On Sunday, I loaded up my mountain bike, helmet, and biking related gear, and headed to Kitchener with Mark to hit up the Hydro Cut, a group of trails perfect for trail running and mountain biking. This would be my first visit to Hydro Cut, and to be honest, I was a bit nervous. Why? Well, this was a new course and I really had no idea what to expect. The paths and such that I bike in Guelph are well-known to me, so I feel comfortable biking them given my vision issues and lack of depth perception (vision and depth perception being rather important when you are flying through rough terrain).
But, not liking to stay in a comfort zone for too long a period, I immediately said yes to Mark when he called Friday to set up the mountain biking adventure. We were agreed: Sunday was going to be an adventure of epic proportions. Okay, maybe not so epic, but it was going to be awesome.
Anyway, the trails were awesome, and all were very clearly marked, and each came with their own name; Bypass, Double Bypass and even Triple Bypass, Andy’s BBQ, Rockin’ Ronnie, and our personal favourite Stinky Girl (to name a few). We aren’t exactly sure who named these runs, nor what prompted such names as Andy’s BBQ or Stinky Girl. Regardless, the trails were fantastic. And while the Stinky Girl trail had an aroma that I couldn’t quite place, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was stinky. Perhaps on a hotter day?
One of the things that jumped out at me once we started our trek, was the fact that we didn’t have to worry about oncoming traffic – the bulk of the trails were set up as one way trails. Additionally, they were labeled by level of difficulty, much in the same way that ski hills are labeled – blue square, black diamond, double black diamond, etc. That too was something I enjoyed as I hadn’t yet been out mountain biking this year (tending to favour my new swanky road bike), and felt perhaps a little rusty.
We started off on the intermediate level trails – labeled by the blue square. They were great. Lots of twists and turns, ups and downs, plenty of rocks, branches and roots to navigate, some mud, and great scenery. After spending some time on these, we moved up to black diamond. We avoided the double black diamond, as neither of us felt quite ready for it, and I’m sure I would have had a huge spill if I didn’t spend at least my first outing getting the feel for the trails and developing my biking legs.
We ended up biking for about 2.5 hours, not including a short break for snacks and rehydration. And thankfully, I survived without too many tumbles – only two to be exact. The first I don’t even remember. I know I lost my balance or caught my foot on a root and fell over, but was left unscathed. The second time I wasn’t so lucky. I was on a black diamond run and misjudged the steepness of an uphill section of the course. Needless to say, I got part of the way up the hill, lost my balance and came down on my right side. I sort of wrenched my thumb in an awkward way and got a bit of road burn along my right side; but otherwise, felt fine. I’m taking the fact that I only biked into a few trees (depth perception/vision issues) as a sign of a very positive bike ride (as I’ve been known to bike into trees, parked cars, etc.).
Ultimately, we biked about 18km and every single one of them were amazing. If you get the chance, you should check out the area. The trails are awesome, very scenic, and provide a great challenge for all levels of bikers. I’m definitely going to be returning to check out some of the other trails that I haven’t had a chance to bike yet. This may or may not include the double black diamond courses. That will definitely depend on my comfort level, and whether or not my eyes are cooperating. Regardless, I’m sure the next adventure will be just as great as this one.