vernon enduro trail

A Beautiful Day to Ride

It’s been a couple of months since we’ve had a chance to take the bikes out. (Too darn hot!) We eagerly took advantage of the fall weather this past weekend and headed out to the Vernon Enduro Trails, near Leesville, LA. It was a beautiful, perfect day. Low 70’s, low humidity so that it felt cool, but not chilly. Clear blue skies. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.

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We rode for close to 4 hours, our longest day out yet, and covered about 28 miles. My quads are talking back to me today (from all the standing while maneuvering over roots and fallen trees.)

Newsflash! I stayed upright the entire time! It was my first day without a spill or running into a tree. Awesome.

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We found this great spot for practicing hill climbs and just playing around.

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The picture DOES NOT do justice to the size or scale of the area. The camera really flattens the scene and changes the perspective. They look like itty bitty little nothing hills. I feel ridiculous telling you that I almost wouldn’t go up the one on the far left; but I did. This would have been a great area to take some video but we didn’t bring the GoPro. (Next time for sure.)

Since we couldn’t get video, after playing for a bit we took a break and then Don had an idea to stage a picture. Here he is setting up the bike.

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So I could pose with it. LOL

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The bluetooth headsets we purchased for riding are so incredibly useful; I feel like I can’t even describe how meaningful it is to be connected and able to talk continuously. It completely enhances the experience. We aren’t just two people silently participating in the same activity. Don is able to alert me of obstacles that are coming up or coach me more directly when needed; and it just allows us to share thoughts or ideas while riding instead of riding in silence and stopping and trying to yell to one another through helmets, or having to go through the process of taking off our gear before we can visit.

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Another great day of adventure and good times. 🙂

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
~ Aristotle 

Riding. Day 2. Trails.

We went to the Kisatchie National Forest yesterday for some trail riding. We explored the Vernon Enduro Trails, southeast of Leesville, LA. You can see a trail map here, if you’re so inclined. We rode the two shorter trails south of the Enduro Camp and we tried to do the small loop just northwest of it but part of the loop was closed or we got turned around. Either way we rode around a little above the camp but we didn’t fully explore the mass of trails to the north yet. Maybe this weekend…

I started out a little rough but by the end of two hours I was enjoying myself.

We took a break and took pictures in this open area so I don’t have any pics of the actual trails. The trails are a mixture of hard packed dirt, sand, gravel, and tree debris, as well as lots of roots. Some areas were open without many obstacles, some were a little more tricky.

Don made a comment when we were done that you can’t frown while riding. Well, some people can. I did. For maybe the first 30 minutes. I just I don’t learn new things well. I can remember similar unpleasantness when I was learning to snowboard about 14 years ago but when I mentioned it to Don he said, “Yeah, but with snowboarding you cried.” So at least I have that. There’s been no crying with riding. But man do I go kicking and screaming inside. I know it’s because I’m afraid but I don’t know what I’m afraid of most: getting hurt, looking stupid, making a mistake, or not being able to figure it out. Wait a minute, sounds like I don’t like to fail. That’s it. I knew that! Well, I’m just going to have to keep working on that.

As for my second day out riding, I stayed in 1st gear, barely moving, and only coasting down the trail if it had any decline to it for a good while. By the time we left I was moving from 1st to 3rd and was getting up to about 15 mph, maybe a little faster; I was keeping up with Don without him stopping to wait for me so I count that as doing pretty well.

There were definitely some squirrely moments. I almost lost it a few times. And…I did have my first spill. Nothing major! I know some of you (parents) are worried. I was trying to get over some roots in the trail and after getting past the worst of the roots my back tire was squirrely and I had one of those moments where I twisted the wrong way and gunned the engine so then it really got squirrely on me. And…I lost my balance and…tipped over into sticker bushes on the side of the trail. So I didn’t run into anything. I didn’t get hurt. I wasn’t even going very fast at all. The stickers did scratch me up a bit. LOL  Too bad Don didn’t take a picture. Although I do appreciate that he was more concerned about my well-being than pulling out the camera to immortalize the moment. All in all, I think it was good for me. I learned a little more of what not to do and hopefully learned a little more about how to control the bike to avoid those kinds of things in the future.

On a totally different note, when we were done and loading up the bikes, this little fella was taking a break on my shoulder.

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
~ Dale Carnegie