Words by andy
Photos by kevin
Knowing when to quit is bullshit. The best part of any ride, race, or day even, may very well be right over the top of that hill called “a reasonable time to hang it up.” An entire day spent riding bikes, crashing bikes, drinker beer, ringing cowbells, riding more bikes, and drinking more beer (we call it a cyclocross race in these parts) is a good day. But it’s also an exhausting day. At the end of a long day of spills, thrills, and cross drills the voice to go home and take a hot shower grows louder as the sun gets lower. But there is another voice that calls to us as the setting sun sets its sites on the tops of the trees. It says: “Fuck it. Let’s ride.”
On a day where Eskape Artists Kevin, Francis, and Marco all grabbed top 10 finishes (and Andy avoided a second consecutive DFL in Single Speed CX) the highlight had to be the low light ride through Rosaryville’s always fun (and sometimes downright creepy) perimeter trail network as the gloom gathered around us.
Just as the shadows were starting to get properly long we took off into the woods, extra sets of lights stowed away for the back half of the ride.
I’ve ridden the Rosaryville perimeter at least a dozen times. Not that I would ever call the trail boring, but I might call it predictable. Nothing like a cross bike on a bunch of slippery wet leaves to make traction questionable and the presence or rocks and roots downright obscure, though. Add in the gathering darkness and you get a downright exhilarating ride. Andy had a solidly unintentionally-acrobatic-over-the-bars endo and Kevin found a few different places to take a dirt nap as we snaked through the dimly lit woods. The otherwise still and quiet woods was punctuated by hoots and hollers, excited yelps, and stuttered curses belted out down rough and rooty drops and descents until after nightfall.
Cyclocross racing is challenging and exciting, but single track riding afterwards was a different kind of exciting and a different kind of challenging. One could argue which is more rewarding, but for me, on this weekend, I know which one was more fun. It’s a good thing that, although cyclocross season is as fleeting as fall, the trail goes on forever.
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