Friday, June 26, 2009

So Wednesday I answered a friends "Call to Ride" by accepting an invite to go camping @ Sherando Park w/the idea that on Thursday we'd be putting in up to 40 mls on the trails.

It sounded good, right?! I mean come on, the promise of camping, friends, fire, beer, and bikes. Everything started out well enough, perfect weather, finding a camp site, late night of beer and chit-chat, even an easy early morning rise to follow. (I'm not a morning person, so waking at 7am w/out issue was amazing! Do you know there is sunlight at 7am!?!)

So by nine we're at the meet up and we even picked up a few other Richmonder's. All on the same page, to have a fun easy ride and actually everyone stuck to it. Normally I'd be in heaven @ this pace, but no, my body still has to revolt.

Somewhere about mile 4 of the 6 ml commute to the trail head, we hit a trifecta of hill, low energy, and humidity and I went from having fun to a sky rocketing heart rate. I slowed up, and found my pace to regain control. By ml 6 life was getting better as I was settling in, just in time for the 8ml climb.

On the climb many little issues would end up leading to an exhausting ride. I've done this climb many, many times before, but never suffered like this. Loose rock, sand, & an experimental handlebar (meaning new style handlebar for me) made didn't help.
The handlebars not only altered my seating to a too upright seating position which made the front end "float", it also forced a new seating position on my seat which had me in pain by mile 7. So now with I was constantly fighting to keep the front end straight, my the sun was roasting my head, and it was just humid enough so that I couldn't cool down, a migraine was beginning to set in.

Lucky for me, the rest of the group was having some issues of their own (bike related) which allowed me to keep my tortuous pace and still keep up. Although by the end of the climb, they still had a good 5 minutes or so on me.

I just kept telling myself, downhill, downhill soon, downhill = smiles! The days plan would have us making a figure 8, where the top of climb 1 would have us in the middle of the 8 ( Mills Creek).

As luck would have it, I had no such luck by the time we hit Torrey Ridge/Slacks, etc. My head was pounding so badly, I was having double vision. So I would find myself bailing out of the 1st downhill midway @ Slacks Overlook. The gang continued down to the campgrounds and would ride back up where we'd join again.

While I was waiting I took conversation up with someone from Pitts, Pa and he offered up some Advil. Perfect!
However 3 hrs later & no gang. I was torn as to what to do, but I stuck with the plan and headed up the mountain back to the middle of the figure 8 for the last downhill that would lead back to the cars.

The Advil worked, my migraine had been severely diminished to a mild headache. By the time I I reached Mills Creek, I was almost smiling! I was feeling good, really good. But by myself and at least 7 miles from anyone and without any cell reception I took caution on the initial downhill that would be the next mile. You drop about 1500' in 1 mile of switchbacks on very loose shale. At times (Ok, most of the time) I think it would've been better to just go full-bore as the braking just caused sliding.

At the bottom of the switchbacks was another 6mls of trail that looses about 1200' of evaluation as you roll through stream crossings and forest. What an amazing end to the day. With a clear head and a cool breeze I was able to just big ring it and fly! ( Maybe that bird feather I found earlier in the day gave me the wings I was looking for all day.)

When I got back to the cars, 1 was gone, 1 person was there, & two others where still on the trail. Apparently 1 of the 4 to go to the camp grounds was too beat to climb, so they bailed for a road ride back. Of the 3 remaining to climb to the meet up spot, 1 would end up cramping bad enough to turn back and head back to the cars via the road. The last 2 would end up giving chase to catch up to me, but would end up coming back to the cars 10-15 minutes behind me.

By days end, I bagged 28 mls, B1 about 25mls, B2 28, B3 & 4, 32 mls.

We ended the day with dinner @ Devils Backbone Brewery which was just what the Dr. ordered. I was so tired that 1 beer was all I could handle, but I enjoyed every drop of it!