Sunday, March 15, 2009

Things To Do In Belleville When You're Dead

Saturday and the fabulous Braun Brothers and the Kittenmaster went out to do a fullrecon of the H8TR Trail. The Kittenmaster suffered a flat tire before even getting out of the parking lot (a portent of the evil to follow I suppose), but after a quick fix and rendezvous with the brothers Travis and Matt they hit the trail.

First impressive thing was that the deer carcass that Brassnipples found a couple weeks ago was actually within the city limits! Hardcore. What can be said about the trail condition this year compared to last year at the same time is that it was both better and worse. Better in that the impassable snowdrifts from last year aren't there (oh don't worry there's still time for another snow dump) and there aren't any downed trees across the path (
yet). Worse in that with last year's total saturation still in evidence, the trail isn't draining nearly as fast so the finished sections have a consistency of wet cement and ride that way too.

But we're getting ahead of ourselves- admittedly the unfinished bits were a blast as always and with the frost still holding things together it was fast. This year the potholes are bigger and the bridge drop offs deeper, but the trail path has been beaten down more by snowmobiles and bikers alike so there are some good lines to follow.

While we were on the section paralleling Wendt Road counting spent shotgun shells, we met a group of bikers coming in the other direction. This was a good sign in that otherwise all we were seeing was pelloton after pelloton of roadies out for an early spring ride giving us friendly but confused waves hello as they saw us disappearing into the thickets and mud. The bikers we met gave us grave warnings about glare ice for stretches of the trail and possible alternate routes. Alternate routes? NEVER!!! We pushed on. Since they had been out earlier it might have been glare but what we found was rideable (we're seasoned Wisco crossers after all and laugh at such things. HA!). We were laughing so hard that Travis fell off his bike on the tail end of the ice and tore his palm open nicely.

The trail leading into H8TRville was sweet and it seemed we'd be at the tunnel in no time. Then the wet cement started. Imagine going up a miles long uphil against a stiff headwind yet somehow the ground remains level and forward progress seems nonexistant. Short bridge and highway crossings were like seconds long vacations and then it was back to pushing the rock up the hill. Record setting paces were not on the menu. We got to the Tunnel of H8T and the waterfalls from last week were gone and in the tunnel itself there was an underwater skating rink. Still not quite do-able but hey there's still almost a month before go time. Don't hold yer breath though.

Somewhat disappointed we turned around and headed back down the wet cement highway. We stopped in Belleville at the local Citgo where Matt loaded up on fine pasteries and the Kittenmaster replenished his water supply from the fresh restroom sink spring water. For a treat we rode half a mile of highway pavement before returning to the H8TR. The glare ice was now glare slush that had Travis and the K-master dismounting and walking for a bit as Matt floated over mud coloured sno-cone with fat tires. Eff this, back to the pavement. Then back to the unfinished section and finally back to Seminole. By the way the section of the H8TR that parallels Seminole is totally rideable so this year barring floods we're doing it! At this point Matt went off to pee in the bushes and an SUV with some old women passed by pointing and laughing. The Kittenmaster flipped them off. Oh Kittenmaster, that's no way to be a goodwill ambassador of cycling!!!

Spent we took Seminole the rest of the way in but doing it at sprint pace line speed. For as much as single speeds can do a sprint pace- just as fast just more spin.

So there ya go. Go time approaches.


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