MOAB for making the ride happen. I also got some good local advice to go to Chickasaw Trace Park near Columbia, Tennessee for a good trail system with a variety of terrain.
Since I added clipless pedals to the new bike, this would be an adventure. Clipless pedals counter-intuitively involve wearing special shoes that have a "cleat" on the bottom that clips into a spring-loaded mechanism on special pedals so that your feet are locked to the pedals. They are called clipless because they replaced a previous technology called "clips" that are now obsolete. The new tech is called SPD, although it is no longer new really. I was accustomed to using traditional platform pedals where you can just wear any old shoes (I usually wore trail running shoes) and stand on the pedals like we all did when we were kids. You can escape clipless pedals by twisting your foot outwards but you have to think about it. It takes about 1 to 2 seconds to escape from clipless pedals and to make a long story short, you can crash in less than 2 seconds - so that happened.
The park I was visiting is a Maury County (Tennessee) public property located on the periphery of a landfill, alongside the Duck River. The landfill is still in operation and can be seen from some of the higher ground in the park. Why are landfills always built next to rivers? I've yet to see a landfill that is not built right along a major perennial stream.
|An obstructed view of the Duck River from the trail system. This is not far from where I had my first clipless crash. I was coming to a stop and basically forgot that I needed to unclip and fell on my multi-thousand-dollar knee. Yeah, that hurt.|
|The landfill near the entrance to the park.|
|Roller coaster section on the more advanced trails. Normally I would have hit these with fury but a couple of crashes made me hesitant and I had trouble carrying enough momentum through them. It ended up being part hard work and part hike-a-bike.|
|A nice bamboo grove somewhere in the middle of the trail system.|
|A distant view of the remote controlled aircraft field with Middle Tennessee knobs in the background. I suspect this land might be covered-over landfill but not sure.|
Eventually my knees started to bother me and the sun got low in the sky and it started to get cold so I took a shortcut that probably cut off the last mile of the trail system. I was glad to be back at the truck. I picked up some fast food on the way home and made the long drive back to Ringgold. It was a pretty successful first run on my new bike, with only a couple of true crashes, plus some other minor incidents, mostly a result of unfamiliarity with being clipped onto the pedals. The trail system at Chickasaw Trace is nice and I'm glad I got a chance to ride it, but probably not worth driving over 2 hours considering that I live in the Appalachians and have numerous better options within 1 hour of home. Still, it was a fun ride.
|The Derryberry Log Cabin is on the site and dates back to the early 1800s, before it was legal to settle in the area. Obviously it's had quite a bit of maintenance in the interim 200 years. The roof is definitely "non-period."|