Tap…TapTap…DRIP…Tap…

Since we are celebrating our 25th anniversary we thought it would be fun to dig through our archives and share some of the articles and news we published on MORE’s first printed newsletter, “Trailhead.” Over the next few weeks we’ll “Throw back Thursday” and share some of these with you.

The item below appeared in MORE’s January 1998 issue during undoubtedly a period of rain, or in anticipation of looming weather. Then President Dan Hudson put his thoughts on paper to draft this message, still relevant today; well, $4 for a movie?!? Enjoy!


President’s Column
A Few Words from “the Prez” by Danny Boy Hudson

You’ve been hearing it for hours. A dream perhaps? Squenching your eyes, you try to wish it away…Tap…Drip…Tap…The sound of rain. It’s different at every house. At mine, I hear the drops bounce off the chimney cap, punctuated by the occasional drip down to the damper flap. After it becomes obvious sheer will is not parting the clouds, you drag yourself out of bed and survey the damage. First comes the window-peek. You fortify yourself with dry sunny thoughts and lift a curtain corner. Damn. Branches blowing. Leaves swirling. Puddles boiling. Not what one pictures when thinking of ideal riding conditions. The remaining hope? Storm localization. It wouldn’t be the first time Washington has gotten soaked while Frederick or Front Royal remained balmy and clear. Off to the television for a weather radar fix. Nothing like cold hard facts provided by the latest technological wonder to once-and-for-all buoy one’s spirits or drown them in the muck…

As an aside, I’ve really got to hand it to WRC, TV-4. While most of their competition is featuring Reverend-Dujour or cut-rate cartoons whose characters’ images don’t even blink, WRC broadcasts news early both Saturday and Sunday mornings featuring weather updates at least four times an hour. Just what the enterprising outdoor enthusiasts too weak or cheap to have cable needs to accurately plan their day. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah.

…There is no dry refuge in the cards today. The mottle of blues, greens, and yellows makes it perfectly clear we are headed into a third consecutive wet weekend. No riding for Dan again.

I have a question. How many of us remember what they did before dedicating their lives to the pursuit of better biking? I’ve been doing this for seven years now, since the later years of school, and honestly can’t recall. This realization dawned as I balanced my bike on the porch and seriously considered an attempt at riding up some steps and into the living room as the rain pelted the windows around me! One nasty weekend is easily survivable. Let’s be honest, we all could stand to do a little routine maintenance on our steeds. Clean a chain, repack some bearings, retention a wheel, all those things we’ve been putting off till just such a rainy day.

If you’re good, you could probably even find time to finish and make it to the matinee. A second bad weekend starts to push the limit. By this time, your ride is cleaner and in better working order than all those Trek-Fisher Bontrager-Klein-Lemonds lined up down at the local shop. Sure you could go to another movie, but is Gattica, even with Ethan/Uma (hey, gotta be fair!), really worth 4 bucks? Football? Just doesn’t have the attraction anymore. Three consecutive rain-outs is enough to cause panic to set in. The lucky folks can get a fix by tuning into the Outdoor Life Channel or slapping a copy of Tread into the VCR. Just have to get outdoors? Now is a good time to consider running. How much harm can you do to yourself or the pavement by jogging in the rain? Definitely the cruelest circumstance for the conscientious trail cyclist is for the sky to suddenly clear after nonstop torrents have turned all the trails within a hundred mile radius to mush. Aiiieeee!!!

Seriously, we don’t realize how much fun cycling really is till we can’t do it. But if you want to keep riding, resist temptation and stay off the trails when it’s gooey. We are real lucky here in the Mid-Atlantic. Our riding season extends pretty much year-round. Many of our brother and sister cyclists in hallowed riding areas like Durango or Moab find themselves cooking in an oven or buried under a ton of snow for large chunks of the year. Us? We’ve just got to put up with the occasional wet or snowy stretch. Shoot, it’s unusual for our trails to be out of action for more than a week at a time. The surest way to mess things up long term is to hit the trails when they’re not ready for it. While the physical damage may be short-lived, you can be sure that the memories of irresponsible use will be long-lasting in the minds of unsympathetic land managers and those who want bikes out of the woods altogether. Of course, some trails drain better than others and MORE will be sensitive to prevailing conditions when scheduling rides in the damp times of the year. But when in doubt, please stay off the dirt.

Are you aware RockShox specifies routine maintenance on their Judy fork, which requires the removal of the legs, every twenty hours?T? I bet it takes most of the next rainy morning just to get the fork boots back on right!

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