There are a ton of mountain biking trails up and down the back edge of the South Hill in an area thatis generally referred to as “The Bluff.” Up until this weekend I had never actually ridden on any part of it. Saturday I decided to try to rectify that a bit by doing some quick exploration riding of the upper most trails between Bernard and 29th.
I had been riding my Norco single speed mtb all week since completing it last Monday so some real single track mountain biking seemed like a good way to really take it up to the next level. In retrospect my Trek hybrid could have handled the trails I rode just as well, but based on my experiences I'm loathe to subject it to the wear and tear (terror?) of my mtb learning process. I started off the single track portion of my ride by heading down a trail to the right of the guard rail at Bernard. Just barely onto the trail I discovered a quick fork in the road. One trail headed further down the hill while the other stayed roughly parallel to High Drive above. For some reason I was completely indecisive and flip flopped back and forth until I was literally right on top of the trail fork and then my bike slid and dumped me onto my side. <img src="http://myskitch.com/axodys/legscrape-20071030-234413.jpg" height="360" width="480" /> As you can see I picked up a nice set of superficial scrapes during my blunder. It turns out that the fall wasn't my only problem as I later managed to pull the drive side of my rear wheel forward in the drop out. That wheel alignment issue didn't manifest itself until just after I pedaled back up off the trails and onto High Drive. Everything seemed fine until I heard a weird rubbing sound and a block later the axle bolt slid further and my rear wheel came to a grinding stop against the chainstay. I was completely stuck without a wrench to fix the axle so I did the obvious thing and started walking my bike home. The walk home went pretty well, despite being slow going and requiring me to carry the tank-like Norco on my shoulder. I had one passing cyclist ask if he could do anything to help, but the real hero for the afternoon ended up bing a twenty something guy with dreadlocks, a <a href="http://surlybikes.com" target="_blank">Surly</a> bumper sticker and a van with enough room to haul my bike easily. He loaded me up and whisked me up to my house (saving me a good twenty minute walk). In the end I was able to get the Norco's rear wheel properly seated without much trouble once I got home, but the incident was a good reminder that I need to pack a wrench when I ride it again. Hopefully this weekend I'll get another chance to take the Norco out and explore the trails that run much farther down the hillside because I really enjoyed the upper ones.