Saturday, April 17, 2010

MTB Miles @ 9-Mile
Even after the many laps I've done of  9-Mile Swamp throughout my WORS & 24-9 racing, it still rates as one of my favorite places to ride.  No matter when or what time of day it is, you can always count on seeing at least one person that you know when you're riding or just hanging out in the parking lot.  For 2010 I've crossed paths with Les, Ben, Sue, Mark, Wayne, Justin, Jason and a few others I've seen over the years as I recognize faces but cannot seem to come up with their names until later.   Some of the trails are considered "epics" in my book as they've been around for as long as my memory can recall.  My favorites are Ho Chi Min and Flower Trail along with the numerous numbered trails across Red Bud Rd.  Climbs on the XC ski trails that bring a love/hate relationship with them from past races include Bitch 1 & 2 along with the Alps that haven't been included in current race courses, but brought plenty of pain years ago in different editions of the Gear Grinder.  The Gear Grinder was a classic race put on by the Wausau Wheelers before WORS started racing at the Swamp.  The Gear Grinder was always scheduled in the early weeks of September just before the Cheq Fat Tire 40.  It was a great tune-up for the Cheq Fat as the experts and possibly sport categories raced 32 miles and the course incorporated everything from the great single-track to the big ring xc ski trails that you could fly through.  If you were fast or lucky enough, a handcrafted award greeted you at the podium along with a beer or two with friends afterward. 

Fast forward to yesterday and to be honest the trails seem no different then they did fifteen years ago when I moved to the area.  The trail system has been slowly evolving with new single-track being laid out as sections start to link together.  New sections at the Swamp usually are most challenging in there first few years until they get ridden in and a certain flow develops.  In my two visits within the last week, I've seen broken derailleurs, snapped brake levers, flat tires caused by numerous rock gardens and a few bloody battle wounds where the Swamp has found a way to not let us mountain bikers get away without a few stories to tell about the 9-Mile Swamp. 

If you get a chance to ride this weekend take advantage of it.  Next trail stop for me looks like the Underdown Rec Area on Sunday with my Adventure 212 teammates.  Pedal on...

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