I joined some friends for a spring mountain bike trip this weekend in Knoxville Tennessee. We largely rode the Urban Wilderness trails. It was a fun trip to see some good friends I’ve not seen in a bit. I slept in my Element part of the way from Texas to Tennessee on the drive up to our Air BNB house rental. My element and Ibis are as dependable as ever.
This weekend I joined my teammates in southern Illinois for four days of road riding. It’s my fourth year going to annual trip, and it seems to get better every year. The weather was beautiful all weekend with temps ranging from mid 50º’s in the morning and mid 70º’s in the afternoon. The rain stayed away every ride and the winds were manageable.
The roads around Makanda Illinois are great for road riding. Lot’s of elevation to go up and down, what feels like turns and hills every quarter-mile or less make it a roller coaster all weekend.
The breakfast every morning at the lodge is one of my favorites. Hearing about moves from the previous days rides, tales exaggerated, or stories of shenanigans from the previous night are the perfect complement to the good food.
Our lodge was great this year and served as the hangout most evenings including the second annual wine tasting party, a favorite of the weekend. The breathalyzer that shows up every year adds some excitement to the evening.
Friday’s ride had a little extra gasoline added to the fire with the help of eight of us representing our Illinois State Champion jersey’s, something that seems to draw out more fun fierce riding.
My weekends riding totals tallied to 211.9 miles ridden, 14,101 feet of elevation climbed, in just under 12 hours pedaling. I love cycling trips, I love this team, I love this yearly thing I get to be involved with. It’s the type of weekend for me that I know I’m living in one of those moments that you’ll look back on and tell stories and smile about.
One of the best parts of spring in terms of cycling is the excitement to get outside and ride. Some of my friends and I put a spring mountain bike trip together to Alabama over the winter to get in some warm dry trail time. This past weekend we enjoyed the fruits of our planning. We spent three days riding Oak Mountain and Coldwater Mountain trail systems with great weather, it was a lot of fun. I loved the mix of real deal flow and rock tech. Hanging out with friends both on the trail and off was a relaxing and great time. My Ibis has never felt better, I love the one by drivetrain.
Day one was a shorter 10 mile ride racing the weather to get in a loop at Oak Mountain.
We stopped by Good People Brewery for a post ride drink after day one before dinner at an old train station that’s been transformed into a really neat restaurant.
The house we rented for the weekend was an older home with a great porch to hang out on and soak in some southern sunshine.
The second day was a full loop at Coldwater Mountain.
The Boulder Ridge trail at Oak Mountain was one of my favorites of the trip. Here’s a short video of me rolling through some tech shot by a good friend.
The trip was a great bonus to the spring so far. It feels like we all added a great trip into our year super early. We enjoyed some tech and flow not found at home, southern hospitality, and sunshine. My favorite trails of the trip were Boulder Ridge, a traversing large rock filled tech trail I could spend hours on finding new lines up and down larger rocks than my car and Thunder trail at Oak Mountain. Thunder trail was easily the most flowly trail I’ve ever ridden. It had deep cut berms on every turn, sixty foot rolling ravines and more six-foot rollers you could pump or jump than you can count. The combination of those two trails alone was worth the trip. I’ll be happy to add the spring MTB trip into a yearly event, it was a reenergizing and relaxing time spent with good people on good trails.Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!
I went in search of some different riding today. My time on a trainer, rollers, and riding pathways left me hungry for a gravel adventure. The gravel roads around Mackinaw, IL were the setting for a good day outside. Mid-ride I took a wrong turn from what I had loaded into my Garmin. Luckily, even riding off course was enough to have a good time.
Spring brings a lot great things. Warm weather, color to a bland pallet of nature, group rides grow in size, and for some good friends and I, our spring trip to Shawnee National Forest area of Illinois to enjoy four days on road bikes. This is my third year joining the trip and I seem to enjoy every year more-so than the previous.
I enjoy the scenery and the memorable times with friends and teammates more than ever. Either one would be worth the trip alone. The riding is good, the people are good, the smiles are real. The relaxing among common minded folk is great. This trip perfectly encapsulates what I love about cycling.
The colors of spring are great…
The lodging at Giant City Lodge are great. It makes the team building and social aspects of the weekend better. I’ve stayed in the smaller two bed cabins every year. I smile when I walk into that little yellow tinted slice of a time before, antenna television set included.
The riding was good this year. The weather was in the 50º’s and 60ºs F. The sun shined some days, the raindrops were few and far between. I ended the four-day trip with 202.3 miles ridden and 14,239 feet climbed according to the little black Garmin box…
The weekend’s non riding was on par with the great rides. Wine tasting party, Sculpin Grapefruit IPA’s discovered, a breathalyzer provided more than a few smiles, and a number of amazing quotes and memories.
2016’s return trip is already a thing to look forward to. Until then, time to enjoy some sunshine and rides with good friends.