Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snowshoes -- Mohican State Park


After a late start yesterday morning I arrived at the trail head at Mohican Sate Park.  We received another inch or two of fresh snow overnight bringing the total up to eight inches or more so I was excited for some adventure.  After spending several amazing hours out in the snowy woods with my new snow shoes I am certain I made the right decision in trying out this new to me form of winter recreation.
The equestrian trail network is where I spend most of my time when I come to Mohican in the wintertime.  Lots of hills, miles of wide well marked trails and of course no horses this time of year makes it a perfect place to ski or snowshoe and enjoy the peacefulness and tranquility of the winter woods.  The picture above is looking back through the staging area towards the entrance.  The only park users so far are a lone hiker, me and a couple cross country skiers.

The temperature was a perfect 29 degrees F. so a poly base layer, thermal top and my Polartec fleece regulated my body heat perfectly.  I only worked up excessive temperature on a couple of the longer climbs.  I had along my ski gloves but they spent most of the trip hanging off my belt.  Like most cold weather activities perfecting the kit takes a little trial and error but I think I got pretty close for the conditions on this trip.

I hiked the 4.6 mile red trail which crosses the Pine Run in a couple places.  I  was a bit surprised to find the creek full of water and rushing along nicely.  It's early in the winter season and not that long ago we got days of rain so I should have expected to find the creek in this condition. 
Typically later in the season the flow rate slows down and the creek freezes over at the trail crossings making getting across a breeze on skis which is usually how I encounter the waterway.  Today Pine Run offered up a bit more of a challenge.  Luckily I was wearing my waterproof pac boots and I found a spot just upstream where I could make my crossing.  I removed the snow shoes and gripping them at the front with the tails down I used them like hiking poles to help steady myself as I stepped carefully through the icy water.
Safely on the other side and back up to the trail I took a short a break and ate a snack while I had my snow shoes off.  By the time I ate my rice noodles, squirted an espresso Gu pack and plenty of water from the Camelback I was already cooling down so I got back on the move.
 I like this trail system because it traverses all the features of the surrounding land from valley bottoms to ridge tops.  There is plenty of climbing and descending to keep things interesting and make it a workout.  I'm happy to report that even on the steepest terrain I encountered traction was not a problem; the snow shoes gripping much like mountain bike tires on dry dirt. 
The cross country skiers never made it further than the Pine Run so from then on the only tracks I saw were whitetail dear, rabbits and other small critters. 
I did take a few off trail excursions to test the snowshoes in the rough stuff.  My shoes are huge by modern standards as they are the traditional shape and nearly four feet long.  I expected them to cumbersome in close quarters but actually I found it very easy to maneuver through the forest.  I like to get off the trail and do so often with my cross country skis but I have discovered that snow shoes really work well for this type of work.  The wide shape of the shoe acts much like a big fender and allowed me to squash flat tiny saplings and thorny brambles before they got caught up in my pants. Unlike long skis the snowshoes are much easier to turn and don't seem to snag on branches and vegetation near as easy. 
Like I mentioned in my last post from my first trip out I'm blown away by the floatation and stability provided by the snowshoe and the ease at which I can move through the woods.  You're not going to twist an ankle with these things strapped to your feet.
Making my way westward through a large stand of Eastern Hemlock the canopy suddenly opened up and I noticed something strange was going on with the big pines.  In an area of about a hundred yards in diameter many of the trees had their branches stripped off and many trunks were snapped off cleanly at various heights.  I surmise that a tornado touched down in this very spot and shredded the forest.  I stood in awe for long time marveling at the destructive power of nature. It must have been quite an event.

Continuing on my trek I descended back into the valley and met up with the Pine Run again.  At this crossing the water was shallow and the bottom seemed covered with flat rocks so I took a chance and simply crossed through the water with the snow shoes on.  In this picture I'm balanced on a snow covered log or something and thought it would make a neat photograph.

I love the tracks left behind in the snow.  They remind me of a sea turtle track left in beach sand.  I was always curious about snowshoeing and thought a constant effort had to be made to keep the feet apart and walk slightly bow legged.  I must have a natural wide stance because I don't feel like my stride is any different and only rarely do I hear the metallic clack of the frames hitting each other in passing if my feet do come too close together.

I timed myself just right and was making the final climb out the valley as dusk settled in bathing the forest in that peculiar shade of blue that slowly deepens as night falls.

For the sake of curiosity I unstrapped the shoes and walked the last hundred yards through the staging area with just the pac boots.  I wanted to see if my enthusiasm was just a result of the newness and novelty of this winter sport I'm just discovering or do snow shoes really make that much difference?  That 100 yard slog in the pac boots was awful.  With out the stability of the big flat platforms each step was unsteady and it felt like most of my effort was wasted as the boot simply slid around in the snow.  With each step my foot sunk all the way down requiring the exaggerated marching like step that gets old real fast.  The snowshoes allow a much more normal walking like pace. 
My final verdict: Snowshoes Rock!
One last thing I'd like to comment about after a good nights rest following this three and a half hour hike is any soreness or lack thereof experienced from the exercise.  I read that snowshoeing takes some getting used to and some soreness especially around the hips could be experienced.  I'm happy to report that I feel great with just an overall dull tightness in my legs like all I need is a few minutes of stretching throughout the day today.  I've got a theory that my regular sessions on the elliptical trainer the past few months have conditioned my lower body perfectly for motion of snowshoeing.  The mechanics of both activities are very similar.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Snow Shoes

I've wanted to try snow shoes ever since I was a kid but it's just one of those things I never got around to. Until now!  With all the snow we just received and more on the way I decided to take a gamble and bought this pair of US government issue surplus snowshoes from The Sportsman's Guide. The shoes and bindings have been in long term storage for 30 years but magnesium, nylon and the steel cable webbing has held up well and is perfectly serviceable. 
The shoes were delivered yesterday while I was at work so after dinner I figured out the bindings and took a quick test walk around the back yard.  While these snowshoes are the traditional shape they are very lightweight and don't feel any different than my cross country skis maybe even a bit lighter.
Right away I noticed how easy it was to use the snowshoes. Simply walk one foot in front of the other. I cruised around the yard for a minute and then put them away eager to go out for my first real trial Friday after work.  The next day I arrived at the west end of Clear Fork Reservoir at a small trail network that I have yet to explore and thought this would be the perfect place to try out the new shoes.
The sun was quickly setting by the time I got into the woods but I did get one good picture. Snow shoe tracks are distinctly different and are just visible coming up the path.  The trail system leads eastward towards the reservoir and by the time I reached the shoreline darkness had fallen.  For the most part I kept to the clear paths but I did venture off trail a few times and found that the stability offered by the big flat platforms made walking through the forest even in the dark a piece of cake.  I climbed a couple small banks and found that turning sideways and stepping up the hill with a similar technique that I would use while cross country skiing got me safely up the grade.
Here I crossed a small creek by balancing on a few small logs careful to keep the shoes out of the water.  Just like skis if they get wet the snow will freeze and clump up packing on the weight and so it is imperative to keep them dry.  The boots I'm wearing are La Crosse pac boots that are also G.I. issue except they were issued to me over 20 years ago while I served in the U.S. Air Force. They work perfect with the shoes.
I love these snow shoes and no wonder they've been around for 4000 years. I've never moved so effortlessly through the winter woods before.  Tonight I kept my trip short at about an hour because I didn't want to overtax my snowshoe muscles.  I'm headed to Mohican tomorrow for some more excellent winter adventure.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Making Tracks

Yesterday after work I shovelled half a foot of snow off the driveway and walk. After a break for a cup of coffee and something to eat I laced up my cross country ski boots for my first trip out this season.  When a big snow storm hits I like to just leave right from my back door and take advantage of the fresh clean snow.
I ski a two mile loop that at one point takes me completely away from the city lights and into the quiet countryside on the edge of town.  I make my way around an up ground reservoir skiing along the top or staying around the bottom if it is very windy and cold.  At the front corner of the reservoir the bank is nicely sloped for sledding and is a popular gathering spot where neighborhood kids enjoy the timeless thrill of slipping down a icy hill.
As I continue my loop I cross a set of railroad tracks and make my way back into town now skiing over snow covered sidewalks lining quiet residential streets.  A good snowfall really changes the appearance of even the most familiar surroundings and going out after dark makes for a bit of adventure close to home without having to use the car to get someplace.  
As crazy as I am about riding my bikes I welcome the winter and the opportunity to get out and recreate in different ways.  The image of a cross country skier gracefully gliding along a groomed path may be what most people picture when they think of cross county but that's pretty far from the truth concerning my little outings.  I'm usually blazing trails through fresh snow in the woods getting my ski tips tangled up in downed branches; losing my balance and falling down.  It's a full body workout and I usually always end up sweaty and tired but fully satisfied.  
Winters around my circle of latitude just above 40 degrees are usually fairly mild but occasionally temperatures can really dip or we receive a big load of snowfall.  It rarely gets colder than the teens F. and most of the time the mercury hovers around the freezing mark.  This makes it ideal for most outdoor recreation and matching up clothing to the activity is not too hard.  I've found that by getting outside and doing something to generate some body heat can add some great cross training opportunities and fun as well as improving my mood during the shortened days of winter.  Most people I know mumble and complain about the cold. Not me. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Winter Ride

Steady as she Goes
I got out a couple days ago for a recumbent ride.  It was cold but it was one of those rare winter days with almost no wind whatsoever so I had to get out.  A little snow was still on the ground from the previous week but for the most part the roads were clear.  Only in a couple spots did I find icy patches on the pavement where the road was shielded from the sun.

Riding on ice on a upright bike is tricky enough but it really quickens the pulse on a short wheelbase recumbent.  I think because I can't see my front wheel it's hard to tell exactly whats going on.  I stay calm and don't make any sudden moves and I've never had a problem on ice.  
I've noticed that bike bloggers in the northern hemisphere like to talk about their gloves.  Since I'm involved with a few different winter sports I've accumulated a small collection of gloves so I'll add to the chorus.  I took two pairs of gloves along on this ride.  My standard procedure on winter rides is to start off with a warmer glove like The North Face Hyvents that I borrow from my downhill skiing kit.  
Within twenty minutes my hands are sweating so I'll swap out the Hyvents with lightweight Odyssey full finger cycling gloves.  Once I'm fully warmed up on the bike the light gloves keep my hands comfortably toasty.  I have a pair of Pearl Izumi lobster claws which are also incredibly warm but I usually only use them for my commute on really cold days.  The trip to work is so short I don't have a chance to overheat my paws so the lobster mitts work great. 
I know I've mentioned it before but this time of year I love to talk about the underseat steering on my HP Velotechnik and one of the unintended consequences I discovered on my first few cold weather rides.  As you can see in the photograph below my hands rest comfortably on the bars at my sides with just a slight bend at the elbow.  This position allows an unimpeded flow of blood to my extremities and that's the key to staying warm.   On the upright bike a rider has all the extra pressure on the arms, wrists and hands from being hunched over which does nothing to help circulation and in turn warmth.
On my feet I wear a pair of wool socks over cotton and for the most part my feet stay warm.  We are now in the midst of a blizzard that has just moved into the Ohio Valley so hopefully my next post will be about cross country skis or maybe even snow shoeing.
Road Loop
Ride Time:  1:05
Distance:  14.29 Miles
Average Speed:  13 mph
Max Speed:  23 mph

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I hope the guy in the red suit brings you some cool bike stuff!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Wood Lathe -- Bowl Turning

So far in my wood lathe posts I have only described spindle turning. I do enjoy turning intricate shapes and designs into a long piece of wood chucked up between the spur drive and live center but that's not all that can be done with a wood lathe.  Here is a fine recessed rim bowl I turned from a solid slab of Mahogany.

To turn bowls requires a method called faceplate turning.  The stock can't be simply chucked up between two points like a spindle because one surface must be clear to allow access for the hollowing cuts.  In order to turn a bowl I use a device called a faceplate that supports the work piece fully from one side.  The face plate is attached to the wood blank by short wood screws and then the whole assembly is fixed to the threaded shaft of the headstock.

Here is the bowl and faceplate in position on the headstock.  I first prepare the workpiece by cutting it into a rough circle shape using a band saw.  Then I turn it round with gouges as if it were a giant spindle.  The majority of the hollowing out of the cavity is also done with regular gouges.  Simple salad bowl type turnings can be finished up completely with gouges and scrapers but the decorative recessed rim that I like requires a special tool to finish called a bowl scraper.
Because a standard gouge is shaped rather like a fingernail with the cutting edge out on the end the tool will only cut up to a certain point.  Eventually the angle of attack becomes too great and the side of the gouge will run into the top of the bowl rim.  The bowl scraper has a rounded button ground onto the end that greatly increases the radius of the tool's cutting edge allowing material to be removed from the underside of the rim.  This type of turning is the most challenging and is my favorite work on the lathe.  You can't see and are in essence cutting completely blind.  Feel for what's happening comes only with experience and feedback through the tool handle is all you have to go by. 

This piece is not finished yet. I have rubbed on a couple coats of tung oil but I still want to do some more sanding and additional coats of oil.  Once I'm satisfied I'll remove the bowl from the faceplate and fill the screw holes with a mixture of finely ground mahogany dust and wood glue.  When dried I'll use a palm sander and various grits of paper to make the bottom perfectly smooth and flat and then finish that surface with more oil.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I'm Reading

Over the weekend my family and I went to the theatre and saw the new Peter Jackson film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  I have still not seen all of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy films from a few years ago but I am a fan of Jackson's rendition of the epic Tolkien tale of good versus evil.  We all agreed the big screen would be the best way to watch the original story of how Bilbo the hobbit first found the magic ring and we were not let down.  It was a fun family night out and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
It has long been my opinion that movies made from books are never as good as the books themselves and this is no exception. I will say however that Peter Jackson has done an excellent job capturing the spirit of the story and adapting it to film. I first became a Tolkien fan 29 years ago while in the eighth grade when a classmate lent me a ragged paper back copy of The Hobbit.  I can still remember being instantly drawn into the story and reading well past my bed time on school nights simply unable to put the book down.  Over summer break before my freshman year of high school I devoured the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Then as now I am blown away by the breadth and scope of the this story and what a masterful storyteller JRR Tolkien was.
My favorite part of the movie was the scene in the bowels of the mountain where Bilbo first encounters Smeagol and finds the magic ring.  I like to describe a good book as a movie that plays out in my mind where I lose track of time and forget that I am even reading words from a page.  Incredibly this part of the movie is exactly as I have pictured it in my mind's eye all these years. Andy Serkis who plays the loathsome Smeagol/Gollem character does a great job, I think the best performance in the film. 
I read the whole series a second time during my Air Force years by checking the books out from the library or borrowing from friends.  After seeing the film I downloaded the 75th Anniversary Edition to my Kindle Fire and once I'm through with The Hobbit I'll get the Trilogy and continue on enjoying  the story once again as it has been quite a few years.  I'm into the first chapters now and the Kindle E-book format works great making the story really leap from the page or screen I should say.
There is one last interesting thing I learned from reading a section called "Note On The Text" in the Kindle version about the book that was originally published in 1937.  In the second edition printed in 1951 Tolkien made revisions to parts of Chapter V "Riddles in the Dark" to bring the story more in line with The Lord of the Rings that he was working on at the time.  For the fourth edition in 1995 technology made it possible that the work could be entered into word-processing files and line by line comparisons with earlier versions allowed additional corrections to be made presenting a text most closely resembling Tolkien's intended form. 
My recommendation is go see the movie even if you are an old fan like me or better yet pick up a copy of the book if you've never read it. It's money well spent.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Local Loop --12 Miles

Shortly after I enjoyed the first ride on my new mountain bike it started raining and rained on and off for days until the ground was completely saturated.  On Sunday the skies were cloudy and appeared to threaten rain at any time but it was warm enough to ride in shorts and a long sleeve shirt. 

I really wanted to ride my new bike but a road ride is what it would have to be so I pumped up the knobby tires to 60 psi. I brought along my multi-tool and used the opportunity to make various fine tunings to the angle of my brake levers and shifterpods.  On the first ride I dialed in the seat position up, down, fore and aft and I am now satisfied with the bike's setup for the most part.  The only part I'm not crazy about are the handle grips.  The standard grips are the same diameter all the way to the ends and have no flare on the outside.  I think I will change them out with a spare pair of lock-ons I have in my spare parts.  The ODI lock-ons have flared end caps and I like the way they center my hands on the grips.

Because the Motobecane has no computer on it I felt no compulsion to ride for time so I was just out for a fun ride.  This type of riding allows me to do one of my favorite things and that is to stop and check out different places and things I see along the route.

Many times I have passed a small cemetery that lies a stones throw off the road nestled between a brushy creek bottom and a farmer's pasture.  With nothing better to do I rode up to the gate and parked my bike.  From the road I could see that some of the monuments were weathered marble that was used in the old days but I had never took the time to visit for a closer look.  Most of the two dozen or so markers in the graveyard belonged to members of a large and familiar family of my hometown.  Most of these folks were laid to rest in the mid to late 1900's.
In the back were some much older tombstones.  In the background of the picture above are two four-sided marble monuments.  These belong to a family named the Shumakers who lived in the 1800's and were early settlers in the part of Ohio I call home.  I find it incredibly fascinating to read these names and dates and wonder what life must have been like for these early Americans.

Much more poignant was the smaller stone to the left that is engraved "Children of John Shumaker"  The Shumaker's had two daughters and while the script is weather worn on the two side the names and ages are still readable. 

Sarah  Aged 2 years

Martha  Aged 13 years
I have no idea what happened but it appears the family all passed away within a couple years of one another. Sad. Especially the children.

Here lies an American Civil War Veteran

What a peaceful image this one is.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Vintage Bicycle Art

I saw this antique metal sign at the Mid-Ohio Insulator Show last month.  The collector that offered this one up for sale explained that back in the landline telegraph era dispatch riders used bicycles to deliver telegrams.  100 years ago just like today bikes were a great way to get around town.
I would have loved to have this cool old sign to hang in my bicycle garage but as one of only four or five examples known to exist the seller was asking $600 for the sign.  I guess I'll just enjoy my digital photograph.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

News from Amateur Radio W8MDE

After recently taking possession of the fine ZN-HK straight key serial no. 002 I have been looking forward to this month's Straight Key Century Club Week End Sprint.  It's been a while since I got a new key and putting one on the air for the first time during the club sprint is always a cool experience.
Unfortunately I was feeling s bit under the weather for the kick-off of the sprint last night but that's not a problem because the sprint is a 24 hour event and that leaves plenty of time to agitate some electrons and say hello to some Friends around the continent via Morse Code.
I've written a bit about radiotelegraphy, contesting and antennas and stuff on my blog so if you're new to my little pigeon hole of the web and want to learn more you can follow my amateur radio activity by clicking the "Amateur Radio" label at the bottom of the post.
After a good nights rest I was feeling better and headed down to my basement ham shack with a hot cup o' joe.
December 2012 Week End Sprint
7.054  KD2JC  New Jersey
7.055  K2DEP  Maryland
7.057  W4CUX  Georgia
14.054  W7GVE  Arizona 
14.049  AA5VE  Texas
7.051  W9DLN  Wisconsin
7.049  VE3FUJ  Ontario, Canada
7.052  K1LEE  Connecticut
7.115  KX1NH  New Hampshire
7.112  N0CVW  Kansas
7.058  W9HLY  Indiana
7.052  WB0PYF  Missouri
7.049  KE5PRL  Mississippi
3.554  WA1OTZ  Connecticut
As I make contacts I jot down the information on a legal pad.  From left to right: Time, Watts, Frequency, Call sign worked, Signal report received, Signal report sent, State/Province, Name, SKCC #. 
I am a casual contester. I like my radio contesting like I like my cycling; Laid back and never in a big hurry.  Serious contesters will log hundreds even thousands of contacts during a contest but I just take my time, have fun and work  a few stations at my own pace.
Speaking of cycling I can only sit a radio desk for a few hours a time before I go nuts and have to bust loose.  It's been raining on and off for the past three days so any kind of mountain bike riding in the dirt is pretty much out of the question so I took off this afternoon on my other dual-suspension bike for a recumbent ride on the road.
The weather was less than perfect; cold temperatures in the low 40's, windy with occasional light rain showers. Great weather if you're a duck but not completely terrible for a cyclist.  Recently I picked up a new pair of insulated tights from Performance and they are super for cool weather riding here in Ohio.  New cycling duds for me is a big deal as I will use stuff for years until it literally falls apart.  Lucky for me black Spandex never goes out of style!
Candlewood Lake Loop
Bike:  HP Velotechnik
Ride Time:  1:49:51
Distance:  25.04 miles
Average Speed:  13.6 mph
Max Speed:  32.3 mph

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Trail Test -- Mohican State Park

In my mad rush to get to the trail Wednesday morning I got half a mile down the road before I realized I forgot my jacket and had to backtrack home to grab it.  My second attempt got me to the end of the block and I noticed I didn't have my camera.  By this time I'm feeling like Chevy Chase stuck on the roundabout in European Vacation.
Eventually I did make it to the trail head only to discover that the memory for the camera was still at home stuck in the computer.  I had my cell phone and its camera works fine in a pinch so I was able to document the ride.  Having been through the drill so many times I normally never forget my essential gear but with a new bike hanging on the rack my mind was in that dazed state of giddy anticipation much like just before a first date.
I chose Mohican State Park for the first ride of the Motobecane Fantom DS.  It only makes sense to find the trail with the biggest ups and downs and rootiest and rocky sections to try out a new trail bike.  Keep in mind that I've been riding the same hartail mountain bike for the past 15 years and have no experience with dual suspension designs so this post is just a summary of thoughts on the initial ride.
Observation #1
This thing is a blast. I should have gotten on the dual suspension bandwagon 10 years ago.

After a couple hours on a hardtail tree roots perpendicular to the trail get to be downright punishing and there is no option but to stand so that the legs can absorb the constant jarring.  It was funny because I would see these trail surface irregularities coming and brace for impact but I quickly found out I could just stay in the saddle while the suspension greatly diminished the rapid fire hits.
The suspension was equally effective in the rocky sections.  Again with years of hardtail experience I consider myself pretty good at picking a line and staying with it but on the Moto if I didn't manage to cleanly finesse my way around a rock the bike easily absorbed the impact with out the rear end bucking around with that out of control feeling exhibited by a hardtail.
The head tube angle on the Moto is perfect and sets up well with the Recon shock.  The fork travels freely with no forward or aft deflection at all while rolling through obstacles.  I've ridden frame - fork combinations in the past that just didn't feel right in extreme situations like gully crossing where the front end of the bike has to suddenly cope with abrupt and violent change in direction.

Following is a particularly steep, loose and rocky climb that I spun right up with little difficulty.  As I suspected the 10-speed cog in the back with 32-34-36 low gears makes climbing ridiculously easy after coming off 8 years of 32-20 single speed riding.  It's been a long time since I rode with a 22 tooth granny gear and I have to admit I was enjoying it.  No more stand and grind just drop it down stay in the seat and casually spin up the hills.  Surprisingly even with a longer travel fork the front end seemed to stay down when applying torque with little tendency to wheelie while climbing the steep stuff.
Initially I was worried about climbing with a heavier bike.  Using the digital bathroom scale I did a little weight comparison between my two mountain bikes.  The Moto checked in at 29.4 pounds while the Yeti single speed measured 23.2 with the difference between them being 6.2 pounds.  Honestly I could not tell a difference when climbing I think because of the much lower gear ratios offered by the ten-speed cassette. 
I think the Fantom DS is considered a "trail bike" and it fits that description well. To me it seems to pedal just fine uphill and when I let loose on the downhill sections I've never felt safer and more in control.  An experienced rider can do steep rough downhill on a hardtail but I am amazed at how this bike seems to work even better when velocity increases. Lessons learned I suppose and this old dog can still learn a few new tricks.  
The Bike came equipped with Panaracer Fire XC Pro 2.1" knobby tires that look very much like old school square lug dirtbike tires.  They hooked up well in all conditions and I don't remember the back wheel losing traction and spinning out all.  In my opinion Bikes Direct did an outstanding job specing out the parts list on this bike.

I love Mohican country and even though much of Ohio is pancake flat at least here I can ride my mountain bike in terrain that somewhat resembles mountainous.  This is an interesting little segment where the trail forks into two with one side of the Y skirting the edge of a 100ft cliff.  It's a bit of a thrill especially while making the little log hop seen in the upper left corner of the picture.

We received a good deal of rain Tuesday during the afternoon and into the night.  I wasn't too concerned with it because Mohican is fairly rocky and drains well.  Still there are bowls and drainages that hold the moisture so I picked up a little mud along the way. 
I like the way the rear suspension is laid out on this bike with the shock positioned inside main triangle somewhat protected from wheel spray.

In all I spent between 3 and 4 hours on the bike and had a most fun and satisfying day on the trail.  And like that proverbial first date where the sparks fly I'll be counting down the days until we can be together again!