Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mountain Passion

Mom, I normally wear a helmet.

“You’re moving through a wonderful natural environment and working on balance, timing, 
depth perception, judgment…It forms kind of a ballet.”

Charlie Cunningham, mountain bike pioneer

I keep this blog pretty tightly focused on MC-related stuff.  I will shamelessly divert from that primary focus when I find recreation opportunities.  It makes me happy to think of this blog serving as a sort of travel site, giving Sailors stationed in the area ideas for things to do.  Anyway, I've been mountain biking off and on for about 15 years. 

If you've never found yourself on a singletrack trail in the middle of the woods, add it to your list.

Fire road in Banner Forest, Port Orchard, Wa.

There are many, many trails to choose from up here.  Banner Forest is great for beginner to intermediate riders.  The trails lead back to the fire road, which makes it a good place to navigate from.

Why do you need navigation help?

Which way is out?

Because it's a maze in there.  Don't count on signs, either.  They're few and far between.   You'll probably see more black bear warnings posted.  Banner Forest, at over 600 acres, is HUGE.  You can disappear in a park that size... real easy.

That's why I carry bear spray.  It has a spray distance of 35 feet.  Here's a quote to put it in perspective:
This is for situations in which a bear is charging from a distance. You want the spray to create as wide a barrier between you and the bear as possible so it has the maximum amount of time to affect the bear’s eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.
If it is a grizzly bear and it’s going to make contact, drop to the ground and play dead and give the spray time to take effect. If it is a black bear, prepare to fight aggressively with any available weapons (fists, sticks, rocks, etc.) until the spray has time to take effect. Bear spray has been shown to reduce the length and severity of maulings.   
           - Center For Wildlife Information

Log bridge over nothing in Banner Forest.

Why ride a gym bike when you can navigate through this?

Wildcat and Beaver Pond Trail, near Bremerton, Wa.

Wildcat's a more challenging ride.  Loose rock on the trail makes traction difficult.  My back tire skids and sprays rocks on these sections, making me very, very annoyed.

Crashed in Banner Forest.

If you take up mountain biking, you will fall off eventually.  And that's ok!  It may sound weird, but I kind of like coming back from a ride scratched up.  We're so plugged in all the time, eating crap food, watching crap television, letting our eyes glaze over our computers...it makes me feel alive to get beat up a little.

Blackberries in Banner Forest.

A huge bonus to MTBing in my area is the blackberries.  They're everywhere!  At the end of the day, just pedal up to the nearest blackberry plant and dig in.  Not only are they really good for you, but they're free!

See you on the trail!

Check out my bicycle website at amazingbicycles.com for basic information on all sorts of bikes.