Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Red Oaks Ride in Schodack

I got the chance to get out and ride on Labor Day. Since it was kind of last minute I didn't get the opportunity to hook up with anyone else so I rode alone. I don't really know the trails in Schodack, now called Red Oaks by the regulars. But I got a map from my friend Chris Roe, and I have ridden there with him a few times so I figured what the hell.

I got there about 2p and was surprised to not see very few cars there and only one with a bike rack. Not even sure if any of them belonged to people riding. Anyway I started off from the park and ride and tried to follow the normal Tuesday night route. I did my best to follow the map, which was excellent by the way, but I did end up making a few wrong turns. No worries though, I was able to back track and the map kept me going in the right direction.

The snake was unharmed
The trails were dry and fast but newly fallen leaves were everywhere. I guess it's that time of year...already (sigh). I managed to bunny hop a small snake last minute and avoided crushing him. As thanks he allowed me to take his picture and then I moved him off the trail.

Last time I rode here I brought my singlespeed. Gearing was good for the climbing but the rigid fork really hampered my ability to actually cruise at a good clip without loosing control. Plus with my injured elbow, it hurt like hell. I decided to use the Switch this time and man what a difference. I can really carve stuff on this bike and with 6 inches of travel I had plenty of cushion for the pushin'. It does come with a weight penalty so climbing was a chore but not impossible.

My trusy steed.
The strangest trail out there has to be House of Grouse. Not because of any super technical climbing or twisting switchbacks...but because of the male Grouse that is protecting his nest. That thing is FEARLESS! Everytime I go through there he chases after me on my bike. This time I was ready for hime, but where was he? Typically he is at the trail head or close to it. Maybe I was going to get away with not seeing him today I thought. Even though I knew he was there and was looking for him, out of nowhere he swooped down from the trees and attacked my helmet. I saw him out of the corner of my eye and for a moment there I thought he was a hawk. I had seen two flying through the woods just 20 minutes earlier. I let out a yell something like "oh shi..." and went down. He didn't knock me down, I just lost my balance trying to avoid him. Man was I pissed but I guess I can't blame him. I flung a few obscenities his way and I was off again. He followed me for a few minutes and then I lost him...more likely he gave up. Man did I feel like a fool. One of the times I was glad to be alone. I must have looked ridiculous at that moment. Have to laugh about it now.

The diving board
There aren't that many man made features out there other than some bridges but the trails are well built and offer a variety of challenging singletrack. The climbing is probably the biggest distinction of this trail network. Riding here often will definitely up your fitness level. I hope to get back here and ride a few more times before hunting season starts and these trails become off-limits until Springtime. This is a great trail network and having it so close to where I live is always a bonus since my riding time isn't what it used to be. Being a responsible husband and parent can do that. Even if I don't get to ride there often, it's nice to have such a great place to ride so close to home. Thanks to Chris and everyone who put the effort into bringing those trails back to life. Keep up the good work!