Tonight's ride was once again at the Woodlot. At 6:30pm I met Dave and Mark at the parking lot and we headed up the hill with me on my hard tail, Dave on his Norco Six, and Mark on a Team Shore. It was hard to believe but the rain had stopped for us and we were not needing our rain gear for the ride. Since I had last been at The Woodlot there had been yet another windstorm and we were sure that we would be encountering fallen trees during our ride.
We had not really decided on a route beforehand so we decided that we would figure out our route at the top. Once Dave and Mark had finished their bickering about how to mount the HID on Dave's helmet ;-) we started the climb to the top. Once we had reached Quick Hit, Dave and I stopped for a bit to make sure the trail was in good condition but Mark continued on. Dave and I then continued a leisurely climb up into the forest. However about 10 feet into the forest Mark jumped out in front of Dave scaring the crap out of him. I don't think Dave will admit it but Mark got Dave really good.
Fortunately there weren't any trees down on the climb up and the power-lines came up quite fast. Once at the top we all geared up, fired up the lights and decided on the route. Tonight is was Krazy Karpenter, Blood Donor, Giant Killer, Snakes and Ladders and finally Shotgun. Once we started into Karpenter I could tell the wood was SLICK everywhere. I managed to clean the big log-ride on my hard tail and gave a WHHHOOOOOHOOOO at the bottom as there was one moment of sketch, however Mark was not as lucky as me and took the first tumble of the evening knocking his HID off his bars. After the repair we continued down the trail only to be stopped by the first of MANY fallen trees on the trail. About 5 more stops to clear trees and we were finally at the spiral ladder that goes around and through a stump.
I have ridden the spiral stump feature many times and have figured out the process of riding it clean many months ago, but neither Dave nor Mark had ridden it, let alone cleaned it. There is a fine art to making the turn clean and a simple trials hop doesn't always suffice. Mark gave it a shot and well....didn't quite make it through, neither did Dave. Mark tried it again and almost made it, but I think Karma caught up with him for frightening Dave earlier because just as it looked like he was about to complete the stunt, he stumbled and grumbled as he put a foot down.
Later on down the trail there were still more tree down across our path but for a while there was a section that was all clear and I was able to get on to the narrow planked skinnie section. I rode it.....not totally clean, but almost. Behind me Mark made an attempt at the same section but did not fare too well. His rear wheel slipped off the plank and he went plunk with his bike. Though Mark got up okay, his bike and light were in need of repair. His rear wheel came out of its drop-outs and his HID light snapped its mount and was dangling about in the dark. Once repairs were made we continued over to Blood Donor. I think by this time we had already stopped 10 times to clear trees so once we were at the top of Donor we decided to have a good look at the new ladder gap step-down at the top of the trail. All I can say is Big, really, really BIG!
Down Blood Donor we went clearing a tree here and there and hitting a few stunts on the trail. Giant Killer was next on the agenda. Fortunately there really weren't many trees down on Giant Killer so we were actually able to get some flow going on the trail. On the long log ride I had a brief moment of sketch due to the wet and slippy conditions, but overall it was a sweet ride.
We then went over to Snakes and Ladders to give her a rip. The trail started off okay, but time after time we were stopping to clear tree after tree. Once we made it down to the Snakes Jump. Mark and I decided to hit it a few times and lets just day Mark was lucky he had a lot of air in his rear tire. CASAGE!!! Of the three of us he definitely provided the most entertainment this evening.
Further down the trail I hit all the stunts and Mark and I paused at the top of the rock face. Behind us we could hear a thud and a groan. Dave went down on the little log drop. He was shaken but everything was intact and thankfully his bike was still running well ;-)
Down to last ladder roll we went and Mark asked just how fast he shoudl roll over it and where to aim for. I instructed his with total confidence, "Keep you speed under control and at the bottom of the ladder make sure to stay right, the tree on the left will take you out". So down the ladder I went, keeping right......well I went way too far right and smacked into a tree I had never even seen before. In fact I broke one of my helmet lights with my tree hugging head slapping adventure.
Once straightened out we went over to Shotgun....after clearing more trees. Shotgun was fun and fortunately nearly no trees down on it. There was one on the upper part of the trail that we were not able to clear, but other than that, the trail ripped and we all had a hoot.
At the parking area I checked my watch and it was 10:30, this was a 4 hour night ride that usually only take 2 hours. Downed trees, mechanicals and the odd spill had doubled the duration of our ride. In the end it was a great ride and we got a lot of trees cleared off the trails. Plus Dave realized that he now HAS TO HAVE A HID light.