White Clay Improves Mental Health

After a double shot season of track and field coaching, I need a bit of a break and some time back out on my bike. Between both Winter and Spring track, I have been coaching every weekday and many Saturdays since November and my mind was just outta it. With ninety degree temperatures looming, a school power outage, and saliva dripping from my mouth for desire of a day in the dirt, a mental rest day was in order.

I parked over at the Poly Drumond Shopping Center and dropped in from the small dirt path from the road. I love trails that have a nice swoopy preview course. This entrance really lets you know how much fun you are going to have. Tight twisty trails with small kickers lead downhill into the corkscrew with berms that feel like you are riding the inside lip of some old washbucket that grandma is swishing around. This drops you down near the creek with a long and wide log ride for those who dare, and the opportunity to pick from a  couple of different climbing routes outta there.

I generally stick to the trails I know there, although it is nice to venture off the path a bit. I made the climb up to the parking lot off of Possum Hollow Road sometimes called the bird rescue lot. From the bird rescue lot,  I dropped all the way down to Fox hollow road and onto the Brian’s Field Section of the trail.

From here it was up. Up until I reached the skills section of the park. I rode though there with the confidence I gained at Ray’s over the summer but also with the thought that I am one of three people I have seen out here today, and no one will find me for about 4 hours if at all. I road with some caution and confidence because I have been through this section tons of times. I took it a bit easy because I was chronicling this for a separate blog post.

After the skills section. I headed over the Whitley Farms trail which has probably my favorite downhill section of all time. It is a section that you feel is just made for mountain bikers to rip through. I kind of wish it were a one way trail because I am always afraid I am going to clock someone in a blind corner causing a bad ending to the day for both of us, but regardless, I let off the brakes and let the smooth flow right outta my body. Besides the tricky little section at the bottom of that run, it is perfect and I can not wait to capture it on video someday.

I break off from the Whitley Farms section to hit up David English for some fun on his trails. I head left at the split in the trail because I know that the goodies are coming back down the right side of the trail along the creek. That is almost as much fun as the Whitley Farms drop. The left route also gives some decent climbing and allows me a chance to refill my water at the park office before finishing the climb back to the top of good ole David English.I think this is the hardest climb of the whole park, as it is steep and somewhat technical. Maybe it is just because this is usually my far turn around point.

From the top of Two Ponds back down to the road connection to the David English trail is the second best downhill in the park. It is a bit faster, narrower and drops into a creek. I say it is the second best because of the totally blind corners make you pull back on the throttle a little bit more than the other trail I described above.

Pulling across the road and out of David English gives you just about no option but up. I call it the tree climb because of the gigantic log/tree ride on this climb. It is scary the first time up there, but it is so wide as long as you go quickly and straight, you are fine.

The cruise back through is punctuated with a visit at the farm and at the Mason Dixon Post Marker. This is where I often end up giving my history lessons via mountain bike and most people start to ride away faster than normal. It is somewhat effective, since most folks think that the Mason Dixon line was put there for the Civil War, but in reality it was to settle a dispute over Philadelphia between the Governor of the territory of Philadelphia and Maryland. The same person thought the top of Delaware was flat, so I can not fault them too much.

With the history pilgrimage over, I headed back to the car. The trip back out is always fun because this is such a great place to ride at that even going up hill here is a blast. Back across the bridge with a few moments to contemplate the day and a good climb back to the car to order up some McGlynn’s tender vittles to replace all of the calories I just burned off.

School, track, stress, etc. were all left back on that trail somewhere. It was just the day I needed it placed perfectly in line with the rest of what I was doing. Of course I have to go back to work for a few more weeks, but memories of this day, and promises that I will be back are enough to drag me through to the end.


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