New (Old) Bike!

5:48 AM

I actually picked her up on Friday, but Saturday wasn't a day for mountain biking. So she sat there all day leaning against the living room door and waited patiently. The rain continued, and the trails stayed closed. And she waited patiently.

By Sunday morning the world looked that beautiful color of green that you get with a good soaking, and the MORC trail conditions page listed all trails closed. We could have left it at that and put off an inaugural ride until the sun peeked out and the trails dried completely (maybe Tuesday...?), but all riders in the Twin Cities have an ace in the hole when it comes to riding in wet weather. There is one trail that will always be open for an $11 fee - Afton Alps.

It is a downhill ski area that doesn't have much scheduled during the warmer months. It isn't heavily ridden, so you can always go out, hand over your donation, and get on the trails. Sunday was dry, so we headed for the hills with my pretty new (old) bike...

Why isn't Afton heavily ridden? Part of it is the fee, for sure. There is only one other trail (Hillside) in the metro area that charges for access, and that one is only $4. The other reason, and I suspect the main reason, is that Afton is a damn difficult course to ride. Not because of any technical sections, but because the trail is either sending you straight up a hill, or straight down a hill. There is nothing quite so painful as huffing and puffing up Shady Lane, the larges climb in the loop. You think you are in shape? Afton will tell you otherwise...

We had a great day riding, and it was awesome to be back on my transformed bike. But I couldn't shake one thought as I kept gasping for air - Afton is the first race of the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series...I hope everyone else is just as unprepared for the hills as I am!

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