Not a grooming report May 18, 2018

May 18, 2018;  

Please send in pictures:  Today’s picture shows that it is not too late for you to enter the “last ski of the season” contest.

This is not a Grooming Report:  I understand one of the hotly debated topics among both grooming report readers is; where do grooming report writers “summer”?  Well, first of all, I am not one of those people that use winter or summer as a verb (although I was thinking of autumn-ing in the south of France this year).  More importantly, as my father always said, “why go anywhere; we’re already here”.  I should add, there is a part of me that sees winter sports not unlike using lemons to make lemonade.  I don’t actually like cold and am convinced Dante got it backwards so I’m going to be cold for a very long time.   I love summer right here and am not going anywhere.


Now for some more bad news. The “Not a Grooming Report” has been picked up by the single track mountain bike arm of NTN for a trial period.  I know even Stephen Sondheim had some Broadway shows that closed in a week so this summer run may close after one night. And so, depending on the cacophony of boos, I will offer up to a full summer of commentary on what one does to enjoy life in one of the most spectacular places on earth.


Yesterday was one of those spectacular spring days one dreams of (if you in fact dream of 50 f spring days). This time of year one can climb out of the salt mine after a full day and still get in a three hour bike ride before sun set.  Even at 6 PM the sun was still blinding and there were no biting insects.  Now, I am not one to anthropomorphize inanimate objects but I couldn’t help but think my mountain bike was reacting like one of those wonderful characters in Toy Story when I walked by the Tarmac with my mountain bike shoes.  My mountain bike has been on time out for several years following man’s discover of 29” wheels.  I don’t know anyone with 26” wheels, or, as I call it, my clown bike, so I skip the Monday night ride now days.  Don’t get me wrong, I still dust it off now and then but the Epic did look lonely in the corner before I pumped up the tires and shock.  And, just as skiing with bad wax, clown bikes are fine when you are not trying to hang with the big dogs.


So, I put on my finger gloves, long underwear and winter hat and pedaled to the South Trails. On my way past South Beach I enjoyed a chat with several surfers just after they enjoyed some glassy waist high 32 degree surf; so many options, so little time. After leaving South Beach behind I turned under the Carp River Bridge and up the Mount Marquette loop from the east.  I expect a good number of you prefer that section in the other direction but one of my new goals is to cut down on bicycle related surgeries.  So, although I had to put my foot down a few times, I didn’t fall even once.  As I recall, the last time I broke my ribs it was on the Goat Trail section (now reengineered) in the other direction.


Without going into too much blow by blow detail, the trails were spectacular.  Having been out of regular mountain biking, I see the trails much as one sees life after cataracts are removed. One sees things they have seen before but the details are stunning.  I first came to mountain biking before front shocks much less full suspension or “brain shocks” and 29” wheel sets.  So, side hill bench cut trails and bridges were non-existent.  Spring rides required neoprene booties because one would always have to go through deep ice cold water somewhere on the trail.  Now, all the way to the head waters of the Carp and on the myriad other trails all were well drained and in excellent shape.


In the weeks to come (if the show is not cancelled early due to public demand) I will highlight various sections and events along the trails.  I will see them with the eyes of a new comer.  Even when I rode with the group, I was too busy trying to keep the wheel in front of me close to ever learn all the trail names and now there are twice as many.  I can’t even begin to explain where I was last night but every inch was breath taking and three hours didn’t cover the half of it.  Everyone should see these trails even if you don’t like to ride.  It is my hope that by gassing on about such things readers will get out and enjoy our trails or if you live in another hemisphere, you can live vicariously through these words.


See you out there.