Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kenda Bicycle Festival

Last week I drove out to Hancock, Massachusetts (I actually had to go through NY to get there) for the recently re-named Kenda Bicycle Festival Presented by Dirt Rag, formerly known simply as PedrosFest. No matter what the name, it's a big bike festival with hundred of riders, an expo area, food, entertainment and plenty of other fun stuff. And, incidentally, Jean and I got engaged on our way out to the festival way back in 2001. Anyway, I was only able to go out for one day this year (that annoying work always seems to get in the way), but it was worth the 3hr drive each way (I think).

With all the rain that we've had, I had a premonition that the trails would be soupy, and sloppy groups rides tend to turn into muddy walks with bikes. Sure enough, the first group trail ride that I participated in, almost immediately after crawling out of my car after the previously mentioned 3hr drive, was an advertised Intermediate Ride. I thought it would be good to stretch the legs out... At first, one of the ride leaders said to be ready because we'd be doing lots of climbing. I've given up on gears for off-road riding, but what the heck, bring it on. With 30+ people in the group, I was also predicting 2.5 flat tires, 1 broken chain, 1 muscle cramp, and lots of chain-suck. The first two miles were all up. Two miles of continuous climbing, and much of it slippery, sloppy, mud. It became conga line of riders intermittently walking and riding. Fun (not). At the top, we were rewarded with about a 1.5 mile down hill, of twisty singletrack. Fun (for real). At the end though, (mind you, 3.5 miles later), we were milling around waiting for the remaining 50% of the "group" to re-coalesce to determine what to do next. I decided to bail and head to my back-up plan--my road bike.

I grabbed a Western Massachusetts bike map and made my way from Hancock to Williamstown to Adams to Savoy to Pittsfield and back to Hancock, for a total of about 60 miles. I was hoping to ride up to Mt. Greylock but the approach I had chosen (from the north, just outside of Williamstown) was closed. I still did more than 4,000 ft of climbing on the ride, mostly thanks to a LONG slog into Savoy. I'd like to try to get up Greylock sometime though...

Anyway, after the ride, it was time to socialize with some of my Dirt Rag and Kenda peeps, grab some grub, and make my way back home.

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