Just 99 miles to go

Monday, August 17, 2009

I can ride rocks!

I wasn't real happy with my technical performance at last weekends sm100 preview ride.
Eric gave me a chance this weekend to hone my rock riding skills.
He called for a "shed" training ride. "Shed" is short for the Frederick Watershed.
I'd only heard that the shed is next to Gambrills, and I'd heard that its more technical.
I'd been to Gambrills only once before, I remembered that it had sections that scared me before.
I was hoping that since my visit 2 years ago, my skills had developed enough for me to survive.

I rode up with Randy since he'd been out there only a few weeks prior.
We met up Eric B, Larry, another Eric and another guy.
Sorry other guy. Can't remember your name.
The rocks started off right away.
I got positioned mid pack. Right behind the guys who knew the trail, and seemed to be in the best shape.
I flipped the pro-pedal off on my rear shock and it immediatley felt like I had a flat tire. I had to keep reminding myself I was on a FS.

I got a taste of what the bike could do early on.
I'm following the "fast" guys and we come up to a boulder/rock garden. You can go left or right. They go left and I follow. Half way up the boulder I suddenly think "These guys are good and they know this trail. Do I take the easier ride arounds at the Rose? No I take the harder route, which probably is what these guys are doing."
I start to brace myself for what I'm going to find after I peak the top of this boulder.
It was a good 3-4' dropoff.
I get back behind the saddle and let the bike roll. I get over with no problem.
We stop, re-group and look at what we just did. There no way I would have tried it if I had looked at it before hand.

Somewhere along in the first hour, Eric B wrecks. No worries he's fine.
Randy snags his hand on a tree and has screwed up his finger some. We make it to the road and he decides he'd better bail. He's having a tough time holding the bars. Larry tells us the next section should take bout an hour so Randy tells me to go ahead, he doesn't mind waiting for me at the car.
Its a good thing he bailed. The next section of trail was worse than the 1st.
We did this one steep ass rocky decsent (on the blue for all you regulars). I flew down it with the fast guys pretty good. If you can't tell, thats how I was juding how well I was doing.
We passed alot of hikers going up who got to the side so we could pass. I did my best to yell out a thank you to all of them. I didn't wanna come off as a mt.dew sucking, rude mt. biker.
It looked like some of them were just impressed that we could ride that on bikes. I hope we didn't piss anybody off.

I won't go into too much detail on which trails we did, cause I really don't remember but when we finally go to the real bottom, we had a bitch of climb outta there. Quite a bit of hiking, but not enough were I didn't wanna go back.

2 hours after we left Randy, we meet back up with him at the cars.
Eric B was going to do a little more FR and Randy said he'd wait for me. He'd been waiting long enough and to be honest, the sun was high in sky with the temps in 90's. I really didn't wanna ride gravel in the hot sun.

We only ended up with 15 miles. I'm not real happy with the mileage, but the ride helped me get comfortable with the bike on technical stuff. It didn't try to throw me over the bars once. Was another 10 miles of gravel really going to help?
I lost alot of time on last years race after i started getting tired and riding the brakes on the rocky decents. With this ride as training, I should be able to blast the decents this year.

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