Monday, January 9, 2012

Local Ride: Luther Forest Trails, Malta, NY

These trails actually begin in the state's Saratoga Technology and Energy Park, but they extend onto the Luther Forest property. I just always called it Luther Forest. Another great day to ride today. Temps were perfect, not too cold and not too warm. There were some areas that were soft and wet but for the most part it was hard and fast. The only thing that kept my speed in check were the leaves in the corners...well that and my fitness level.

I haven't ridden here since summertime last year. There have been a few changes, some new sections of trail and some new technical features. Since I don't ride here often I wasn't quite sure what the preferred route should be. Luckily I had a map, made by one of the trails frequent riders, to help me keep my bearings.

Except for one or two ridiculous but not impossible climbs, this place is perfect for a singlespeed bike. Lots of flow and not terribly technical so you can keep up your momentum. I am glad I brought the singlespeed. One, because of the fitness benefit to me and two, I wanted to see how the tires would fare on these trails. These trails are similar to the ones in Schenectady Central Park but there is more elevation gain and less rocks and roots. Overall I think they performed well, although they take some skill to get the most of them. Traction, braking and grip were all very good but rolling resistance and weight of the 2 ply casing were a negative. One area where they excelled was on fast descents, which of course I am not surprised because it was what they were designed for. I felt much more confident bombing hills with the Maxxis Wetscreams than with the Kenda Nevegals. Not sure why, maybe the heavier tires make the bike more sure-footed or maybe the 2 ply casing sucks up the bumps better. Whatever the reason, I love going downhill fast and these tires allowed me to do so.

I've also been playing with the air pressure in the fork. Not sure if I should lower the pressure but I didn't want to blow it out because of the cold weather. I'll have to look into this a bit more because setting the fork air pressure to 130 PSI for both positive and negative chambers was giving me too much sag. I had it at 150 PSI initially so maybe I'll try 140 PSI and see how that goes. Oh and I am still loving the pedals.

I have been sick with a cold since December 30th so my new year hasn't been great so far. Still, I cannot complain with all the good weather we've been having. Even though I probably should not have been riding, I went anyway because who knows how many more days we are going to get like today? Now, I am not going to gloat and continually beat a drum about how great the weather is because I know there are a lot of people waiting to ski and snowboard. But I am going to enjoy a nice day and take the opportunity to ride if it presents itself, which it did. Really for me there is almost nothing as relaxing and enjoyable as a mid afternoon ride on a warm winter's day with the sun peaking through the trees.