This weekend was the opening of Kingdom Trails for mountain biking this year. Normally the trails open up the first weekend in May; but thanks to the warm and dry spring we’ve had, they decided to open things up sooner. Right now, the trails on Darling Hill are the only ones open. The trails on the mountain side will be open a bit later, which is pretty typical. Most years they seem to wait until the first of June to open them up.
Surprisingly, there weren’t many people out on the trails. I rode a loop on both sides of Darling Hill and only encountered one other rider. That’s really unusual for a Saturday ride. The parking lots weren’t very busy either. I suspect that a lot of people either didn’t know about the early opening or were scared away by the rainy forecast. Thankfully, the weather service was off a bit with their forecast earlier in the week, and the rain held off most of the day.
The trails were dry. They were actually quite a bit drier than they usually are in the summer months. Many of the typical mud holes were just dry spots. Things were even a little dusty in places, but that wasn’t a problem since I was riding solo.
Since it was my first time out this year, I thought I’d do one of my favorite loops which runs down the West side of Darling hill and back up the East side. 90 minutes of fun. I like this loop because it hits several of my favorite trails (Troll Stroll, West Branch, Jaw) and works in some good climbing. I still don’t have my cycle computer on my bike yet, so I don’t know the mileage.
Getting back out on the trails felt like I had just been there a couple of weeks ago even though it’s been about half a year. I’m riding almost as strong as I was last fall. One of the things I noticed was that having bars that are two inches wider makes a huge and scary difference in certain places. My width gauge is now considerably off. Consequently, I had a couple of close calls where I had to float the front end while twisting the bars a bit to avoid a sudden stop between trees. I’m sure I’ll adapt to the difference eventually.