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Wet and muddy ride yesterday, took a nice fall!

Monday, August 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

Bike on a Trail shot for August 14, 2011.

Bike on a Trail shot for August 14, 2011.

We’ve had more than eight inches of rain so far this month, and most of that precipitation has fallen within the past week. So yesterday when I headed over to Wekiwa Forest to do some mountain biking I knew that the trails would be wet and muddy (they were) and the humidity would be stifling (it was). Also, some of the storms have been pretty intense, and so I was not surprised to find quite a few downed trees across the trails. Some of the fallen trees were small enough that I was able to jump over them, but a few of the trees were so large that I had to climb over them with my bike. Actually, one of the fallen trees caused me to take a pretty good fall…

I surprised this deer in the middle of a meal.

I surprised this deer in the middle of a meal.

I was riding fast and approaching a rather sharp turn. Normally I have to reduce my speed and weight the front tire to avoid washing out on this particular turn (lots of sand), but all the rain has packed the sand down making the trails much faster. So I hit the turn with more speed than usual, and as I rounded the blind corner there was a fallen tree partially blocking the trail right in front of me! I manged to avoid the tree trunk, however I hit a massive patch of Spanish moss, leaves and branches that was hanging from the fallen tree. I was hoping that I would be able to plow through, but the tangle was way too thick and it pretty much instantly stopped my bike sending me flying over the handlebars on a brief flight (I had the tension on my clipless pedals loose enough that the cleats on my shoes released from the the bike). It probably looked worse than it was, because I rolled out of the fall and popped right up completely uninjured (I did bang my knee on a root when I hit, but it’s fine).

Prevatt Lake: June vs. August!

Prevatt Lake: June vs. August!

So that’s the first time I’ve fallen since I’ve moved to a clipless setup, and it wasn’t even because I was clipped in!

Since moving to a lighter bike and a clipless pedal setup my speed has improved so much that I almost can’t believe it. Yesterday I reached my usual first break area in just 31 minutes! On my old Trek 4300 and with platform pedals it took me around 44-45 minutes to reach this same spot.

You may recall the sad pictures of Prevatt Lake I posted earlier this summer. We were having a pretty serious drought, and the lake completely dried up. I’m so happy that all the rain this month has started to replenish the lake. The difference between now and two months ago is pretty astonishing. Just check out the comparison photos. I took these two photos standing in the exact same spot (pointing in slightly different directions).

Now that the lake has water in it again it’s attracting a large amount of wildlife. Yesterday I saw deer, frogs, toads, jackrabbits, wild turkeys, dozens of water and song birds, squirrels and all kinds of insects. Still no black bears. 🙁

One problem that I’ve been having this summer is the high humidity causes my camera lens to fog up. The reason this happens is because I was bringing my camera out straight from my air conditioned home and car. What I’ve done to combat this problem with excellent results is I simply put the camera in my car the night before I ride. Also, when I’m heading to the trails I don’t run the A/C in my car and I put the windows down. Since I started doing this lens fog has not been an issue.

So yesterday was an absolute blast, and it was also the muddiest and wettest mountain bike riding I’ve ever done. My new Trek Fuel EX 8 is performing amazingly well, and it handled the mud without any real issues. Once things got real muddy I did experience some noise caused by chain drag (even on the middle chainring), so that’s going to require a little adjustment because that’s a really annoying sound. I’ve also had no back or butt pain since moving to a full-suspension bike, and that’s made riding 100% more enjoyable. I’m really happy with the investment.

LAST CHANCE! The AtLarge Nutrition sale and drawing is ending today! Remember, placing an order of any size (you must use the 15% off coupon code JSF15) gets you in the drawing for a free year of Nitrean! Good luck!

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