With another open day ahead of us, we decided that Day Two of breaking in the new single speed Niners would also involve Riverside State Park. On Day One we had ridden the inner loop and we rode the outer loop from the start to the top of 5-Minute Hill (funny story about that hill - I have heard it called 3-Minute Hill, 5-Minute Hill and 7-Minute Hill, just depending on how long it takes said speaker to ride that long-steep beast). We skipped Devil's Up and Devil's Down and the upper plateau.
Since we had a bit less time and our legs were well aware of the hours spent the day before on the bikes, we decided to hit the Aubrey L. White Parkway end of the park and ride that end of the park. We did cover some of the plateau and lower part of the course and I thought it was worth looking at the condition of Little Vietnam, the only major section of the 24 Hour course that skipped. Years ago I had taken the kids down there, before their skills were up to it, so they had some less than happy memories of it and some trepidation. Nonetheless, we headed along the river to see what we could see.
Not surprisingly for this time of year, what we could see was some water and parts of the trail covered by inconveniently placed river. Or maybe I should say that "I" considered it inconvenient, as I am used to riding along the trail there. My boys, however, thought it was perfect and delighted in either riding through the water or joyfully discussing how much fun it would have been to ride through the deep water portions if only their dumb-old dad had let them. But since it was my car they had to climb into, I was less interested in the swimming and mud-hole opportunities. It is worth noting, however, that we were able to walk around the two portions that were very under water or wide and wet and ride through, albeit on the side of the trail to skip the bog in the middle, the rest of Little Vietnam. Clearly the season is about upon us when the snow is all gone and the water is drying up everywhere.
From there we took a meandering trip back to the start/finish area, up the Le Mans start hill, along the base of the plateau then up onto it. We decided to go to the bottom of Devil's Down so the kids could see it, but at that point I realized that I was quickly developing a flat. We turned and headed for the car immediately, but I only made it a few hundred yards before my developing flat turned into a full-on flat. It was at this point I re-visited my irrational enthusiasm over-riding my grown-up sensibility and failing to bring along seat bags and appropriate tools for fixing flats. So, purely my own fault for riding a tire that has never given me anything but trouble with repeated flats and not having tools on hand, I walked and carried my bike along the plateau and back to the car. The boys happily rode ahead and behind and we peaceably made it back to the car.
So, we will need to go back to detail more of this later, but the bottom line is that the bikes were really just what we wanted and we are all very happy with the results. Thanks to Steve for getting us on this journey.