Monday, October 09, 2006


Salem Trails Utterly Pointless and Insane Day 10-7-06

Goals -- they're dangerous.

I will ride 100 off-road miles at Salem Hills.

Now, think about it. Riding an off-road century is a feat, to be sure, but let's consider this one...reeeaaaally think about it. The Salem Hills trail system consists of a north loop and a south loop...for a total of 4.5 miles. Given what Salem Hills IS, that glorious, challenging statement then translates into:

I will ride 22 laps at Salem Hills.

Twenty-two laps. Since each lap takes just under 30 minutes to ride, 22 laps means:

I will be riding the same 4.5 mile loop over and over for 11 hours.

Ummm....So let's take that statement and extrapolate out to the available daylight. Suddenly what's REALLY being said is:

I will get up in time to get to the trail by 6:30 AM
and I will spend 11 hours riding the same 4.5 mile loop
over and over for 22 laps until it's dark.

And, given that Salem Hills is a great little swoopy, loopy, curvy set of trails with a feature that would be one, THE rock feature one could say that Salem isn't overly challenging. Add wind gusts of up to 33 mph on the prairie section and what you're ACTUALLY saying is:

I will get out of bed in time to get to Salem Hills by 6:30 AM
and I will spend 11 hours circling
the same mind-numbing 4.5 mile loop
over and over
for 22 laps
in order to ride 100 off-road miles on the windiest 80-degree day of the year.


One could set different goals. I'm kind of partial to these:

I will ride laps at Salem Hills until I get tired
or until my brain gets tired.

I will arrive sometime in the morning
after my morning coffee and newspaper...priorities!

I will cheat and ride my 'cross bike
instead of my mountain bike
and I will deserve an extra lap just for being smart
come-on, 700 wheels?! nobrainer

I will take breaks when I'm hungry
or when there are other people hanging out on lawn chairs

I will leave to run an errand.

I will return and ride more.

When my body hurts, I will quit
and then I will drink beer with other people hanging out on lawn chairs.

Do I need to ride 100 off-road miles? Heck no.

CAN I ride 100 off-road miles? Heck no! But my helmet's off to those who did!

- OB


Jill said...

Damn, when you put it that way, who would be crazy enough to ride a dirt century?

the old bag said...

Jill -- next year plans may include a point-to-point ride...although there was something nice about the laps: always someone else to stop and chat with, being able to see others regardless of distance, etc.

Pete said...

The whole "beer and lawn chairs" thing makes me wonder why I didn't ride this!

Trée said...

Oooh, I see opportunity. Someone is going to have to massage the lactic acid from those tired and aching smooth shaved pistons of dynamic motion. I say, ride! :-D

X Bunny said...

that's way too many laps

laps are evil

gwadzilla said...

I think that it would be tough to do that many loops

point to point would allow less effort to back down

do you want it to be technical
or do you just want it to be dirt?

the C&O Canal from Cumberland to DC is 184.5 miles long

the tow path is pretty much jeep road then a wide maintained packed gravel path

just like the many loops
there is monotany
counting turtles can get old

Jeff in Chico said...

Uh.......I don't think I could do that either. I'd lose count after about 8 or so. 11 hrs on the bike? I can readily see 11 hrs on the beer and chairs.

the old bag said...

Pete -- gotta say, after a few laps, lawnchairs were the best part.

Trée -- and the sweetie was out of town...too bad Franklin is so far.

xB -- you hit that one on the head. I can't believe some did the whole 100.

Gwadzilla -- turtles, laps, I think 100 miles gets old any way you look at it.

Jeff -- you may be onto something...maybe next year is 100 virtual miles!

Shawn Kielty said...

I just discovered that my son has a mountain bike ... you see -- he never rides it to my house ... but what he wants is a road bike -- of which I have two ... What to do?

We could trade. And then I could ride on the dirt.

I ain 't going a hundred miles though.

the old bag said...

Shawn -- there's something about the dirt...nuthin' like it. Don't totally give away your other road bike, but lend it while you borrow the mtb...

...just to see....

juancho said...

a brilliant deconstruction of intent. Laps are kind of silly I think.

the old bag said...

Thanks Juancho. I can see plusses and minuses...plusses being more human contact, minuses being more head games.