Capitol Forest exploration

A new, longer ride was in order this weekend, after having done the Thrilla ride and a Duthie loop the last 2 weekends. The snow-coverage map indicated that Capitol Forest should be mostly snow-free. Just in case, I double-checked per email with one of the locals (David), and got confirmation that I would be fine at lower elevations. A few hours perusing the mountain biking trails had me pretty excited and with a few options to try. I roughly followed the 50 mile endurance race, but skipped the south-eastern portion of Mima-Porter #8 trail because I did not want to explore new territory after dark. This made for a semi-epic 8 hour ride. Lots of rideable single track, with only one big tree down over the entire 40 miles. There was snow at higher elevation, so some re-routing was required. My new Lake MKZ 303 winter cycling shoes were awesome; keeping my feet well supported and warm in ~35 F. My front & rear fenders kept me clean for the most part and only rarely did some dirt end up on my glasses. Overall, no complaints about the equipment.

As I was loading up my bike in the dark, a couple vehicles were leaving the trailhead. One of them stopped and I chatted with the driver for a while. Turns out, he used to be a welder for Klein bicycles and had recently done a home-conversion of his favorite full suspension 26″er -> 29″er .

Overall, the riding was pretty nice, but a couple points:

– Don’t try to walk through clear-cut. It quickly dead-ends and becomes impassible… I won’t make that mistake again.
– People in this forest fire guns and semi-automatic weapons all day long – even mid-week. It’s like New Year’s eve, only more annoying and dangerous. I didn’t see anyone shooting, but heard it for more than half the ride. That some people fire guns for “relaxation” is totally incomprehensible to me.

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