Monday, November 10, 2014

Going Awheel

It’s that time of year when it seems like the sun is going down at 2:30pm.  My nephew is happy because when asked what his favorite season is he answered “Deer season!”  The urge to be in the woods has grown stronger than ever, but the realities of tromping around when too many of my poor-decision-making neighbors are running around with powerful firearms give me pause.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-gun or anti-hunting, but I am anti-stupid people having access to guns, cars, or daylight.
I've gotten to the point where I want to run, but the string seems to have gone out of my legs.  Of course I’m not sure I can screw up the motivation to do much trail running either.  There ain't no Chariots of Fire for trail runners.  Over the weekend I don’t have good access to non-hunting mountain biking areas.  I don’t dare go 'splorin' the new four county off-road park.  There will be more on that I the weeks and months to come, but suffice it to say less than twenty miles from my house there is now the potential for many miles of world class mountain biking and I’m in good with some of the key players.  And it has been the stomping grounds for local hunters for decades.



Thursday and Friday coming is the Kentucky Bicycle and Bikeways Commission (KBBC) annual conference at Greenbo Lake State Park.  There is a decent few miles of mountain biking trails there.  I’m hauling The One with me when I ride over on Thursday with Joe Bowen. 
My original plan had been to bikepack from home over to the Sheltowee Trace and then head north through Cave Run and Morehead where I would jump off the trail and backroad it through Carter Caves State Park to ride and then to Greenbo with an overnight stay somewhere along the way.  I was planning on a two day one hundred and twenty mile journey with some added recreational mileage.  Unfortunately I had to cancel the film shoot with Mike Dion and crew.
After commuting to and from the Kentucky River Water Trail Alliance conference in Beattyville on Friday (70 miles round trip) I realized it wasn't reasonable to expect I’d have the legs to pull it off.    I know I can make the ride, but I want to enjoy it.  I accept my limitations these days.  I’ll have to come up with some other scheme to complicate my life I the near future.  And then I remembered hunting season.  Much of the initial portion of that planned ride would be through national forest and heavy hunting terrain.  Not a good idea anyway.
I was reminded of all the Elmer Fudd's crowding local forests (to be fair there are many responsible hunters out there) when Mandy called and asked if I’d run up to Furnace Mountain and take a photo of our niece Alison with her first deer.  She’d just shot it out behind her house.  I grabbed my camera and flash and headed up as the sky turned Denver Bronco colors behind skeletal black trees.
The entire family ended up caught up in a crazy dead deer hauling affair to get the six pointer out of the ravine where it had tumbled after my thirteen year old niece shot it square in the heart.  At one point Tomahawk was hollering: “Where is that kid?” as he and I and Mandy and her mom and sister were dragging the behemoth up a forty or so percent grade muddy slope.  She was, in fact, staring at her phone far above near the house.  She eventually came down and helped field dress the beast.
By not going forward with my bikepacking adventure scheme (and thus avoiding being field dressed myself) I was suddenly opened up to other possibilities.  Jeaphay mentioned riding at Veteran’s at lunchtime on Wednesday and Dave L. is free to ride on Tuesday.  We both have the day off and will probably hit Skullbuster as no hunting is allowed there.  The weather is supposed to be fairly decent for this window of riding opportunity. 
You might remember I rode to the annual KBBC conference last year when it was at Jenny Wiley State Park.  Mandy attended as well, but she couldn't go up until later on Thursday so I cycled over and she met me in the afternoon.  We’re in the same boat this year which is why I’m riding over with Joe since I opted not to bike there.  Joe’s going to take his bike and ride around Greenup County over the two days of the conference.
I've been looking forward the conference all year.  Last year’s was pretty amazing.  There was a great turnout and many good presentations.  A lot has been going on in the state from a cycling perspective since last year.  The second year of the Kentucky Century Challenge has come to a close.  The Cherokee Schill drama is still playing out.  Cave Run Lake has once again become a mountain biking destination.  Adventure Tourism is on the verge of making the statewide trails plan public.  We have two new Trail Towns in the state and a few more getting closer all the time. 


Locally the four county off-road park is getting up a lot of steam and promises to be a huge draw.  There is a lot of land on which to build trails and to keep all of the intended user groups happy.  The obvious MTB trailhead will be sixteen miles from our house.  Only six from the Mozhicans. 
The local county judge wants to pave a couple of miles of a certain road which will open up the southeastern end of the county for many new road loops for cycling.  That’s exciting.  We've got a lot of good riding around, and being able to get over to Zachariah from South Fork will be incredible.  Those are great low traffic roads through some amazing country.
Much is afoot.


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