I visited the Gateway Trail again this morning. At 7am there was ground fog, air temp was about 52F, very clear and crisp. I parked at the lot off Delwood, jumped on the unicycle and headed down the horse trail to the lot by I694...about 5 miles away.
In contrast to how I felt during my last long trail ride, right away I felt comfortable on the machine. Maybe it was because Karen and I spent some time last night doing agility work at the hockey rink, or maybe it was just a good night's sleep or the beautiful morning. I can tell, though, by how steady the free pedal is when I'm trying to mount. If I can hit it squarely as if I'm just walking up stairs, then it is going to be a good day.
I'm enjoying the 150mm cranks particularly over the dirt and grass trails. The greater range of motion for my knees feels better at the end of the ride I think than the 125mm cranks. And I think it gives me better leverage and control up (and down?) hills than the shorter crank even with the bigger wheel. On the pavement though I think I'd like to switch to the 125s. Too bad it can't just be done on the fly.
The section of horse trail from 75th to the I694 bridge has long stretches of single track with sand or loose gravel and a fairly deep channel. For some of the trail I stayed up on the grass and out of the track because I didn't want the wheel to get channel-locked down in the track and suffer getting bucked off if the wheel strayed up the channel walls. But tough, I figured that if I was fearing something I should just dive in, so down into the single track I rode. Actually it was easier than I thought. I tried not to focus too hard on the trail and ride more by feel, although frankly it did take more concentration than a wide trail. Having a quiet upper body helped keep the wheel from zig-zagging too much. I really didn't have any difficulty with the sides of the single track, and it turned out to be fun, although a bit more mentally and physically exhausting.
Not too many hills on this section of the trail. Maybe five or six sharp ups and downs. I had trouble with one on the way down but got it on the third try. Sand always messes with my head particularly on corners and bases of hills. Maybe its because I expect a sandy trail to be resistant and slide-y so I am too timid. I found a moderate approach to be the best...bombing up the hills was ok until you started to hit the tougher bits. Too slow and you loose momentum. I try to tell myself to just keep the pedal pressure evenly (remember to use the left pedal too!) and the cadence reasonable right up and over the hill.
Today's target cadence was "Sweet Georgia Brown"
Maybe there will be time to knock the soccer ball around this afternoon and loosen up the knees.
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