We dribbled in to Lake Owen Resort throughout the day last Friday. It’s a great place for a crowd -- log rooms that can fit four, a couple apartments, rooms with kitchenettes - rustic…all rustic. The doors open onto a boardwalk which leads in one direction to Lake Owen (an awesome sight in the early morning) and in the other direction to a common building with a screened-in porch, a hot tub and a gathering room with fireplace, pool table, dining tables, couches, fridge, and fish mounted on the walls. We watered and beered that evening, then sang to the fish in preparation for a 50-mile weekend.
We rode Rock Lake and headed over to Patsy Lake trails, both off the Namakagon Town Hall Trail Head. Sunday we hit the Ojibwe Trail outside Telemark Resort. The Cable, Wisconsin, area is known for epic cross-country skiing in the winter, but I had no idea the mountain biking was this good. Our timing was perfect: fall colors were at their peak. Temps were in the high 50s. It was exhilarating. Sensory overload.
The leaves on the ground hid the trail, but if you looked closely enough, you could see the depression where others had ridden and could find your way. And the rocks? I hate rocks! But, rocks covered by leaves are a piece of cake. Can’t see ‘em, don’t know they’re there. I rocked. Damn, I was good.
Except on big rocks. Damn I sucked.
We rode through stands of mature red maples and screaming yellow oaks, transitioned into pines with brown needles as groundcover, then into a crowd of young saplings -- white trunks 2” in diameter. The trails were serpentine and technical. I almost get what a testosterone rush is.
And in the midst of the beauty was the trash talk, the occasional breakdown, and 5 guys doing the “statue” pee 20 feet off in the woods every damned time we stopped (what’s up with men and their bladders?). That doesn’t happen in a road cycling crowd.
The road is different. There’s a flow and a oneness, a common purpose, a quiet determination, a smooth balance. Riding the trails is like being on a barrel pony. There’s focus and jaw-clenching and control on the edge of control while every part of bike and rider grabs onto the next challenge.
…an awesome weekend.
- The Waaa-HOOOO Bag