Monday, September 14, 2009

Catching up, playing hard

Seems like it's been a while since I've blogged and I guess it has. I can't seem to keep up with writing about all the awesome end of summer riding that we've been doing. So this is going up with no pictures, links or anything useful. Briefly:

Terroring the Teaberry - last weekend - pre-ride of Michaux Terror of Teaberry course. This was a blast for me. The group was huge (think 50?!), split quickly and I eventually got dropped back to where I needed to be for the first ~12 miles. Great tight single track, rocky fireroad descents, reasonable climbs. Very fun. We regrouped in the parking area and went out with a smaller group to ride the next 12 or so miles. This time, it was mostly LSV guys led by Kent and Jes from Gettysburg Bikes. Last year, my first ride with LSV guys was about this time and I got dropped so far off the back that Bernie came back looking for me. This time, I got dropped, but never more than by a minute or two. Thankfully and unfortunately, a few of the guys flatted, so I even got a couple of chances to breathe. Fun. Quite a bit of hike-a-biking on the ridge trail, but fun. Afterwards, we bonded all campfire like over beers and zucchini muffins. I'll look forward to racing the 25 miler next year. For now, the last race of my mountain biking season is next weekend on the first 12 miles.

Singlespeeding it (intentionally) - when I got the Superfly, I planned to convert my Cannondale 26er with a headshock to a singlespeed for training (especially when riding with newbies) and mucky days. Last week we finally got it put together (Surly singleator, geared at 32x18) and took it out Monday night to our local haunt. Shea wanted to test ride my Superfly properly anyway... beautiful Loch Raven ride and I really think my Cannondale and Superfly handle pretty similarly, so I wasn't totally screwed by having smaller wheels. Except the part where I went to jump a curb on my way out of the parking area and had the timing a bit off for my rear wheel. Luckily, I was running pretty high pressure, so twas embarrassing but at least we didn't have to change a flat.

Crossing the red line - last week we dropped over to cross practice at Druid hill. Where the grass is tall and the acorns are aplenty. I properly crashed on a remount in front of Kris, who was leading practice. Mounting onto back wheel = bad. No double hop before doing so = progress. Hot laps were tough on me. The run-up was sapping all my limited strength and speed - I really need to start doing some consistent running or at least a few running hill intervals. The guys set it up so that the downhill off of the run-up/barriers had a nice wheel-sized hole in it. I nearly lost my late lunch a few times. We rode until it was nearly very dark - good workout, but I have a feeling that first cross race is going to kick my butt in a mere 13 days...

In lieu of an enduro race - I seriously considered heading down to Poor Farm to race a 5 hour lap race yesterday. But decided not to when some smart teammate pointed out that, in fact, I'll be racing almost every weekend between now and ski season. Instead, I assembled a small group of 6 crazy souls and headed out to Frederick for some rockin' and a rollin'. After about 8 miles on rocky, rolling doubletrack, we looped back toward the car and found some singletrack so sweet that several times it was noted, "I don't care how we have to get outta here, this is awesome". I rode some features I didn't think I had in me - and dabbed on a bunch more. Big ramped logs, big rocks, little logs, rock gardens galore. I did manage a header over a small log and a near face into stick/ditch event. Sense of direction was good, and we were generally heading toward the car, but after finally finding the road, talking to a stoned driver who said, yeah, 'that's a gravel road', we started a seemingly interminable climb on said gravel road. Mike, who was riding away on his Singlespeed Niner, claimed "it's a good way to spin out the legs"... I was thinking I was just throwing a bunch of lactic acid into them. And in fact, I was - I'm sore today despite some of the Luna recovery stuff, watermelon, and beer. So, I didn't do an enduro race of 5 hours on smooth trails - instead I rode 5 hours with friends on a gorgeous day, getting lost in the rock gardens. It was a near-epic ride and fabulous revitalization... gotta love it when I get to use the fitness I've got to enjoy the stuff I didn't think I could even ride let alone dig.

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