Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Midwest Women's Mountain Bike Clinic - Part 1

As much as I love the idea of zooming through the woods on my mountain bike, the reality is that I don’t have a clue what I am doing. When registration for the 2012 MWMTBC opened up, I decided it was time to get some help.

Reindeer Mary had also signed up for the clinic but then wasn’t able to go. My BT buddy Laura signed up, so I knew there would be at least one person there to hang out with. Going  to the clinic alone would have been a little like dining out alone (at least for me) --- it would accomplish the mission but would  be kind of lonely and make me self conscious. At the last minute, my friend Brenda took Mary’s unused registration. This was perfect since we had done quite a bit of trail riding back in the fall.

The clinic is in Brown County State Park in Nashville, Indiana, about a five hour drive from home. There are about 3 different ways to get there. The quickest way was probably via Indianapolis and was mostly interstate, but this would have involved rush hour traffic around Indy. We opted to go through Decatur  via 36. Brenda’s TomTom GPS did not approve of this decision and kept trying to send us to Indianapolis. Then it had a change of heart and began to angrily insist that we turn around.
Abe Martin lodge
We eventually reached Brown County State Park, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to get to the Abe Martin Lodge, where I had booked a “rustic cabin”. Not trusting TomTom, I plugged the address into the iphone and it took us on a merry adventure down a private road that wound through thick forest, growing ever narrower before  culminating in a gravel path that plunged down a steep hill. OK, it was a ravine.  Complete with a No Trespassing sign. Clearly we were in the wrong place.  It didn’t seem logical to have a hotel in a place that could only be reached by mule or 4 wheeler.  

The lodge was down the NEXT road. A kindly forest ranger working the gate gave us directions and we found the lodge easily. It’s a pretty cool place.  You can either stay in the lodge, which is basically a hotel, or rent a small cabin. There are also larger cabins that could contain a big group.

The Rustic cabin - deceptively roomy

Interior of Rustic Cabin

First glimpse of the cabin would lead one to believe that it was quite spacious. Then we realized that the cabins are split into four sections and our room was off the back. I think the room measured something like 12’ x 12’. You had to climb up some steps to get there.  The room smelled kind of musty, not really in a bad way. It had that summer camp feel. The bathroom was small but very clean, and we had a small microwave, a coffee maker and a dorm size fridge. We had to do some rearranging of furniture to get the two bikes and luggage in, but it worked out just fine.

Laura's situation

Laura had arrived a bit earlier and had the fortune to share a cabin with a very large, very loud group of people. It was a big family reunion. There seemed to be a lot of that type of thing going on.

We decided to go to packet pickup. Laura climbed into the back of Brenda’s car and we drove over to the Rally Campground.  We took a wrong turn but eventually found our way there.  Laura tried to get out and discovered that she was locked in by the tricky child proof locks. Getting lost in the park and having Laura locked in the back would prove to be a theme for the weekend.

After packet pickup there was a Meet N Greet at 7. We hung out there for about an hour and met some cool ladies, then learned our coach assignments. Brenda and I were in the Beginner Group with Suzanne as a coach. Laura was in the Intro group, which as it turned out was pretty much the same as the Beginner level.

Tired after the long day of driving, we drove back to the lodge, getting lost again. Laura was still locked in the back and had to be set free. We hauled our coolers up to a patio at the main lodge and drank some wine and Summer Shandy. I had brought a bottle of Chardonnay and managed to destroy the lid with a corkscrew before realizing that it had a screw top.

The cabin had a small air conditioning unit and we had set it on Stun before leaving, mostly to get the musty smell out. It worked quite well.  You could have hung sides of beef in that cabin. The white noise from the a/c was soothing and I slept like a rock, except when I heard something scrambling up the exterior of the structure and running around on the roof.  For some reason I blamed the children at the family reunion next door.  Irrational, yes, but I was pretty tired and had been drinking a bit. Figured I was dreaming and slept like a log.


Kate Geisen said...

I was thinking of you this weekend. I wanted Soooo badly to be there. My knee's still being unpleasant, though, so it's a good thing I didn't go.

Can't wait to hear more!!

Ransick said...

The cabin looks perfect for a mtb weekend. The colder the better when trying to get a good night sleep.