Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ohio 3 - Scorching John Bryan Park

Still in Ohio, and looking for something different to ride. Hmmmm. The Quickbeam is a cross bike. Maybe some scorching some off road trails? One of the very few drawbacks to this part of Ohio is a relative scarcity of mountain biking destinations. Hard work on access issues by organizations like the Ohio Mountain Bike Association and the Miami Valley Mountain Bike Association are improving the options. Closest to Xenia are the trails at John Bryan State Park and Caesar Creek State Park. I've done some riding at Caesar Creek, but never at John Bryan, so I decided to try there. An added advantage was my ability to ride to the park on the Little Miami Rail Trail and local roads vs. driving to Caesar Creek.

To get the QB ready I wanted to swap out my wheels. I brought my second set of wheels with a freewheel on both sides and the WTB knobbies mounted, but when I was working the rear wheel, I realized that I usually have a longer chain to swap as well, to give the fatter tire clearance. Whoops. Since I got my Monocog, I haven't been using the knobbies on the QB, and forgot this little detail. So the fixed wheel and 37 Pasela stayed on the rear, with the knobby on the front. All sorted.

I got things together and headed out. There were only a few trail users on this Wednesday morning. After only about a mile I turned off the railtrail onto Clifton Rd. A few cars, but a nice ride in the sunshine. A left on Grinnell took me down into the valley of the Little Miami and across the river.
Bryan Park Road took me up to the park. Incidentally, Bryan Park Rd. is also the steepest longest climb I've found in Greene County. It reminded me of Hamburg Road here at home, but only about a third as long. Still, I was warmed up well when I got to the park gate.

I entered the park and was aimlessly casting about when a car with a bike on it rolled past. Ah-ha! Follow that car. As I did I noticed that there are signs directing you to the MTB trails. When I got back to the trails the rider in the car that passed me was getting her bike out, so I stopped to ask about the trails. It turns out Diana is the trail manager for this trail for the MVMBA, so I got a guided tour of the whole system. Pretty cool. I asked about the amount of climbing here and she said that there really wasn't much, so I decided I'd just leave the bike fixed at 40x18 instead of switching to the freewheel side. After signing in in a log at the trailhead kiosk (maybe something to consider locally), we fist rode Powerline. I noticed a spur to a skills area, but we stayed on the main section. Powerline was wonderful tight twisty singletrack. Lots of tight turns and narrow passes through trees, with some small single logs to cross and I think three larger log piles. A couple of rock armored stream sections as well. Super twisty and fun. I took the optional bypass on two of the three piles.

Soon we were at an intersection with doubletrack, called the Arboretum loop. This is an easy access trail that the singletrack is always close to. We crossed that and onto a segment called Abracadabra. This was a bit less twisty, but similar to Powerline, allowing a bit more speed and flow. Diana mentioned plans to bank some of the turns. Going through one curve I felt some give and looked down to see my chain wrapping around the fixed cog. A quick stop and unwinding revealed that the chain was broken. I don't know if I broke my chain and it wrapped up, or if I threw it and it wrapped and then broke, but the result the same. Diana said she would finish her run of Abracadabra and then come back to see it I needed a ride to a nearby bike shop. I had a short hike to the bailout doubletrack and a kickbike glide to the parking area, where I set up at a picnic table to look things over.
The section that broke was fortunately right next to the powerlink. I was able to shorten things by one link and use the Quickbeam's small ring/freewheel combo to get back into riding form, albeit as a coasting SS rather than fixed. All good.

Diana arrived back just then and was surprised to see me ready to ride, but offered to show me the last trail segment. We headed out on Great Scott, named after the park manager who was originally receptive to mountain bike trails at JBP.
This was more singletrack of the fast and swoopy kind, with a few ramps over logs, bridges, and armored stream crossings. We rode this part and then rode Abracadabra backwards from the way we had originally started on it. I meant to take more photos, but it was so much fun I only stopped a couple of times. We were soon back at the parking lot and I considered another lap, but I need to leave some time for family stuff later in the day, so I opted to head home. JBP was a thoroughly enjoyable place to ride. I'll be back for sure.

My repair job freewheel was a joy on the downhill of Bryan Park Rd and 32x22 made the climb into Yellow Springs a breeze as I searched out a place to get a cool drink. I ended up with a root beer and a soft ice cream (and even a camelbak ice refill!) from the Corner Cone, and then got back on the railtrail to Xenia. This is where that easy gearing was not so fun. Spin like a mad man on the dead flat trail up to a whopping 10 MPH and then coast for a hundred yards. Still, it got me home under my own power.

The kids were waiting and a after a change of clothes, we headed over to the Greene County Fair. It was an OK fair, but of course expensive. We saw various critters and displays, ate some tasty junk food and played some goofy games. Let me ask you, are there any more bizarre people in the world than the folks who operate midways at carnivals and fairs in the US? I submit that there are not.

Keeping busy on vacation leaves you with the best kid of tired.

Ride photos on Flickr here.


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