Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the road again (Birmingham, AL)

Since I couldn't get any riding in over the Thanksgiving holiday, I decided to sneak in a ride along the road. I woke at 6am and headed to Conyers, Georgia. I went to the site of the 1996 Olympic Mountain Biking Course at the Georgia International Horse Park. The course ran into the woods and over large slabs of rock. There isn't much elevation change, so the course felt like a constant up and down, similar to the Buttermilk Trail in Richmond. I didn't stay long, since I had to get on the road again and the damp conditions were starting to saturate all my gear.

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I loaded up the bus again and headed west, along interstate 20 to the Talladega National Forest in Alabama. My destination was the Cheaha Park. The rain had intensified and calmed, which left a foggy dampness in the woods. I was able to climb to the opposite end of the trail along the road and then dip into the woods for an almost entirely downhill run. The ground was covered in wet leaves, but somehow my tires tracked the corners surprisingly well. In what seemed like a blink of an eye I was again in the parking lot. I decided to take a short break, let Dignon out for a stretch of the legs, and then make another circuit. This time I decided to climb to the pinnacle of the road and take a service road that connected to the main trail. I was amazed at how much trail still laid before me. This time, it was entirely downhill without any need to slow the pace or seriously downshift. That was especially good news, since I'd snapped one side of my front shifter mount on an earlier fall. This descent went even faster since I'd seen the corners before and felt comfortable taking them a bit faster. Once out of the woods, I loaded up again and drove to my final destination - Birmingham, Alabama.

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As soon as I began driving the sun came out, which allowed a view from the roadside scenic overlooks in the park. What I'd missed on the drive there was breathtaking, so I snapped a few photos and headed on. I did find one more roadside attraction along the way - FIREWORKS!

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