Mt. Pleasant Sunday Ride

The temp was in the 20’s with a 10-20 mph breeze, when I woke up this clear, sunny morning, putting the actual wind-chilled temp in the teens for Church of Two Wheels with the Bubbas. I stuck chemical toe warmers into my aged Northwave Winter bicycling boots, squeezed into two layers of wool on top, under my Pearl iZumi shelled jacket. Last time I did this ride, there were five of us.

Today there were twelve- all the regulars plus two new guys on fat tire bikes, Carl on his Surly Moonlander, with the 5″ tires, and Walter on his Carver framed test bike from Bath Cycle. Here is a picture of the difference between the Moonlander’s fat tires and my Pugsley’s ( right).  Ian was riding his Salsa Mukluk, another great fat tire machine with an aluminum frame.

Two Fats

I’d like to mention the initial climb. After leaving the parking lot at the Rover garage on route 90, the trail starts up an abandoned and eroded road , where it travels 1.9 miles to the top of Mt. Pleasant, with an average grade of 7.3%, and 755 feet of elevation gain.  It’s a bitch, but I did my best climbing ever, at one point staying in the saddle after I passed three guys who were walking up.

Nelson even shouted, “Climbdog!” after me as I ground my way up over the leaves and rocks.

The Pugsley’s aggressive tread Nate fat tires grip well, and are worth the extra $$.

Once on top, the usual ocean overlook was being blasted by the arctic wind from the west, so we rode over to a more protected section of ledge.

Bubbas on Top

We then bombed down from the top to what we call the Three Way intersection. It’s pretty technical in sections, with drops over ledges and some icy patches to dodge, not to mention the thick cover of recently fallen leaves that obscure some of the hazards that lie underneath.

Mt. Pleasant ride

I was descending at the rear of the pack, nursing my aching forearms, when I came upon trouble. A half-dozen guys were at the edge of the woods and the downhill, tending to a “Bubba down”, who turned out to be Steve. His front end hit some obstacle, at speed, and smacked him into the ground. The side of his head had a couple scratches, and his helmet was intact, and his tights were ripped, exposing some nasty red exposed skin. He was a bit dazed, and took a good 15 minutes before he was able to get up and on his bike. Incredibly, he chose to ride with us, rather than return to his car, which was less than a ten minute ride away from this point.
Steve is an excellent rider, past Maine Sport racer, and someone who
“hardly ever” makes mistakes.
The hawk seemed OK in the parking lot afterwards, but there was a post on Facebook this morning from Rigger indicating that the Hawk experienced ” a pretty good concussion and can’t work for three days…and that he should be fine with some rest.”
Good vibes to Steve and his eventual return to Bubba Church, next time.

I took a shot of The Hawk in the lot, but it didn’t come out.  I found this one, from an earlier ride this season.  Leading, as usual. 

Bubbas Pleasant in December

On Sunday morning, I attended the Church of Two Wheels. I scraped the ice off my windshield, put the Heckler on the bicycle rack and headed over to Warren, ME to ride up to the top of Mt. Pleasant with The Bubbas. The Bubbas are a persistent group of “over 30 year old” mountain bikers that have been bruising themselves up in Midcoast Maine for decades. Mount Pleasant is the highest point in Warren, ME and affords an extensive view of the ocean and of Penobscot Bay.

Bubbas on top of Pleasant

I have done this ride dozens of times before, but there is something special about riding a bicycle through the woods in December in Maine. Several things stand out in a winter ride; the views are much more expansive, as the deciduous trees are bare of leaves, but the ground can be frozen, making for a faster, albeit more treacherous and slippery track. Another downside is that whatever mud is left over from the rains is probably going to be there until May, when the sun warms up the earth and the moisture gets baked out.
There are regular opportunities for glory on the ride. One of them is to clear difficult sections, like Nelson Falls. Here is a video clip of Rigger and Steve having at it:

I have been pleased with my riding for the past several months, in fact, I think I am now a riding better than I have when I was a younger Bubba. I attribute the recent improvement to having watched, just once, a DVD entitled FluidRide: Like a Pro. Steve Kilburn ( AKA General Tso) introduced me to the video and it’s hard for me to believe that a one time viewing of just one section of the video should make a difference, but it did. I’m a more flexible rider now, looser on the bike, where I used to tense up and hold my body too rigidly. I also try to keep the speed up, using momentum to move me through places I used to poke my way through.
The upshot is that I had only 1 fall in these less than optimal conditions, and that was after being thrown to the side in a mud rut. Luckily, I didn’t land on a rock, and got back on and kept going.
I’m sore today.