boy, I tell you whut; the Karate Monkey continues to impress with its fluid ability to power over just about any obstacle in it's path. Last night's holiday 4/20 ride was probably the first time in my Wednesday Night Ride career that did not end at a bar. When I peeled off to go home it was close to midnight, and perhaps the other vultures did indeed abscond to Grumpy's downtown, or some equally elegant spot. But the first hour and a half of said ride was an off-road Jedi trip thru some of Cedar Lake's finest trails.
Some people will argue that riding off-road after dark, sans headlight, is an exercise in stupidity. And they're probably right. But I don't care what you say, because we were having a riot of a good time. Rolling up and over a 4 foot log pile can be daunting even in the daylight sometimes, but in the terror-twilight of Cedar Lake, the big wheels of the James Brown Monkey wheeled their 34x19 drivetrain right on up and over with no complaints. Shortly thereafter, some crunching noises accompanied Brauer's chain snapping, so a brief pit stop to repair it was in order. Fixed in the time it takes to slam a can of PBR, we resumed rolling thru the secret subset of singletrack that so many would not have us ride. It's like this: there are legions of trails in the city proper that have no desgination –legal or illegal, that we've ridden for years. Riding them at night guarantees two things. 1.) there will be far fewer (most likely zero) other trail users out resulting in no erroneous trail conflict, and 2.) you've really got to up your skills to navigate wooded singletrack in the dark. The reflection of the moon helps some, but in general it's better to rely on your adjusted eyesight in the dark, and years of mental acuity gathered from riding all terrain, all year round.
Regardless of all that, we rolled on, dropping in to Hidden Beach and rolling over to the mound overlooking Cedar Lake for a few more beers and bullshit. A fast run down the bike highway, dropping in to parallel the railroad tracks, crossing the tracks, and then a rip up and over the corkscrew pedestrian bridge and the group decided to head into downtown for more ale. I raced back over the corkscrew to Bryn Mawr, pausing at the top to throw devil horns at the hotshot freight train that roared underneath the bridge, and rolled the path home.