Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Twilight Trail Ride

I must admit I am not very skill full when it comes to mountain biking. I am rather clumsy, and chicken out on the tricky downhills. I am however in love with the sense of adventure and wilderness that comes with an opportunity to venture out into the unknown. So when the opportunity did come the other day to explore some trails, I did not hesitate a bit. It was 3 of us – me , Dharma and Magin. To avoid the summer heat, we decided to get into the trails an hour before the dusk. The idea was to do the exploration before it gets dark and then trace the trail back in dark.

We drove down with our bikes on the car rack to the forests situated around 50 km from TBA. By the time we hit the trails, it was 5.30 pm. We had plans to locate a trail that I had last ridden on, a couple of years back. It took us a little while to find it, but once we were on the trail, it felt good. Memories kept rushing back...of the numerous times we ripped through it, and of the one time I had crashed on the same trail. 
First third of the trail is rocky and climbs up sharply. The middle segment is reasonably flat with occasional loose soil. The last part of the trail goes down gradually into an open land with a small water body. All through, the trail runs through and cuts across the forest.

We laboured our way up stopping a few times for a breather. The climb is quite a challenge if you have to do the whole on your bike. Once we reached the flat part of the trail, the pace increased. It felt great ripping though the forests with the only sounds being the rustling on the leaves beneath the tires and the chirping on the birds. Suddenly, 10 metres ahead of us, a family of wild boars cut through the trail like a flash.

With the true forest around us, we kept going, enjoying the company of nature and the challenges thrown in by the trail. Soon we were on the other side of the trail, next to the water body. It was time for another stop – another breather.

Now it was time to head back. The light around had faded. Although I have ridden through the same forests at night couple of times before, both times we got lost and spend less time riding and more time navigating. This time we simply had to follow the trail back the way we came. We decided we will keep stopping from time to time to ensure all of us are together. If someone falls back or gets a flat, he is going to shout.

We started the climb back. From this side, the climb was much shorter. In no time we were on the flat portion of trail. With the darkness engulping us from all directions, the thrill factor had gone up by a few times.There were no chirping of birds this time, but the rustling of dry leaves kept giving us company. Occasional alarm calls from crickets reminded us we are in middle of a forest.

The lights were really confusing us and there was absolutely no visible signs of a horizon. Instead of our eyes informing us about the approaching climbs and the downhills, it was our legs this time. We were also really really focused, as we really couldn't spot anything beyond what our lights would make us spot.We just took things as they came, and that's what made it all the more fun.

Dharma was leading as he had the GPS track with him. Soon we were on the rocky downhill section on which we had laboured up an hour back. The trail twisted and turned through the forests. At every turn, I totally missed a helmet light. With only the handlebar mounted light, I could only see what in front, but not what was coming up on the bend. A lesson learnt. I am not going to come back without a helmet light again. With every rocky downhill section accompanied the thrill of going past it without crashing. Is that the one thing that turns a trail rider into a trail addict?

Arriving back at the parking, we met each other with high-fives. The feeling out of the first twilight trail ride was indescribable. We left with the promise to get back for more.

And we kept our promise:-)
Here is the next one : Twilight Trailsurfing on 04thMay 2014

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