Monday, October 12, 2009


So it started out as a great idea. Get up early, load up bikes, and ride the Palmetto Passage...7 miles...seemed easy...and it was a great idea...initially.

I thought it would also be a great way to take the Raven out on her first ride on her newly built Salsa Moto Rapido mtn bike.

But then, like a pesky friend, chaos took over the driver's seat...and things got a little more hectic...

Somehow, in the fog of the early morning, I ended up changing our initial departure riding point from Buck Hall to the Swamp Fox trailhead. And just like that, we were riding up the Swamp Fox trail at 8:30 in the morning..which seemed ok at the time considering the weather was nice. I figured, a mile up through scenic points of the Swamp Fox trail and then turn around, and fork over to the Palmetto Passage and leave the best part for far, so good..

But, did I mention anything about the mosquitos? Absolutely relentless! At first few miles, not a big deal...but wow, they never ever gave up the fight...not once!

The Raven was the first to spot a snake on our ride. Snake, she yelled as I rode past it much too closely. When I asked her to describe it, she said, brown with diamond markings on it...gulp.

I started to worry that my great idea to get the Wifey and Raven into some nice weather trail riding was much too premature in the season.

After turning around a mile or so into the Swamp Fox trail, we return back to the fork in the trailhead and I decide to simply ride onwards towards the Palmetto Passage...another left turn taken by chaos. I figured it couldn't be too muddy on this part of the trail, so we pedal on. Upon looking back to check on the family, they heft big smiles letting me know they were having fun or at least smiling for me to let me know they were with me....Then I hear the Wifey say something about a tree going after her and then "oof!". Wifey hit a tree, but had a great recovery and we were back pedaling away. Raven trudges through some muddy lines and holds up the Wifey who is starting to pedal like a pro through the muddy stuff. It was classic lowcountry trail riding. I really wish I had brought my camera. We cross the highway and enter the Palmetto Passage with the family still showing a good deal of energy left...The Palmetto Passage is definitely a must repeat for cooler weather since everyone was really enjoying this part of the ride...

Remember those pesky mosquitos? Well, they certainly don't give up the fight easily. All of the nice scenic stops I had planned on making basically did not happen. We simply charged through each and every break point only to stop on top of a windy bridge long enough to hydrate and take a break from blood loss...Raven wrecks once into a tree and holds back the tears and continues onward. We reach Buck Hall and briefly rest to catch our breath. At this point I realize it is getting very hot, much hotter than was forecast for the day... I round up the troops and we set off cruising along at a good pace. The Wifey blazes ahead with a newfound set of legs and sets a pace that Raven simply cannot hold, so I bring up the tail end to keep everyone in check...The Wifey clears some roots on a climb which simply leave me amazed while looking back Raven gets off to walk...all the while mosquitos are eating us alive...literally. I tell here to get back on as soon as possibly and keep moving...The Wifey later announces she has just seen a snake on the trail about 50 feet ahead with a mixture of screaming and excitement in her voice. The Raven and I plunder on carefully making our way forward. I take back lead point and start pacing us closer to the end constantly reminding everyone that it is ok to walk over obstacles that they do not feel comfortable riding over. The Wifey seems to have taken to mountain biking overnight as she attacks another rooty uphill climb with positive determination. I stop and stare at her in awe as she flies up the climb only to stop a few feet short of the top and discover she is geared too high. She falls over, tangled up in her bike in a nasty looking pile. I wince watching it happen and then we help her recover. She gets up and keeps on moving! Wifey is on a mission! Raven cannot believe her mom is a mtb maniac! We finally exit the Palmetto Passage and we try riding up the side of the highway to shortcut our way back to the car, but Wifey finally succumbs to her rampant energy bursts and hides out in a shady rest while she commands me to continue onward and bring her chariot to her. I proceed, pick the family up and head back home..

17 miles of mosquito laden lowcountry trail fun was had...Overall, a great day!

Cheers to my Wifey and the Raven for riding as hard as they did...

Next family ride: Marrington(hopefully on a cooler day)

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