Sunday, January 11, 2009

How long till summertime?

Yay for me! I have TWO dirty bikes sitting in the garage that I have to clean! It can stop being rainy and/or cold anytime now...

Despite the rain and cold, I still managed two good rides this weekend. Saturday was the Cartecay Bikes Chilly Dawg ride. The weather report was threatening rain, BUT it was supposed to be 60 degrees... Of course it never got there, and instead stayed around 47 all day. Looking at the ride description, I thought it would be an easy SS ride, but there were some extra added ATV trails and some paved and fireroad climbs that just hurt in my 17. I was relieved when we hit Fish Hatchery road and started climbing towards Winding Stair Gap/Springer. The long but moderate climb was way more pleasant than the straight up ATV trail variety, and I found a good rhythm. The best part of the ride (note sarcasm) was a downpour on the final fireroad descent coming down from Springer of those can't-see-with-or-without-glasses kind of descents. And it gets better...after being completely saturated from the rain, then it was a mostly downhill 4 miles of pavement back to the cars. Can you say BRRRR! At least there was hot chili waiting for us. Thanks to the folks at Cartecay for organizing the ride.

On Sunday, Chris, Julia and I headed up to the same area for Chris's 31st Birthday ride. Julia and I started at the Jake Mtn parking lot and rode to Cooper Gap while Chris drove up. The weather up at the top was less than desirable, with fog, 30 mph winds and frosty trees. From Cooper we did about a two hour loop of ATV trails, singletrack, and fireroads. It was nice to get some more time in on the S-works and see how it handled the descents. It felt good even on the steeps, and ate up any rocks and logs that happened to be buried in the wet leaves. One section that I had remembered being particularly nasty during the fall (and on a hardtail) seemed a lot easier today and way less intimidating. Maybe because it was mostly covered up with leaves and I couldn't see what I was about to hit??? Don't know, but I liked my position on the bike - not top heavy, even with my bulky pack on. I also noticed that despite the fact that I'm lugging gears around, I still try not to use them on the climbs, as standing and mashing has become quite comfortable and I especially like that it gets me to the top faster. I do need to re-train myself to actually pedal on the descents as I have gotten used to coasting, which left me doing a double take as Chris and Julia would whiz by in their big rings. By the time we were near the end of the ride, the temperature dropped about ten degrees, and we were all anxious to get back to the car and warm up. Unfortunately the wind back at Cooper Gap made it a very inhospitable place to have to change clothes, so we were out of there and on our way to the Moe's within minutes.

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