I made a mid-week decision to go for a solo trip to Syllamo over the weekend. Before I left town, I had some stuff to do…
That’s an Ancestory.com DNA kit. The whole site makes me cringe a little with its subscription-ness, but the “spit in a cup and we’ll tell you about your ancestors” part is wholly fascinating to me. So, I’m anxiously waiting on that to process.
Thursday, I explored some horse trails. Along the way, I saw (literally) a ton of deer as well as a turkey and an owl. I also found large quantities of mud in a couple of spots.
Given the large quantity of mud I had to clean off/out of my bike on top of an already busy Friday, I didn’t get out of town until around 4pm. Apparently, there’s a never-ending Friday night congestion of U.S. Highway 64 between all the small towns across Arkansas. Who knew? There’s a more northern route that’s a few minutes shorter, but I’ve always felt a bit of an adventure connection to 64 since it’s been a part of many of my travels to races and whatnot in both directions across the country.
Anyway, Turbo and I made it in enough time to make dinner and start a new puzzle.
(OK, so the second photo is from the morning, as evidenced by my coffee, but that’s all I’d finished the night before)
This winter, I’m embracing the “just get out and ride” method of free-forming my base miles. I’m also embracing some interesting ride food, like rum-soaked fruitcake:
I came up with a route that I dubbed the “Baby Epic,” because in the future, I’ll add more singletrack to the eastern side of it. If you take a look at the map: http://www.strava.com/activities/229517383, you’ll see that, following Branscum Rd. (which is actually a pretty rough/steep horse trail), I used a combination of Green Mountain Road, the last 4 miles of the Red Trail, and the last short/tech section of the Orange trail to return to where I started. Next time, the plan is to add the Blue trail from the 2nd trailhead to the Orange, and, as a final “Big Epic,” add the long/hard section of the Yellow on top of that. That’s bound to be an all-day ride for sure.
Along the way, I did some futzing with my suspension as well as making a stop to take photos from the little side trail to a waterfall at the bottom of Branscum “Road.”
That last one is from underneath the waterfall overhang. You can see the water coming down from the upper right side of the photo. It is gorgeous out there, and the trails are generally in great shape. After my journey, I arrived back to the parking lot and saw another Shelby County vehicle parked next to mine. The occupants (including Fullface Kenny) had left some dust art for me.
I unscrewed their gas cap.
Ginger Ale and recovery candy.
Back at the cabin, I snacked, cleaned up, and worked on my puzzle some more. After a trip to WalMart for provisions, I came back and made a kickass dinner and watched the ever-present A&E Criminal Minds procedural crime drama marathon.
Sunday was a day for survival and not photos. I rode from the 2nd Green Mountain Road trailhead without much of a plan other than “explore side roads.” Turns out, most side roads just lead you to logged-off meadows. My legs were thrashed from the day before, so it was a 2.5 hour exercise in keeping the pedals moving and trying to enjoy the scenery and little bit of excitement that comes with exploration… all the while, trying to ignore the fact that my legs were still back at the cabin drinking coffee and working on a puzzle.
Driving home from the cabin depresses me. Aside from the lack of multiple cute animals, it’s like my safe, cozy fortress of solitude where I can go and ride some of the most difficult terrain available then relax in the peace and quiet of the Ozarks. It’s one of those things where the whole way back, I’m already planning the next trip in my head.