What an awesome day! Easily my best day yet on the mountain bike -- conditions were good, the ride is DIALED (thanks John!), and the company was challenging ...
Met up with Jeremy (aka Mountaingoat) up at Kettle, bright and early. Just as I was getting ready, Bob Shrank rolled in. Jeremy said we'd do a short loop and come back for him ... I was expecting the easy red trail, but NO -- he drags my a$$ all the way around the white trail and back to the parking lot in not much more time than it used to take me to do the red ...
That sort of set the tone for the rest of the day. Jeremy led the way, I followed as closely as I could, and Bob was behind me. Jeremy took it easy after several days off the bike -- easy enough that through some of the tough stuff, I was able to follow closely and watch how he picked his lines. He was rolling Mr. Bigg, a cool-looking 29er single-speed that had to be tough out on the Emma Carlin hills ... (which, thanks to the lockout John installed, I CLEANED! I only walked the very end of the first one ... so stoked!)
He dropped me a couple of times, mainly because I wasn't paying attention for one reason or another. (He could have dropped me many more, I'm sure!) It was during one of these times, as he rolled away on the Emma Carlin section, after I had been following him for more than an hour, that I found myself picking lines and asking "What Would Jeremy Do?" It may not have been much for him, but I was riding above and beyond any of my previous adventures -- SUHWEEET!
Eventually we picked up a passenger, Dave from Michigan by way of Elgin. He was kind, and stayed behind me through the rest of the ride, allowing me to plow my way through on clean and not-so-clean lines. He was clearly holding back, but I appreciated the companionship ... at some point I flatted, just before the parking lot, no biggie ... Dave and I did an extra Muir loop to finish off, not nearly as fast as we were going the first time through -- trying to chase Jeremy back to the cars!
Even better -- NO CRASHING!!! I definitely saw a progression today, and I'm excited to take that to the races. I'm nowhere near the league of guys like Mountaingoat, but at least I don't think I'll be totally left in the dust when Don shouts GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
OK, I have a 3-year-old who wants to play with Uncle Chris. Need to go! Ride hard!