Friday, April 17, 2009

Those Rare Good Days..

You ever have that really awesome day? It doesn't matter what you are into, but whatever it is you do do (haha do do), that is your day to do it. It's like a spotlight from heaven shines down and you are just on point.

Even I do have those days on the bike. They are few and far between now as I've gotten fatter, older and much slower but they are still there from time to time. A few years ago some friends and I went out for a ride at Ptap (Patapsco State Park) and it was one of those days. Ptap is probably some of the best mountain bike riding you are going to get in the Baltimore area. Some hard technical climbs mixed in with fast descents and things that are just fun to ride.

We usually drop in from a park and ride just outside of the park and make our way in on a trail that is just down right awesome fun. It's fast with drops, jumps, a few berms and just enough tech to make you pay attention. It gets you pumped up for the ride and usually you need that for what's coming up next (if you choose to go that way that is). It's called heart attack by most, after you come blasting out of the entrance trail you hit the road for a brief section then to you turn right and it shoots back into the trail. It's a steep harsh tech climb that usually breaks most people I see on it. Typically when I get to the top I'm huff'n and puff'n, where did all the air go to? But not on this day, I cleaned everything with ease and got to the top ready to go. It was just one of those days.. My buddy BJ was right there with me which is no surprise as he's a beast on most occasions. The other guys slowly made their way to the top and they looked as I normally do. Out of breathe and wondering why I choose to ride this stupid climb. But even on the days my chest burns it also serves another purpose. All the other climbs to go up that day will never be that hard and all you have to do is think, DAMN .. at least it's no heart attack.

Anyway .. we meander our way through the old camping area take the fire road and drop back in. This is a long fast downhill that feels like it just goes on forever. But it usually never fails, you are bombing this DH and there has to be someone climbing up it! I've climbed it once and I have no idea why anyone would ever want to. It's long and uneventful, just a long gradual uphill. Well unless you are going up to come right back down! That might be worth it. Not this day though, it was clear and we bombed it hard. It has a lot of twists and turns that give you the option to get some nice air off the banks ( just watch out you don't go too crazy and launch off into the stream to the left). You cross the stream and then run under the railroad bridge and are now back on the paved path. That takes you up to the swinging bridge that crosses the Patapsco River. I use to go there with my parents as a kid so I always get a kick going over it. On the other side you can enter the blue/white trail but I prefer to head up the road and enter on the Orange Trail (Ridge). It starts with a climb up to the ridge and just rolls along, up and down, up and down. It's not too tough but to the left it drops off and if you happen to shoot down that slope you are not going to be a happy camper.

There are some good climbs on your way to the horse farm section with more technical areas. Ptap is a great mix of all types of riding, it's a blast. I was riding strong all day .. climbing without issue, cleaning whatever I saw. Hit the horse farm and the triple drops then started to head back to the crossroads. On the way back we ran into a group of eight or so riders that were walking their bikes over something in the trail. From a distance it was hard to see what it was but it was huge. It appears a tree fell and someone had went all beaver style piling a ton of logs, branches and pretty much whatever they could find. It was at least four feet high and about eight feet wide of unstable mess. Me and BJ were in the lead and without even questioning it we hoped up on it and picked our way across it. At the top my right foot camp out of my pedal to which I road down the backside one footed. We came off the pile and stopped to wait for our friends who did walk across the pile, as we waited the other guys were saying " damn you see those guys go right over it?". It's not much I suppose but it does make you feel good haha.

We crossed back onto the end of the Orange trail and blasted down the waterbar section. You can get so much speed there that you can pretty much double the waterbars, you are flying. It takes you out onto the road by the pavilion area and you ride the road back if you choose but you can take a small tight little trail that follows the river. We cut in and start making our way along the trail knowing there's a nice built up dirt jump at the end. We pick up speed, come out of the trail and head for the jump. It's right by a parking lot and it's still pretty full of riders coming in or getting ready to head out. I'm in the lead and as I head up to it I decide I'm going to go for a tabletop. I go all BMX style rocking back and forth and picking up as much speed as I can. I launch off the top and start to flatten out the bike. As I do my right foot pop's out again and I do a big ol one footed tabletop. My foot came right back down and I road away clean like that had been my whole plan. A group of people in the parking lot let up a cheer and said "that was awesome man! nice". BJ who was right behind me saw me pull off my impressive air. He road up and said, " Nice man, you totally weren't trying to do that were you?" "Hell NO! When I get up the road I might even have to check my pants".

No comments: