season.  I'll be doing much more riding over the winter and into the sunny, dry summer next year.

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