Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Quarry Ride

Went up to see mom in the 'burg this weekend and brought my roadie and mountain bike. There are tons of roads with rolling hills up in her area. But there's one problem - there's too many cars. Found a group ride that heads into Quantico Marine Base on Saturday morning and decided to hook up with them. I grew up close to there and know the area pretty good but somehow I went S when I need to go N when I got off the highway. Ended up missing the rollout and never saw them. Drove back down to the city of F-burg and rode around. Hit the farmer's market and some doggie festival at the park. I don't think my heart rate got over 80 on the ride. I did keep an eye out of Jess as I rode around UMW.

Stopped by Bike Works in downtown to pass out some race flyers and talked to a guy named Tom. He pointed out some road routes to ride and then I asked him about the 'quarry' trail. He said the trail is by the VOC and has miles of great technical single track. I made up my mind that I'll hit that trail on Sunday morning.

Got to the trailhead Sunday about 9am and there were a few cars there. Not exactly knowing where I was going, I just road down the trail looking for well worn paths. I came to the end of the gravel road and there was the 'quarry'. An awesome sight of a several acre lake surrounded by a high ridge of rock and trees. There were about a dozen divers in the water for some class. As I'm stopped to figure out where to go, a little kid about 5 years old started to point. He said, "they went that way" and pointed to the trail. I rode into the trail and was immediately on a trail that required to be in a granny. Since I was in my middle ring I was hopeless and bailed. There was a connecting trail that looked less technical so I rode on that for about 1 mile or so. I came across a log pile then a quick turn and lost it. I almost ended up in the Rappahanock. I got up but my chain was jammed between my granny and bottom bracket. After about 10 minutes of trying to fix it (read "force it free"), I gave up and decided that this was not my weekend for biking (and the real reason was for mom to spend time with my daughter). I did the "walk of shame" back and was about 100 yards from my car when another mountain biker stopped. It happened to be Tom from Bike Works. He took a quick look at my chain, gave it a couple of spins on the crank and worked my chain loose. Cool. He said he was going to do a quick loop and welcomed me to join.
We went back past the quarry on the lower trail (less technical) but about 100 yards into the trail he took a quick left up a long climb. Of course, I had no idea this was coming and was in my middle ring again and had to circle around, drop into my granny and get momentum up the climb. I made it about 1/2 way up until I bailed and walked it. At the top we ran into a group of 4 riders and rode the rest of the trail with them.

This trail, whatever it's called - The Quarry, Rappahanock Ridge, VOC - is a gem of a trail right within city limits (and 5 mins from mom's). It's got technical switchbacks, steep decents, logs, rocks, jumps and even a 200 yard "tunnel" that takes you underneath Interstate 95. I didn't make it to the tunnel but they said all you see is a little speck of light at the end of the tunnel. They said it's pretty intimidating the first time you ride it. There's alot more trails as I only hit about 1/4 of the trails back in that area.

If I get my bike in working order - replace my bent large chainring and installing disk brakes by this weekend - I may head up there again to do a dualthon. The race is a 1m/6m/1m course on the same trails.
And whenever I head to mom's in the 'burg, I'll only bring my mountain bike and leave my skinny wheels at home.

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