I rode to work on Friday with a few pushes to open up the legs for Saturday.
Saturday I Saved the Trails -- a fun 45-ish miles screaming through DuPont on behalf of Pisgah-Area SORBA. Not a "race" per se, but if it smells like a race, looks like a race and sounds like a race, what is it?
The Challenge was fun -- there were quite a few local hammers in the mix, though somehow I managed to get out ahead of them on the opening doubletrack and never looked back. The course was fantastic, even with an extra climb up to Airstrip (missed a turn, dropped back down to do the correct route), and a few minutes spent wayfinding at the Grassy Meadow and at the intersection of Buck Forest and Lake Imaging (unmarked intersections). Van put together a fantastic route, and I'm getting closer to having ridden every inch of trail in DuPont, with the exception of Rocky Ridge, and most of it in both directions. Turkey Knob "Road" was a pleasant surprise, and descending the rock gardens on JoAna and Grassy Creek was a lot more fun than climbing them ...
One word of advice if you're headed out there: Take a noisemaker. Folks I ride with might get annoyed by my little bear bell, but it saved my ass more than once on Saturday. Hikers hear you and get out of the way, fellow mountain bikers hear you and figure out the best way to share the trail, and -- most importantly -- equestrians hear you and don't freak out ... as much. This late in the season, on a Saturday early afternoon, there's a lot of built-up tension on the doubletrack out there, and those horse folks seem to be looking for any excuse to stick it to the mountain bikers. I've not quite figured out how "multiuse" translates to "my horse is skittish around anything resembling a bicycle and therefore you are scum of the earth and should not be on *my* trail, and who can I call to get you in trouble?" but that's the way it is. It's also why I hit those trails super-early, and make sure I've got plenty of ringing going on!
Anyway, Saturday was pretty much a solo TT, and I focused on having fun and drilling it as much as I could. The Siren Song was again *perfect* for those trails, though I didn't do my equipment any favor when I dropped into Grassy Creek and buried it BB-and-hub deep before jumping off and climbing out. I spent the rest of the race listening to my drivetrain collect sand and grit while simultaneously oxidizing under me ...
And I did have fun out there, cleaning stuff I'd not seen before and using it as a fun warmup for next weekend and the PSR. Thanks to PAS for the opportunity!
Sunday was much more laid back, with a late start that got pushed back even further, and a fun ride with friends to explore the top of SMR and the beginning of Squirrel Gap. I wasn't feeling 100% -- for some reason, my upper abdominals felt like someone had bounced up and down on them, making it hard to draw a deep breath and feeling like I was about to get a side stitch at any moment. Then I remembered -- someone *had* bounced up and down on them, when I was chilling with Kate that morning! D'oh!
We ended up running out of time, and instead of hitting all of Squirrel, we bailed at Horse Cove. So it was mostly a fire-road ride, but was fun nonetheless, and sitting in Mills River afterward was the perfect end to the weekend ... I darn near fell asleep in my dinner when I got home!
This morning closed out the block, again riding to work with some long efforts. Last night Kim and I were wondering if it would even happen, and how the heck I'm going to do it for five straight days coming up, but once I got rolling this morning things really came together and the legs were there. I'm sure my actual efforts weren't as strong as they might be were I fresh, but I didn't completely fail out there, and I felt good about the workout. Which is good ... SM100 will be darned near twice as long as DuPont was, and then PSR is only a week later! Yikes!
In the meantime, though, I've got a few days to rest, recover and rebuild; I get to go out to lunch on Wednesday with a customer (hmmm ... 12 Bones or Blue Sky?!); and this weekend will be a ton of fun hanging out in the Shenandoah Valley. We're slowly starting to pack for the house move, and thankfully I've got full access to good coffee ...