Go ride Big Limestone now! That is, if you haven’t already. And even if you have, it wouldn’t hurt you to go ride it again. Where…is Big Limestone? you might ask. Cave Run/Morehead area. Along the Sheltowee Trace between Amburgy Rocks and Limestone Knob. It’s kind of a loop utilizing the gravel road, some short Sheltowee sections and the new Big Limestone Trail then returning to the start on the gravel road. I should have started us out on the road to warm up and then return on the singletrack. I’ll know next time.
Anyway, “we” was Mandy and I. After the KYMBA Women’s Mountain Bike Clinic she’s wanted to get out on the trails and show off her mad skillz. We headed toward Cave Run.
The air was crisp with the promise of fall. It was overcast so maybe the quality of light wasn't of a sort as to stir the soul, but moving deliberately through the woods at a single speed pace felt sublime. Each bend in the trail elicited proprioceptive response and pulled me deeper into the moment and away from the superficial concerns of the damned rat race.
Out on Big Limestone there was no career pressure, no care for bills or commutes, no thought of cross country practice or planning commission meetings, and none of the friction of my every weekdays. There were maples, birds and squirrels, and the earthy scent of the eastern deciduous forest. Stark white rocks poked up alongside and in the middle of the trail like the bones of fallen beast. They provided techs riding and early on in our ride tested Mandy's mad skillz though she came through unscathed and a bit more confident for her efforts.
Our ride was a slower pace than my most recent jaunt out Big Limestone during the Kentucky Point Series race earlier this year. That race I rode past the redline far too long. I was out of cycling shape, riding the actual Redline singlespeed, and pushing myself beyond prudence. I held a respectable distance behind the other singlespeeders and was happy with my showing, but I didn't enjoy the journey for most of the ride.
I was able this time to finesse the Slutty Single Speed through rocks and over the new and rough trails out the fingers. I kept my RPMs low and enjoyed the weather, the company, and the fine trails the mountain biking folk in Morehead have crafted. Mandy rode like a pro. I could tell a huge difference in this post-clinic ride and the few off-road rides we've tried in the past with limited degrees of enjoyment. I can't fault her as most of the rides were my failed attempts to expose her to the joys of mountain biking. Big Limestone was a different ride altogether.
We were somewhere out on the third or fourth ridge finger when it started sprinkling vigorously. There was the option to run out the ridge further, but we prudently opted to head back toward the Jeep after a quick look at the doppler. More rain was moving in.
The trail snaked on west a little further before intersecting the Sheltowee. We turned east and made good time back to the car, warm and dry clothes, and the promise of Pop's BBQ.
It was a great ride and a great time. I enjoy spending time with my wife. She and I may be odd in that after sixteen years we still enjoy each other's company to the exclusion of other people. I can't deny it makes me happy that she's interested in mountain biking enough now to actually be shopping for her first bike.
That night was the first Meadowgreen show of the season. It was a free festival type show with multiple bands. Bean wanted to go pretty bad and she and I drove out Saturday night for about an hour so she could show off her mad clogging skillz. She's been taking lessons and isn't half bad these days.