Saturday, December 20, 2008

Moments of clarity in a month of grey

There have only been a few rides worth noting in these grey days and nights of winter. Daily rain showers leave fleeting glimpes of color.
Last weekend Brian, Shawn and myself headed towards the Ocoee to ride some of Cherokee National Forest's finest trails. We headed south down 411 and took highway 30 around Chilhowie mountain and through Reliance; into the forest, the back way. On the drive, we decided to mix it up and ride Chilhowie Mountain's trails. So we pulled into the lot where we were greated by bear hunters. Upon realization that there were more hunters in the woods, we decided to pack up and head to Tanasi, just up the river.
Bear hunting season apparently ended this week, and Tennessee hunters killed 436 bears this year. Wow. Thats a big number, actually, a record number. What a brutal hoby.

I find it hard to seek inspiration on consecutively dreary days. I can suck it up on a Saturday to head into the woods and ride a bike in the rain. But when I get off work and its dark and raining, I can be easily talked into heading to Union Jack's or lounging around the house.
In these colorless days, I feel fortunate for the brief moments of color that biking inspires. Beauty is in the eyes of the bike rider (or the baby holder.)
Me and a few friends made it out to Norris today for a great romp around the woods on singlespeeds. Some great descending and fun -> deep-woods cruising; emerging only to drop into the town of Norris for a stop at Archer's Market. Loaded up on bananas and beer before the long climb to the overlook. We sat under the gazebo while it started to rain again.
It was all downhill from there, so we enjoyed a few moments with a view. After taking it all in, we started into the downhill fast as hell; considering the slickness of the leaves and roots. Riding fast and on the rear wheel of Alex, a recent transplant to the Knox area, he kicked up a branch; which landed off camber across the trail and washed my front wheel off line. I was headed full bore at a tree, which I tagged head on and came out just fine; laughing. It could have been much worse.

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