This was a group ride that started as a brainstorm of a couple of guys that I ride with on Wednesday. They initially posted it as an informal gathering, but as interest grew, the ride grew. Word is that over 150 people total showed up for the ride. The route took us through Oakland County from Rochester up to Lake Orion/Lakeville, with options to ride the trails at Bloomer Park, Stony Creek, Bald Mountain, and Addison Oaks.
I met up with my teammates Curt, John, Mike, and Jay at the start point, the Rochester Mills Brewery. We, and a few others including another singlespeeder named Tim, set off at about 9am. As things were still damp from the day before, we elected to skip Bloomer and headed straight to Stony. This made for a nice warmup on the roads, and we hit first singletrack about 3 miles in. Stony was tacky, with some leaf cover. My Q was handling excellently, as I chased Tim through the singletrack.
We regrouped at the end of Stony's fine singletrack, ducked out the fence, and took Sheldon Road to Gunn Road to the Paint Creek Trail. The Paint Creek Trail (a rail-trail) took us towards Lake Orion, where a short singletrack connector took us out to Stony Creek Road. Here Curt and I believe Mike got seperated from the rest of us, and we headed to the main Bald Mountain trailhead at Harmon Road. We rode the entire loop of Bald Mountain North (we would later find out that Curt and Mike rode the "top" half). Bald Mountain was fun, albiet a bit greasy in parts. Just after we crossed over Harmon Road, we came to a bridge, at the bottom of a short downhill. This bridge, and basically all other wood encountered on the ride, was wet from Saturday's rain. It was here where John got a quick "reminder" that wet wood was slippery! I was right behind him, and luckily was able to stop in time to avoid him. He was ok, however he broke a rail on his saddle. He did finish the ride, although it was a bit more painful than he would've liked.
Curt and Mike were waiting at Addison when we rolled in. Regrouped, we headed out for a loop of Addison's singletrack. This trail is fast with a very good flow. Paul the trail coordinator has done an excellent job with this trail: challenging when taken at speed, and with not a lot of gratuitous things to rob you of your speed.
After Addison, discussions occurred, and Mike and Tim left while Curt, John, Jay and I decided to do a "4 Corners" loop. This is a 4 mile loop that takes you up Lake George, west on Drahner Road, south on Barr Road, and east on Indian Lake. Oh, and there is a fair bit of climbing on this section (see the segment from about mile 30 to mile 35 on the below elevation plot).
We finished up the "4 Corners", rode down Lake George, did the segment of Bald Mountain from Lake George to Harmon Road. A few miles of roads took us back to the Paint Creek Trail, which we rode back into Rochester. After 52.79 miles (by my computer), and 4 hours 10 minutes of riding time, we loaded up our bikes, changed clothes, and relaxed at the brewery with some food and a couple pints.
Curt's GPS plot of the route. He lost the data prior to Stony Creek, and took a slightly different route from me by Bald Mountain (near where the blue lines form an "X" at the top, to the right of the cluster of lakes)