Wednesday, May 1, 2013

First Dirt

I once wrote about the “in-between season” before snow arrives where one changes outdoor equipment, bikes to shotguns, shotguns to skis.  In the “spring” it usually reverses and skis are traded back to bikes or turkey guns or bows.  With the advent of fat bikes, the two wheels were never tucked away, and ran right alongside the skinny skis more or less.  Maybe there is no in-between season now?  Of all the seasons, spring is my least favorite with the only saving grace being turkey hunting.  This year, not only did spring never really arrive, but the birds seem few and far between as well.  Usually it’s slop for a few weeks, really no fun to bike in and the usual ATV and sno-mo trails take a long time to firm up, limiting riding opportunities. 

Luckily, even with snow stretching into May in places, Levis Mound can dry quickly and get us back to pedaling on decent trails.  With snow and a lot of rain as recently as the past week, I’d been anxiously waiting for a chance to “scout” Levis and report in on it’s drying progress.  With a beautiful day this past weekend providing the opportunity, I rolled out the door to explore.  Levis Mound is all sandstone and the surrounding singletrack, twisting and turning up and over the mounds tend to be sandy and dry quickly.  I stayed with my Salsa fatbike, now being my ride of choice year ‘round, and hit the trail.  

Surprisingly, even the lower trails were dry, with barely a puddle anywhere-I hadn’t expected that!  The climbs to the top of the mound would be bone dry I’d guessed and as I ascended to the upper routes, found I was correct.  Even with all the snowbiking this winter, I am not in bike season shape, so this day was one for just touring, stopping and clearing deadfalls, snapping some photos and just checking my bike handing skills.  An easy relaxing ride.  Levis Mound is blessed with five unique cliff side overlooks, and I had to visit each one-slowing rolling up to the edge and checking out the leafless forest below-an unusual view.  Turkey vultures rode the thermals surrounding the mound and pausing to watch with envy, gave me a chance to rest.  

Although I love riding the snowy packed singletrack with friends all winter, there is something special about the first ride on dirt by myself-almost cleansing after the long cold ‘tweener time of year.  Not wishing to pay the price too much for an early season ride, I exited Levis to start some downhill singletrack ripping, barely keeping the speed in check but smiling all the way.  Although more snow is forecast, the dirt is here to stay and I’ll be back with buddies to ride the rest of this gem of a trail. Lets start summer!