Monday night around 5:30 I got a text from a 989 number I didn’t recognize.
“What’s up Wednesday for you?”
“Who the hell is this wanting to know what I’m up to on Wednesday?” I say to Wifey standing nearby.
Eventually I reply a simple “?”
To which he/she replies back “Go for a ride?”
My first reaction was to think that this was some form of cell phone solicitation from one of the “local girls looking for hookups” that always seem to pop up on my computer when I’m… um.. a “job searching.” Sadly, I of course knew it was from one of my local cycling friends wanting to go for a ride.
“Who is this?” I text.
Ohhhhhhh….. THAT makes sense now. OK, now I can (sort of) text freely and openly without fear that it is some stalker looking to do whatever it is cellphone, internet stalkers do.
With all that “who is this?” weirdness out-of-the-way, we made some plans to meet up at his shop early Wednesday morning and head down to Rockford to ride (to my disappointment the town is NOT named after the show The Rockford Files). I was pretty up for this, since I haven’t ridden too many different places this summer, not to mention we were going to hit the always fun (but rarely visited by me) Luton Park Trail and the Merrell Trail in which I’ve heard a ton about but have never rode.
We hit Merrell first for a couple of laps and I have to say it was indeed impressive. Anytime you can ride purpose-built mountain bike trails, it’s a treat. Better flow, better drainage, better bench cuts, etc., etc., While the trail itself isn’t super long, with a lap clocking in at around 6 miles, there is a ton of rocks, roots, bridges, berms, climbs and descents packed into that loop. With today being my first ride there, and not having ridden anything too technical in a while, I have to admit I was a riding a bit sketchy at times. Braking a tad too much, missing a turn once, clipping a pedal here and being blinded by the morning sun there. Still, our two laps were super fun and worth the drive for sure. Bravo to the builders and volunteers that built Merrell and continue to maintain it. Great stuff.
After Merrell we drove down the road a bit and hit up Luton Park. This was my third time at Luton, but sadly that is stretched over four years. Boo! While I had fun at Merrell, Luton is more my type of trail: rolling singletrack, some roots, a few rocks and a few punchy climbs thrown in. I wish it was just a LITTLE bit closer for me to get to, if it was I would be there WAY more (not that riding a trail once every 15 months is hard to top!).
Except for the berms and bridges at Merrell, both trails somewhat reminded me of stuff back home in WPA, they were like a combination of stuff at North Park, Boyce Park and possibly Brady’s Run.
I wouldn’t say I rode my best today, but it was great to break out of my routine and ride some different trails with a friend. Looking forward to doing it again.