There you have it - At the end of the day it was Upstate SORBA that people were talking about. This according to the head Ranger Jason after the event. What were they talking about exactly? Guided rides on Paris Mountain's Turtle trail and the skills course over at the amphitheatre. BIG props to Brad, J and whoever else helped them build the obstacles for the skills course.
I didn't arrive until just past 1pm, and the event was already under way. Chuck was manning the booth while Brad, J, Meeker and Chris were out with a group. It was only a couple of minutes before people started lining up for the next group ride.
About 30 minutes after they departed, the group returned. We already had almost a dozen people lined up. Some of them had brought their own bikes! Since I had brought my riding gear, and Meeker was finishing up for the day, I got to go out with the next ride.
It was pretty fun. I had not seen the obstacles that were built by the U.S. folks, so at my first view, I was quite surprised! There was a teeter-totter, several plywood boxes, an adjustable skinny (you could put turns in it), a couple of log bumps and a large bump (for lack of something else to call it). I'll put up a link to the Upstate SORBA site when I locate Brad's photos of the event.
Chris was our official ride leader, and she talked about how to navigate obstacles to our group. The group was great. It was a mix of kids aged from about 3 years old up to about 15 or so (and a couple of parents). Yes, the youngest was riding a tiny bike with training wheels! His brother was on a slightly larger bike (12" wheels maybe?) and might have been 5 years old. These little guys were going for it on the bumps. Our bumps were actually larger than their tires could really handle! They did great though (with a little assistance from Steve and Chris).
After everyone had a chance to ride over the bumps, we headed out for the turtle trail. I took a small group of 4 first because they seemed to be a little more advanced. In this group, there was a 6 year old girl who was already riding like a pro. OF course there was James, son of Steve - he is quite advanced, so I let him ride out front. Told him not to crash, otherwise, have a blast. He was tearing it up while I led the other 3. They did really well, especially the little 6 year old girl. She's gonna be tearing it up in a few years!
At the road we re-grouped before heading back to the shelter. All the kids did great. Even the parents! By the time we got back to the shelter, we had another full group lined up. This group was made up of older kids and adults that had experience on bikes and on mountain bikes. We took them through the same routine (skills course, then turtle trail) and returned again.
Chris and her friend were already taking down the booth when we returned, but there was another dozen or so people getting ready to ride. I helped fit a few of them with helmets and bikes and we took off. Since it was late (relative to the closing time of the event), we skipped the skills course and went directly on to Turtle trail. I rode near the back this time with a couple of more experienced kids behind me and an older mom and her daughter in front of me.
It's fun to watch the kids (big and little) ride on the trails. For many of them, it is a new experience from riding on the paved roads or paths at the local park. The mom in front of me had a bit of trouble on a couple of hills, and when I looked she was in the small cog. I gave her a couple of pointers and she adapted quickly. When she stalled out on a small hill, I took the two younger guys past her and we did a little rocket action (not really that fast, but a little faster than when we were behind her).
When we got to the road, we waited for a few minutes for the mom, her daughter and Chuck. When they didn't show after a couple of minutes, I headed back down the trail to check on them. Mom had started to feel a little dizzy, so they had stopped. Chuck was still with them, but none of them had any water. I gave her a little from my camelback and they said they would be coming in a few minutes. Sure enough, moments after I arrived back at the road, I could see them coming up the trail.
As the group started back, a little guy who had gone on the earlier ride asked if I had to be the last. "Why", I asked...."I want to go fast!" he said. So, I made a deal with him. He and I could wait until the group was out of site, then we would take off. As a bonus, I would let him go in front of me so I wouldn't slow him down.
He was having a great time as we 'rocketed' down the trail. He was whooping and laughing as we rolled through the trees and over the rises. Although the speed wasn't my normal speed for this trail, I did have a huge smile on my face. This little guy was going to be talking about this ride for a while. Turns out, everyone was talking about it.
2 years ago