The breezy morning air was cooled by the waters of Lake Michigan. I was chilled, deciding to put on tights. The sun was up, shining bright in a blue autumn sky. Outback Trail, some 10+ miles of mtb fun composed of two loops, in Imagination Glen Park on the edge of Portage, IN was my post-coffee addition to energize my blood.
I quickly rode Peninsula and then pedaled back to the Dark Side via the Heritage Trail to warm up. Well-signed, riding the total seven miles of trail that is essentially one big loop with little side circles to get the full mileage was not technically difficult, but it did have a few spots that required some technique, e.g. the right side line at the beginning of The Basement and a few piles on Log Jam. It was impossible to get lost, and was a perfect ride to get the day started.
Finishing up on the Dark Side, I went back and rode the Front Side. Three miles or so of smiley-face riding, is what I found it to be. The woods were spectacular dressed in their seasonal colors, and despite it only being three miles, I felt like I was gone for a long while.
Back at the parking lot, I loaded up and got my bearings set for Bluhm Park in LaPorte County.
Imagine a picture of your intestines. While riding Bluhm Park’s 5-6 miles, I kept thinking: this is what it would be like to ride a mountain bike inside my intestines. Strange, indeed it is. The trail twisted and turned and rolled on and on, seemingly never ending in the West Woods.
Once on the trail, I simply followed it through the trees. Barely signed, it didn’t matter. You get on the trail, and when it’s time to get off, it’ll spit you back out where you started. Again, more autumnal beauty was found in a little pocket of forest on the flatlands of northern Indiana. I enjoyed riding the trail so much that I didn’t want to get off my bike. So I went across the street to ride the paved path through the East Woods. When I turned a corner and saw this, it further confirmed that Bluhm Park is a hidden jewel.
Loading up again, I headed over to South Bend. I had to drop my bride off in town for game weekend. A hot dog on campus with a coke and chips was fuel for Rum Village. Situated on the southwest side of town, I had always wanted to ride Rum, but never got around to it.
For me, Rum Village is that fun uncle that has a little bit of an edge to him that has the aunts and uncles wondering if he might be a little crazy. The quick descents and ascents, the wood work, especially that big sweeping banked turn, the drops here and there, and the faster stretches followed by tight fits through trees, makes Rum Village a damn good time of mountain biking. I only wish I had more time to go around a second time. Next time.
A big THANK YOU to the Northern Indiana Mountain Bike Association–NIMBA–for making my day possible.