Its winter so let it be cold. That doesn’t mean we have to put our bikes away until warmer weather comes back in the spring. There is a sense of accomplishment and triumph involved in winter cycling. Overcoming frigid temps to do what we enjoy can be very satisfying. Sometimes a group ride is needed as incentive to wake up early on a weekend to leave a warm bed. The idea of meeting some friends for a mountain bike ride is all the motivation I need in cold weather.
Last Sunday a gang of us met at Allamuchy, not quite the ass crack of dawn but to some 8:00am is early for a Sunday. Getting up early is not foreign to me; my work- day usually begins at o dark 30. For group rides I prefer early starts; with 9 of us riding the miles will take awhile. Besides we never start rides on time anyway.
We parked in the tranquility lot and climbed our way up the white trail. The start of the ride was 20 degrees but the ascent up white made it feel like 90 degrees. Our bodies stayed warm but Camelbaks, water bottles and derailleurs began to freeze up. At this point we were all riding 1x9’s, except for Woody on his SS rigid Indy Fab. He is a farm boy type; strong, resourceful and unassuming. He can do anything on his bike and fix anything with what he has in his back pocket…farm boy.
Here is Woody helping 26er fix his flat tire but 26er screwed It up by putting too much torque on valve stem while re-inflatting, which resulted in a sheared stem. Luckily Pearl had a back up 26” tube even though he was on a 29er. Pearl also has the largest collection of betamax movies on the east coast.
The first showcase on the 26er tour was lumpy bumpy. Compared to rolly polly and candy ass I find this to be the easier tech stuff. Not that I didn’t take a dab or two, it’s the large boulders that drop you straight down that scares the jeebies out of me. I’m proud to say I walked some of those big-ums that rolly and candy ass are known for. I watched some of the other guys roll it but not me, something in my brains says don’t do it. I’d rather ride out a candy ass then end up with a busted ass.
Next up on the ride was to make our way over to rolly polly. The only people out of 9 of us that knows how to get there from here are Brett and 26er. But they have to collaborate with their information; it took the two of them much discussion at the back of the train to figure out the proper route. We made it even harder for them by taking the occasional wrong turn. Along the way we found Marty’s riders Paul and Vick. They hopped on bringing our train up to 11.
At about the 2-hour mark Brett, Falco, Ru and Pearl had to split and followed the trailhead back to the cars. The 7 of us continued toward rolly polly by climbing up ice cream. The climb was not the steepest but it seemed to be never ending. Paul was leading the way in what seemed like a 15-minute interval up ice cream. Once at the top we played on the boulders that are rolly polly. The climb up nearly killed 26er but the rollers on rp brought him back to life, he ain’t no candy ass when it comes to the big-ums.
To make the 26er good stuff tour complete we had to hit candy ass. At this point we had over 2.5hrs of saddle time in but there was no way we were going to turn back. Paul and Vick parked on the other side of the park so they opted to head towards their cars as we made our way toward CA.
By the amount of leaves on the trail one could see that CA is clearly the road less traveled. At some points we lost the trail briefly due to leaves but it was easy to pick up by following the rocks. This section of mooch offered great flow with some tough technical rock sections thrown in. Of course I was a ca on the parts that had you descending straight down a boulder but other then that I kept it respectable.
The good thing about parking in tranquility is the bombing downhill you get as you head back to the cars. After 3+hrs, not having to pedal uphill is a good thing. After 20 hard earned miles 26er took us on the best stuff that Mooch north has to offer. That’s what I call the good stuff.