Sunday, April 14, 2013

Big River - Exit 7 Start

So today I finally got back to Big River in Rhode Island.  It has been almost a year to the day since I was there for my first time.

In an effort to let Johnny Cash roll over in his grave (his back must be sore by now), I put the following into my email to the troops announcing the ride...

Now I taught that Gary Fisher how to fly, fly, fly
And I showed those wheels how to roll that blue Hi-Fi.
And the cheers that I cry for that trail are gonna fill you Big River.
And I'm gonna ride right there until I die.

My creative efforts must have fallen short.  We were a mere six riders today: Jess Bly, Jim Nydam, Tony Chabot, Chris LeClair, Amar Clark and yours truly.

This time we started from the Exit 7 park and ride.  I thought it was still a little chilly when I left home at 8 am, but arriving in Big River at 9:00 am, it seemed considerably warmer.  The trails from the Exit 7 lot start in the back right.

And they are a BLAST!  Fast, smooth and flowy with only some short ups and downs for the first half dozen or so miles.  Definitely a great place to start.   It gives the legs a nice chance to open up before hitting anything too techy or climby.  There were a few small switch-back climbs that were pretty nice.

I also quickly remembered that just because I'm riding behind Jess, I shouldn't follow his line.  He likes going over things.  And you never know whether it's a roller or a launch.  I prefer not to launch.  And I like my rollers to roll, if you know what I mean.

Just before coming into Sidewinder, we ran into Steve Offiler, Freddy Bassett and someone I hadn't met before named Sil, who I think have figured out to be Sylvain Loize.  They were riding an A+ ride and takings home some KOMs on various Strava segments.  Caught up a few minutes.  Listened to some gibberish that was allegedly directions and continued on our merry way down Sidewinder.  Great trail, but always goes by too fast.  By always, I mean the two times I've been on it.

After riding by the end of Tarbox Pond, we started climbing up Hopkins Hill Road for a short stretch before cutting in to the left onto the trail again.  That trail heads uphill over root, rocks and downed trees.  When we'd waited a little too long at an intersection, we knew something was up.

Somehow in the process of shifting, Chris got his chain caught between the little ring and the frame.  Not a little caught.  Irremovably caught.  We had to pop the quick link to take the chain out and then put it back together again. I say we because I have the important job of holding the jockey wheel forward to remove the tension on the chain.

Anyhow, back up and at 'em and we headed up to the parking area off Exit 6A, which is where we started last time I rode Big River.  Amar had actually parked at the 6A lot and Jess had grabbed him and his bike and brought him to the start.

Amar had the option of calling it here or continuing on until we crossed back to the lot later on.  He did the right thing and kept riding.  Kick ass Amar.

We crossed over Hopkins Hill Road down a super fun, jumpy fast downhill.  It leads down to a stream and out a major climb up to a road that looks to lead to some sort of quarry.  This is all stuff I did last time I was here.  We followed some really fun trail that had great flow.  At one point over here there is a great little feature someone put in.  It's a bunch of maybe eight foot lengths of lumber that start with 10" plank and gets narrower and narrower with each 8' length.

 The Skinny and Skinnier and Skinnier

Jess Nails Those Boards

We also came across a pretty cool string of rocks and boards that were put together for adventurous riders.

Tony Gives It a Go
The Ol' Bly Try

Amar Hits the Bridge
And after that, we moved on to Alan's Ave and climbed up Elephant to take a break at the overlook. 

Chris Grinds Up Elephant

Tony Keepin' On Keepin' On

Waiting to Make Sure Everyone Makes the Turn

Amar Slaying the Elephant (I'm pretty sure that's illegal)
Sunday Morning Riders (not to be confused with Wednesday Night Riders)
Is Tony Ralphing?
After the Overlook, we headed down and rode Azorian. Well, Jess rode Azorian.  The rest of us dabbed.  Nice work Jess!  First time cleaning it and now in the illustrious annals of history with the likes of John Beaupre.

We hit a few more trails on the North side of Hopkins Hill Road - I See Dead People and some other stuff.  Chris took a huge digger following Jess down one of his "rollers."  That bruise is going to be there for a while.  There was also one super tight squeeze aptly named Lemon Squeeze.

Just before crossing back over Hopkins Hill Road, Chris over-torqued his chain and snapped it.  After a repair, we crossed back over Hopkins Hill Road and bade Amar farewell.  Amar rode like a champ today.  14 or so miles and the end was super techy and climby.  Way to go Amar!

After we parted company with Amar, we decided to hit some of the terrain on the south side of Hopkins Hill Road before heading back to the fast, flowy stuff out.  We almost immediately found ourselves faced with a water crossing.  Didn't look too bad.  Just stagger-pedal my way through, right?  Not right.  What started as fairly shallow quickly turned foot-drenchingly deep.  At least it wasn't freezing out.

Jess, our generally geographically gifted guide, missed a turn here somewhere.  We still hit some great stuff.  Rode along the top of a crazy rock ledge that dropped a good 40 feet or so.  Came face-to-tire with Jess' rear wheel as he headed over his handlebars at one point.  Rode some obviously new, spongy fun trail.  But in the end wound up back at the water crossing.  We picked our way along the edge this time rather than splashing through.  From there, we started heading back from whence we'd come.

Tony Tackles the Tree

The Tree Fights Back
The fast, flowy stuff that was so great as a warm up was just as great as a cool down.  We arrived back in the parking lot at 2:00 pm sharp, a mere five hours after we started.

In the end, we rode 25.82 miles (wheel measured) and climbed 1,655 feet over those 26 miles.

Here's the Garmin track.

Great ride.  Great company.  Great day.  Looking forward to the next time!  Next up, the H2H Chain Stretcher next Sunday at the Blue Mountain Reservation in Peekskill, NY. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review. I've been told that place is worth the trip. Scott