A couple friends from work and I went for a spin up in The Shed (Frederick Watershed) a couple days ago. What an awesome time we had! It was pouring down raining all day long and only stopped raining an hour or so before we headed out. Actually it never really stopped raining and it was very foggy so visibility was as low as thirty or forty feet up in the hills. Riding when it is wet and muddy brings back such great memories of being a kid and having no care for sticky hands or dirty clothes. Making sure we had fun was the only worry that we had as we sped off into the Sand Flats trails. We would stop every now and then, look at each other with smiles on our faces and grit in our teeth. I really don’t like being out in the rain but after the first few minutes of being totally soaked it was actually pretty refreshing.
First we did a short warm-up loop that stayed fairly close to the parking lot, just to test our mettle in the slippery wetness. The circuit was fast and flowing with only the occasional slick mound of rocks to navigate. Hooking up with the Blue Trail in this area is much different than most of the rest of the blue trail. Normally the Blue Trail is a rollercoaster ride of rock gardens and water bars. Here the trail is smooth and flows with mild chicanes back and forth through the trees. There are some side trials that lead to nice rock hops and ledges for those with the courage to try them. And best of all Blue dumps right off onto Gambrill Park Road for an easy uphill spin to the parking lot.
After getting our feet wet (pun intended) on the warm-up lap we headed out to the northern end of the Watershed. Passing Salamander Rock, a cell tower that looks like something from ABC’s LOST series, and an old (most likely) Pre-Civil War stone house we eventually got to a tricky downhill section paved in large boulders of quartz. To say it was slick is an understatement but we all pressed on with barely a scratch (I had an unfortunate meeting with a tree that ended with a bit of tree rash on my shoulder and arm). One of the other guys got to know Mountain Laurel on a more personal level as he was upended and landed softly in a mature bush. Nothing hurt but pride!
The ride ended with a very fast and blinding spin on GP Road back to the cars. It was almost impossible to see with all the spray coming from the front tires of our bikes. I’ll have to put a guard on the front wheel next time we ride in those conditions. All in all it was a great outing and I am glad we didn't let the weather keep us from Getting up, Getting out and riding!