I had one goal in mind on this outing:  find the trail that drops off the other side of Yellow when you climb up on blue.  Not more than twenty minutes after starting the climb, I found it.  There it was, not at all difficult to find, if you take your time to watch for it, and aren’t bombing the trail.  The next 10-15 minutes was maybe the least technical ridgetop-to-bottom trail in Michaux.  There were no rock gardens, no boulders, no big trees to knock you off your line.  It was fast and fun.

Turning right, I got into a groove climbing back up around on blue.  Rhodos and a mountain stream by the side of the forest road were my zen moment:  primordial, breathing, turning pedals, water washing over rocks, sunlight coming up over the ridge I had just descended.

I went back over the ridge and then back down on blue, taking the forest roads to the reservoir.  Beaver was glorious on a crisp winter’s day:

Popping back up on the forest road, I turned right and got into a nice rhythm as I climbed up to the powerline and then to the Wildcat reroute.  I cleaned the first section of rocky madness, absolutely convinced it was because of the big tires.  Or, maybe I was simply riding well, was an afterthought.  Whatever it was, I was high on mtb life.

Then I dropped off a rocky feature and hit the back end hard.  I hoped all was okay, and it was for another thirty seconds or so. 

Flat tire.  I had a patch kit, so no worries.  On top of the mountain, sun beaming warm, I was in my element, as they say. It didn’t matter that I had no spare tube.  It didn’t matter that I was having trouble with remounting the tire.  It was simply part of the ride.

Saddled up again, I rode a little gingerly and then said to myself:  just ride.  Five minutes later the tire was flat again.  I laughed. I was about a thirty minute hike from my car.  I didn’t want to wrestle with the tire again.  So I decided to take my bike on a walk in the forest.

The hike out was nice:

I had a picnic lunch back at the car after loading up.  The air was calm.  The sun shined on the water as I sat in the quiet setting enjoying a fine Pennsylvania brew.  It never tasted better.

independent writer

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