VF and Jubby Hit the Trails ...

Still not sure what I think of someone spending two weeks, on and off, in my home and not telling me who they were. In the end it would have made little difference, due to the person they came with. I have to admit it was great to have another native speaker around to talk to and do things with. It filled a void and left me, lacking motivation to write. Not too long after our guests returned home, I hooked up with Jubby. One of my silent readers, who as it turns out, lives a mere 14 kilometers up the road from us.

With a mutual interest in mountain bikes we arranged to meet up at my place, for an epic ride. Our path and goal was not fixed, leaving several options to bail out if the weather turned bad or our fitness proved inadequate. In my mind the time had come to link two of my circle routes. I guesstimated the two routes at 21 and 25 kilometers but thought the combination would knockoff ten or so.

Courtesy of Jubby’s odometer we now know it was a 42 kilometer ride, mainly dirt, mud, water and rock except for the six small villages we traversed along the way. We lucked out with the weather, except that our assault of the steepest mountain came at the hottest time of our ride. A couple of well timed pit stops for some ice-cold Sponsor helped to sustain us in the heat.

Having separately traversed these two routes, several times in good weather, I felt prepared but was a little caught off guard, by some new obstacles. Recent rains had left more water and mud than usual and there were more bridges under construction. One proved more of a challenge as there was no obvious way across, at first glance. By standing a piece of wood on end and letting it fall across the rushing water, we improvised a bridge.

Balanced unevenly and ever so precariously, upon rocks on either side of the stream, the sight did not instill confidence in the outcome. I managed to carry the bikes down the rocks on one side and across the makeshift bridge. Jubby reached down from the muddy embankment, with just enough extension, to lift the bikes to safety on the other side. On my own, such a crossing would have proven iffy at best and could have ended badly. The picture that came to mind, of me or my bike laying crumpled on the rocks, was not a pretty one.

Teamwork won out and we continued on our merry way. With Jubby’s encouragement I overcame my reluctance to ride through water and mud. By the end of the ride it had become a nonissue and with a little cleanup, the bike and I, looked as good as new.

I’m looking forward to our next ride. With many trails to choose from, the only difficulty might be trying to avoid the main roads or backtracking. As much as I enjoy a circle route, I would probably choose backtracking the way we came, to spending too much time on the highways.

Independent though I am, it was very rewarding to spend time with a couple of great guys this last month. Perhaps with due diligence and a bit of luck, future friends and companions will be as affable and simpatico, and I will manage to avoid the dregs which inhabit the dark recesses of the Rai.