Also, renaming the Mtn Bike to Humble Horse. I was never very happy with my previous names for it. But Humble Horse sounds good and goes well with Mindful Mule, its friend.
I was planning to take a rest day today. But Brown Mountain is Open! Who can rest when there’s so many trails to get reacquainted with?!
But getting out on the road was a little bit of a process. Humble Horse hasn’t been ridden in like forever. I think the last time I rode it was on the Old Ridge Route in December 2009!
So, it’s sorta been in mothballs for a while. Obviously it needed air in the tires and shocks but that’s not so different from how it would be when in weekly riding condition. It also needed pedals. I stole its pedals for the Purple People Eater road bike a while back when PPE’s pedals self-destructed – I never really figured out why that happened to those pedals – I think there was an internal flaw that eventually just ground the bearing cones to shit and it popped off from the spline. Luckily I had some old, nearly perfectly functioning pedals in the wings for HH (no Lolita jokes!) – the left side pedal only clicks-in on one side – no biggie.
Also at some point during the last year and a half I stole HH’s spare inner tube for Mindful Mule. And that thing is packed so precisely into MM’s little Cage Rocket that I didn’t want to remove it. So I went with just a patch kit and a 700X25 tube. I just didn’t want to remove that 700 tube from the seat bag either. My bikes do a lot of sharing of parts and accessories, you can see. But, why not when, except on rare occasion, you can only ride’em one at a time anyway?
Along the way I was wondering if a 700X25 tube could do a thing to allow you to limp home on a 26X2 tire. I won’t take you through the entire thought process, but the essence of it was no, maybe, would be fun to try, you’d probably be better off walking it home.
Let’s see, what else wasn’t ready to go? I guess that’s about it. Actually not too bad after a long hiatus. Amazingly, the odometer battery still worked.
So off we finally went. It felt totally strange to be on Humble Horse again. First big notice was the brakes – they actually work – and how! I practically endoed going down my driveway. Light finger pressure on the levers took some relearning.
And the shocks are crazy. I’d forgotten how much they squish even on the road.
And the tires – the knobbies are loud!
But she spins so nicely once you get her going…
And then the mountain. Brown Mountain. You forget about everything up there.
Rode El Prieto Trail on the way down. It’s what I would call semi-technical single track. Some of the best around, or so everybody says. But I’ve never been much of a technical rider – and especially not now. With all this time away from the trails I have a hard enough time just staying upright on the fire road. Although already things are better than last week. It was good to be on El P, though. It’s a very nice trail. Better suited for foot travel, I think. Looking forward to a trail run up there again soon.
Brown Mountain is not quite the same as it was. Current conditions discourage fast descents – which is probably a good thing. Maybe too many yahoos up there going fast in the past. But that thrill of a speedy descent was part of the fun. Now it’s narrower and slightly more technical and visibility is lower due to encroachment from foliage. It will probably widen up a little more soon enough with more use.
I have the feeling though that the Forest Service is going to let this road decommission itself. It will turn into a wide single or double track trail which is fine and good but like I said just not the same. Someday the top will open, too, and everything will be just fine even without the speed factor.