It has been my tradition to get out at the end of the day on the last day that Kingdom Trails is open for the summer season. I don’t actually plan it that way, it just seems to work out that I can’t get out on the bike until the very end of the day. This year was not different in spite of my efforts to ride earlier in the day. I’ll blame the time change for messing with my scheduling. Regardless, on Monday the trails will be closed to the public, so I wanted to squeeze in one last ride.
This afternoon was quiet. I only saw one other rider out and he was rearranging stuff in his car. I’m assuming he was done for the day. It was quite relaxing to ride alone in the woods. The woods feel unusually empty this time of year. The trees are pretty much bare now and the leaves cover the ground making the cold wind seem a little more raw than it might otherwise.
As I pedalled along I reflected on the past year, both things related to biking as well as other issues. My best thinking occurs when I’m out alone on my bike. Anyway, I realized that I’ve had a pretty good summer of riding. I didn’t race this year thanks to some ongoing knee issues, which was a change that had some surprising benefits. There were no training rides, just getting out to enjoy the trails for the sake of riding. I may not have ridden as much as I have in previous years but it still managed to add up to quite a few miles.
It seems like there were lots of changes made to the trails this year. After NEMBAfest, there was work going on and changes found almost every week. An excellent climbing trail, Burrington Bench, was added mid-summer. In addition, there were many, many improvements made to the existing trails: new bridges, rerouted sections, bermed corners, and trails raised up out of the mud in several locations. Each improvement makes the network more sustainable. I often take it for granted, having lived here for over 20 years, but this is a pretty great place to have “next door.”
Moving the clocks back last night made my estimation of remaining daylight more than a little bit off. Darkness was starting to fall as I finished up my ride. I ended up cutting a couple of trails out of my intended route. The temperature was dropping pretty quickly as I made my way back to the car with a runny nose and numb fingers. I’ll be back when the snow has covered the ground.