Ah, Fall

After the Labor Day Roast at Rockland, this weekend’s cloud cover and highs in the 60s felt invigorating. I rode both days. Saturday’s solo 18 mile graveller was quiet. In an hour and a half, I saw 10 cars, 11 motorcycles, 3 bikes, 4 pedestrians, and 3 dogs. Sex Life, the trail between Battle Swamp and Judd’s Bridge, was still slimy from the week’s rain, so I didn’t mind slowing down to move sticks off the path. Another set of tracks looked like someone had come up the hill earlier. I wondered if I knew the rider. Probably. Not a lot of people ride there.

Sunday, I did a group mtb ride, hitting Waldo with Ben and 3 guys who are newer to the game than I am. One of them, Matt, was used to riding the flowy trails in Utah and he was despairing of rocky, east-coast mountain biking. He loved Waldo.

I felt loose and relaxed in the cool air, and the trails flowed whoopingly. I only bobbled one tech, the rooty, rocky chicane between the trees on Red that has skeeved me out for two years. Going back and sessioning that is on my list. Late season strength and lower tire pressure now that I’m riding tubeless are both helping. Nonetheless it felt like other things were coming together as well.  I’m riding out of the saddle more and experiencing how much better that position allows the bike to move and be moved underneath me. The ride is smoother and turning is more certain, adding to my fun and confidence. Related to that, I’m working on the timing and mechanics of the front-wheel pop followed by the forward leap to clear obstacles. The results are small but encouraging, and I do wonder if a bike with a shorter wheelbase would handle that better.

N + 1….

It’s a good place to be heading into the fall. Last year, losing most of the summer to the broken wrist left me nervous about riding as well as out of shape. The year before was my first as an mtber. I think that this autumn is going to be fun.




About swampyankeecyclist

I'm Andy Engel, just a middle-aged, middle-class guy from Roxbury, Connecticut. I've been married to my best friend since 1988, and we have two grown sons. I like riding bikes, and my biggest accomplishment is the 180K D2R2. I own 5 bikes but my go-to rides are a 2016 GT Grade gravel and commuter bike and a 2016 Specialized 650b hardtail mountain bike. Additionally, I have a 2000-something carbon-fiber Orbea road bike, a 1990-something Specialized Sirrus that's my old dirt and commuter bike and which now serves as a spare and a trainer bike, and a 1985 Ross Mount Hood MTB. All but the 650b have Brooks saddles. I work from home now, but used to commute 32 miles round trip to work by bike year round. I was a carpenter and still love building things, but regular paychecks, insurance, and vacation time lured me into journalism. I've written a couple of books on carpentry, and I've been an editor at Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, and Professional Deck Builder magazines. Currently, I manage construction events at the JLC Live and Remodeling Show trade shows. Additionally, my wife and I run Transylvania Guest House, an Airbnb. Find us on Instagram. Come stay with us and I'll show you some great cycling.
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