After Saturday's horrible weather, I was chomping at the bit to get a ride together for Sunday. Phone call after phone call, I was feeling the chance of a good group ride slip away, as each crewer came up with another reason to bow out. Bikechain's got kids, so he's on the birthday circuit. Marcus had inlaws in town. Micro's down in Melbourne, sitting on the beach. You get the picture. I'm starting to realize that it's going to be another, "Bigworm and Wrecking Ball Show". I'm starting to think we should be syndicated.
And then Wrecking Ball calls to say we've been invited to join the Bigringcircus boys down at Munson to ride the "new" Twilight Trail. I call up Juancho to confirm the time and the invite, and proceed to be stoked again! A quick call was in order to con the Spanish Mackerel back into riding. Sometimes you have to sell it a little to get the Mackerel up and running. "I know it's going to be cold, but we're not meeting until 11:30. That means you can sleep in! We're meeting the BRC crew, and Juancho says they want to ride chill, so you don't have to play racer boy all day. And you'll get to see trail you've never seen before! Did I tell you Munson has been unbelievable lately! And with this all day rain, it can only get better! You're in?! Good. I'll call you in the morning to be sure you didn't oversleep." One more call to berate Cupcake out of his big baker's cap, and into lycra, and we were good to go.
There was still frozen water in the bed of my truck, at 11am, when I loaded up my bike. That's cold for us Florida folk. We had stalled until 11:30 in hopes of seeing the mercury go above 40 degrees. I'm not so sure that it did... all day! The wind was howling through the Munson parking lot with a vengeance. Wrecking Ball and Darien didn't want to get out of W.B.'s car when I arrived. I'm pretty sure W.B. was trying to determine if he could get his little hobbit car through the singletrack, thus avoiding a likely case of frost bite! Not really cold enough for frostbite, but damn man! We are from Florida!
Once everyone arrives and dons every piece of clothing in eyesight(I think I saw Juancho wrestling a homeless guy for his newspapers!), we roll out. Bushy leads us out, and promptly stretches the group thin. I was late leaving the parking lot and had to play catch up. By the time I get to the regroup, I'm already catching grief from Derwood. "Oh it's a chill ride, you said!" "If it's so chill, how come I was in my bigring?". Now fair readers, help me out here. How the hell is it my fault when I'm at the back, playing chase!? To try and keep a handle on things, I slid to the front and lead out the next section. Best I can tell everyone stayed together until the last hill before the Munson shortcut. Despite what my pal Juancho may try and lead you to believe.
Everything's cool until Derwood gets a phone call. A cell phone call in the middle of our ride! I can't believe he had a signal. To make it worse, it's Pauly who's back at the parking lot, but wants to know where he can rendezvous with our bunch. Are you kidding me?! We're going to ride trail that we have not been on, that crosses a known trail...somewhere! "You know, just turn by the tree, with the leaves, right next to the sandy corner...." You get my drift? I think what we need to do is hide Derwood's phone, and get Pauly a better alarm clock! Derwood accepts punishment, and waits at the trail intersection for Pauly. Now they'll just have to catch up.
Things go more or less normal from there on out. We roll out and occasionally wait for stragglers. The pace varies quite a bit. You can sit up front and play chase with Bushy, Derwood, Cupcake, 'Squatch, and W.B., or you can back off and cruise with Juancho, or the Mackerel. Torso sat in the middle most of the day, looking out for the stragglers, while keeping aware of which way the front group went. Turns out Torso and Spanish Mackerel knew each other from the climbing gym days, so they had a good time catching up on who knew who, and who had moved where.
The trail itself wasn't too bad. It's in better shape than I would have guessed, giving its birth at the hands of dirtbikes. But then again, we have been kicked off of that trail for a couple of years now. Some parts were clearcut about a year ago, but reroutes were in place, and will be packed down as the user passes go up. Tied in with the Munson Loop, you can easily put together an 18-19 mile singletrack loop. There is even a second trailhead on the far end, where those of us who can only fit one water bottle, can get more water. Good to know. For those of you looking for something a little longer, check out Ricky Silk's site. He's been hanging with Jim Smart and some of the Bike Church crew. He posted a 50+ mile loop that they did on Sunday. I know from moto experience that it's possible to link Munson, Twilight, and other singletracks, all the way out to the Springhill pit. From there, other trails will link back towards highway 20, out past Capital Circle. I'm not sure what's legal and what isn't, but I know the possibility is there. Personally, I think some of those trails are too whooped out, or too sandy for my tastes, but to each his own.
Overall, I had a blast! I was definitely tired. I had heard rumors that Mystery the Cupcake Stallion had gone soft, but he's not as soft as they let on. The new reduced calorie Sasquatch was definitely faster than I've ever seen him. And then there's Bushy. This guy will keep you on your toes. He'll show up for our weekly rides, and occasionally he's just off the pace. But then, at Felasco, he blows by in a sag stop and I try to catch back up, but no luck. Sunday, he went to the front for awhile, and again drops the hammer until I'm way more uncomfortable than I would like to be. Don't underestimate him. As soon as the ride gets longer, he just doesn't seem to be as tired as everyone else. The Spanish Mackerel rode better than I've seen in a long while, and was still all smiles in the parking lot. And though Juancho claims to have been mistreated by the "big kids", I still think he's just playing opossum.