Sunday, July 26, 2009


I woke up this morning to moderate pain from my RA. On a scale of one to ten I was a solid four, but I was determined to ride today. It was a beautiful morning, for the end of July it was an unseasonable 68 degrees with a nice breeze.

I unloaded and was quickly face to face with one of the days most painful things for me, pulling on my socks and boots. Funny thing how RA takes the simplest thing and makes it difficult, or in some cases, a dreaded task you have to perform. Now that the socks and boots are on, my day will get easier. I start the KTM and let it warm up, then head up the mountain. At the top I am greeted by a rafter of turkeys ... running right down the trail in front of me, not seeming to care if they got out of my way or not. I was amused at this and just idled along behind them for what must have been 100 feet down the trail before they decided to duck into the woods.

Now I'm back on the gas and after running through some rough washouts due to the hard rains last week, arrive at the dirt/asphalt road section of my ride this morning. I was feeling comfortable, once riding you forget about the pain for the most part, and lit the 525 up on a long stretch of straight dirt road. In no time I was pulling 83 mph before I backed off. Whew ... what a rush to feel the torque and sheer acceleration of a big bore four stroke, but now back to some normal riding. I jump out on the asphalt and run up to Walker Mountain Road which takes me to ... Walker Mountain. I am back on dirt road, turn onto an old fire road and arrive at some prime single track. Single track is what I used to race in the enduro's and hare scrambles and I still love to ride it, it's just that my RA doesn't like me to ride it. But since I am a stubborn individual, I always try to slip in a little bit of single track every ride, just to show my RA that it hasn't won yet. I jump a deer a couple of hundred yards into the trail and about 30 minutes later as I top a small hill, am looking at a bear. It was a small adult, unlike some of the larger ones we have ran across before. He was polite and motioned me by him ... not really, he ran like hell the opposite way I was going which worked out good for me. After a couple of minutes my heart rate is back down to about a thousand!

On the way back I hit another patch of asphalt and rode through what can best be described as a tunnel of shade trees. The road is next to a large creek and there are trees on both sides of the road for close to a half mile. They grow out over the road and touch each other in the middle forming a "tunnel" that, even in the middle of the day with bright sun, turns the road dim from the dense foliage. I stopped this morning and felt the cool breeze inside the tunnel before heading back up the hill to the truck.

Not a bad day. I rode 105 miles, saw some beautiful country, explored a new section of trail and got my heart rate up. I could have easily sat in the recliner this morning with my RA nagging at me, but I pushed it a little bit and had a great solo ride. One more day that I did not let RA beat me.


Cathy said...

That's the trick isn't it? Don't let RA beat you. The scenery looks great. I am hoping we can get out on our bicyles and do a little riding in the forest preserves today.

tharr said...

It works for me, I realize not everyone is able to get up and go like I can and I am thankful that I am able to. I love mountain biking, I have a full suspension disc braked bike in my garage, but I can't ride due to the RA right now. I'm hopeful that one day soon, I will be able to ride it without too much discomfort. Hope you had a good time on your ride.

Jim said...

Good looking single track. Is running across bears a common thing?

tharr said...

Bears are not a common occurrence. This is, I beleive, the sixth one I have run across riding in the woods. Completely unpredictable, it still gets the heart rate up every time you see one that close and not in a cage.