I turned on the dome light the other day and G started laughing. I turned it off, I turned it on, more laughter. I put my hand on the switch, and by now she had figured it out and was anticipating me turning it off. She’s figured out her own cause-and-effect, but this was probably the first time I noticed she figured out cause-and-effect for someone else.
The WOR training continues…
18.5 miles up, 4000 ft climbing and 3000 ft elevation change. It typically takes me about 4 hrs for the whole 37 miles. Yesterday we had hellacious rain, and there was a lot of moisture in the ground. I started about 45 min later than planned to let things dry out and warm up, but the trail still rode slow. I bought a new tire from Rage Cycles yesterday — wanted to get rid of that crap-ass Kenda Kinetics, and also see what another shop is all about. Adventure is getting harder and harder to get to, and while Bill is great I’m not sold on some of their other mechs still. Would not have made it on the slow tire, fer sure.
The ride was cool and pleasant the whole way through, at time it got downright chilly. There was a dusting of snow on the peaks near the top, rode through some vapor clouds — neat seeing the vapor hanging over the hills during sunrise. I’m going to miss the East Valley. Driving out to the trailhead, the views from the jeep road, the top…we may be in Mormon hell but it sure is pretty. Oddly enough, this is what I always say about Utah. The river is going to be what I miss most, it leads to so much diversity in the terrain and topography. Byron keeps saying T100 is just not close to Hawes — I’m hoping based on many other good reviews that he just doesnt know the cool stuff. Still its hard to think of a prettier area.
My time for the ride was almost 4:15, almost 30 min off my best time. And I was worked from the ride. Knowing that I was going slow made it harder to keep hammering through the climb. One muddy stretch — the rocky part at about 14 miles — took a lot out of me, and I had to push up the following mud expanse. Fortunately, the rest was just a bit moist in places.
A bunch of vehicles, I was out in front of most so I wasnt sucking exhaust following them. Seems like the road has a fair amount of powder on it from all the traffic.
Came upon a ~14 yeard old kid who crashed on his dirtbike and messed up his knee — his dad and brother felt he could ride off the hill on a quad while the bro rode his bike…the whole thing was weird, Dad seemed pretty cavalier about the knee and didnt want much help from me or 2 nurses who drove by right about when I did, like as long as there were no broken bones the kid was fine. the way the kid was moaning…there are a lot of things that can go wrong with a knee in a fall. I suggested they bracket the boy on the ride home and give him breaks if he started getting sloppy, but hardly anything else I could do 15 miles out on my mtb. Further up the road I saw all manner of donuts and stuff treaded into the road…not my place, but seems common sense to me that a boy with a powertoy is going to play with it and eventually fall? Its not like I’m trying to sound insensitive, and maybe its that I’m biased having never ridden a dirtbike, but man it seems dumb to give a dirtbike to a kid. This road also draws a lot of rookies and fools…who knows? The nurse were typical midwesterners I almost had to laugh when they were like “Aw geez I had some ibuprofen but its in my other car.” They seemed pretty content to let these guys on their way once it was obvious there was no immediate danger and Dad didnt want help. I had ibu and a vic, but I was also alone and didn’t think it was smart to give my security away, certainly not to stupid-Dad. Call me a dick…but its the little decisions that lead to the wilderness crisis, and I fell hard coming down on this road last time in September.
The climb was tough and took almost 2:45, the downhill 1:30 but I was cool and in control the whole time — always a good feeling. Back at the house I am feeling spent.
G is trying to walk on increasingly difficult things. I put her in the grass at the park but eventually she will make her way to gravel, the volley ball pit, or sometimes the desert. She’s pretty smart about seeing the openings in the shrubs around the park that get into the desert. She needs to learn how to walk on these surfaces eventually, so I try to let her go a little at a time. Usually the time when I decide she’s gone to far is when she’s fallen. We need to work on this as our benchmark is clearly flawed. But shit she’s an AZ baby she has to get experience with this, so there’s no point in trying to pretend it won’t happen.
I rode the Squealer on Saturday. This is an independent, fun race across National. I heard about it from some folks on MTBR and free time worked out perfectly. Pre-ride meeting was Friday night at a bar near REI, where I kicked in my $25 and got my “number.”
the paper plate came with access to art supplies. G came along in the backpack carrier, and she was great for the 45 min and Fat Tire I spent there. I had swung by Ray’s and Adventure to get some armor, just in case, and the carrier seemed to be just the thing to keep the baby friendly while I took care of things. 19 meant I was the 19th rider to start, at 6:19 am. Riders started every 1 minute at the end of the fire road at Somo. Starting here and not at the parking lot was a useful detail to have learned at the pre-ride. G and I cut out early since I had to be up around 4:45 and at Somo by 5:45.
got going in the AM with enough time to hit the “public” baffroom at Denny’s…which is still better than the blockhouse at Somo…tweak a breakpad, strap on my pads, and fix a near crisis where my MP3 player was frozen. I hammered up the first climb, but really didnt ride it so well. The mentality was more about moving forward than how good I could ride tech. Stuff I’d try, or try twice, I didnt just so I could keep moving. Once I got off, I’d just run through a seciton instead of getting back on to try the next obstacle. I did nail a few things I hadn’t hit in a while, since my last 4 National rides were all at night. That at least made me feel like less of a cheater before The King.
Made BV in 45 min, passing about 5 people along the way, and kept hammering towards Telegraph. There’s about a mile after BV that is pretty tame, and I tried to use the time to take mental stock. I felt good, was making good time, the pads were hot as ass but so far were serving me well. I wasn’t worried about crashing in the first half, but figured the aggressiveness and running up formations would lead to some bumps so protection would be a smart call. But gawd they were hot. The stretch to Telegraph is still pretty new to me, and I couldn’t shake memories of my horrible wipeout in ’04 on that trail, so I tried to focus on just being chill and not overthinking the trail. I know I’m solid, and I know its all rideable. I dabbed and walked a few things I could have made, wrote it off to 2 years since having been on the route and not having anyone to follow. I kept telling myself to be patient, let it come to me, the lines would be there…and mostly rode it all til Telegraph from thereon. So far, so good…1:15 down.
The last descent off National is loose and steep, with just enough drops to make it pretty hairy places. I endo’d once in a nasty spot, but the pads saved me hear. As I was going otb I thought to put out my forearm and it totally eased the fall. Along with the kneepads, there was no carnage! Its going to make me think about wearing them a lot more. But there were still ass-hot all day long.
Grinded out the XC finish and made it in about 2:32. I thought I’d be a little faster, cause its not like I’m slow, but wow these epic events really bring out some good riders. I lost a lot of time on the stuff past BV that I didnt know so well. This “race” was won in the downhills for sure, and those guys who were under 2hrs really handled their bikes well. In the last 1/3 of the race, the guys who passed me came and went so fast I never had the opportunity to follow their lines! Next year will be better if I ride this route some more.
Everyone collected and chilled for about another hour as all the riders came in. I found the smoking lounge which was surpisingly popular. Then it was about an 8 mile road ride to Spokes restaurant at Central & Dobbins. I felt good and just wanted to get some rhythm for a change, so got into the lead pack on the road which quickly dwindled to 4 of us. MTBrs are not roadies, they don’t do nuthin right. Met a few of the Missing Link guys and had good chatter. Funniest comment:
“Some roadies were asking me ‘Is this the paper plate race?'”
“Did you tell them yeah, but the entry fee is $200. They’d love it.”
“Yeah tell em roadies almost always podium in this event.”
Spokes is a neat place, a small restaurant that is all about being bike friendly. Really friendly, like 75 bikes piled up everywhere friendly. Had some beer, the hugest burrito ever, got to talk with some of the MTBR folks I’ve been message-boarding with, and the Awards ceremony. Good times, lots of fun. Ironic that I was drunk at 11am, but if you start your day at 4:30am and ride for 3 hrs, I don’t think that should be construed as a sign of alcoholism.
The 30 min ride back to the start was long, but I got to get to know a friend who wound up totally helping us with info on the Shea\51 area the very next week. Yet another reason this was a great day on the bike.
G has started noticing planes in the sky. She points up at them, then topples over cause she gets off balance. She sorta does this w. birds too, but finds them harder to spot and they don’t get her attention by making noise. Gonna have to try to get a photo.
Another beautiful morning to ride. 8 miles and 1500 feet up, with 1000 total elevation change, total of 16 miles & 2000 feet climbing. I love this trail, its sweet struggle over a rough jeep trail. Lots of work moving your bike around and staying balanced, constantly have to adjust to the next rock and they all move under you.
A video of the nasty descent. I got going sideways a couple times on this but managed to stay up.
I’ve totally fallen here before, Beckie took the worst face plant I’ve ever seen her take here.
I got in zone after this and felt really strong finishing the climb, it was sweet to have strength in the second half. Could have been the more social pace, but GnR’s “You Could Be Mine” followed by Audioslave’s “I Am the Highway” helped the motivation a lot.
View of Flatiron from the top.
the ride out, much faster, bombing through the loose rock to get up the next roller.
The trail changed since the last time and I think it was easier (if that can be said). Last time was in late summer after some rough storms and there were washes you almost couldnt ride across cause of deep sand and some big rock piles lining them, and I rode w Dustin Wardle who crushed me like a bug on his SS no less. Don’t friggin care, I felt great and had a lot of fun. I hammered through the descent and felt really good on all the babyheads. Still had to save myself a couple times, this trail can be pretty relentless. The last 3 miles out were fast and a great exuberant way to finish.
A little movie of our day at the park.