I took the mountain bike out today for the first time in almost 2 months. I normally love mountain biking in the winter, but conditions have to be right. Ideally, you want frozen trails with little to no snow or ice. I know of people who love going out in the snow, but it’s not my thing. Unfortunately, most of February was icy, wet, and slushy, making for terrible trail conditions. The weather finally took a turn in the first part of March, when we had a very long stretch without any precipitation. This morning, I finally ventured out, and I’m glad I did. The trails were in the best shape that I had seen in at least a year. The term “Hero Dirt” is often used to describe ideal trail conditions for riding, and that’s what we had today. The trails were hard packed and dry, but not dusty, and there was no mud to be found anywhere. I’m off this week for spring break, so I took advantage of my extra time and rode for around 2 hours. I rode Morning Choice Trail, Garrett’s Pass, Vineyard Spring Trail, a bit of Santee Branch Trail, Soapstone, Starstruck, and Ridge Extension/CJS, before finally heading home via Rockburn Branch Trail. I saw a few hikers, but curiously, no other riders. That’s unusual, even on a Monday morning with the temperature hovering around freezing.
Another strange thing I noticed this morning was that in spite of the lack of recent rain, Soapstone Branch was running pretty high and fast — enough to make the pavement wet underneath the railroad tracks in the Glen Artney Area. Most of the small creeks that cross Soapstone Branch Trail also had a pretty healthy flow, which made me wonder what was up. I’ve seen Soapstone Branch raging during a water main break in Catonsville, but it wasn’t running that high today. I suppose it could have been a smaller break somewhere uphill, but I’ll probably never know.
Anyhow, it was great to get out on the MTB again today.