Sunday, June 15, 2008

Local Fun

It seems every weekend we're packing up the bikes to drive an hour and half to a trailhead. What a nice change of pace these past two days to find our fun and adventure not far from home. Even though we weren't wandering far for Saturday's ride, it still entailed a 5:30am wake up call. The Outspokin ride began at 7:00a.m. which meant getting up at 0:dark hundred. You would think after 20 years of this, I would be used to it. I'm getting a little better at it. Raja didn't have to pry me out of bed with a crow bar. I did it on my own (that's a huge accomplishment).

The warmup ride was an easy 15 miles. If there is one thing I've learned over the decades, it is that there is no such thing as an easy ride! We started out with a good mix of riders, i.e., males and females. What a nice change of pace to see other "girls" on two wheels. It was not a shredder pace, but it was still enough to make me wish I was a coffee drinker. Things settled down after a few miles as did my huffing and puffing.

The Clogger had made the early wake up call to join in the fun. He's not a road rider at all. So far things were going swimmingly for him.

Smack talking "TrashBag" rlaz showed up as well. He was the one responsible for getting us out here to ride. I had no idea what to expect. Everything was new; the riders and the route. With the exception of the Freemanville Rd climb, I was in strange territory. rlaz was looking out for me, as he gave me a heads up on upcoming climbs, descents, etc. Appreciated that inside info. Usually I'm the one handing out the 411. It makes a difference when you have no idea what's about to be thrown at you.

The 7am route was beautiful, and once I settled in I began to enjoy the scenery. We passed by the morning farmer's market, horses grazing, and fresh gardens bursting with vegetables. 15 miles went by quickly, and we were back at the start to pick up the 8:00 a.m. 33 milers.

Imagine my surprise when I saw Al waiting in the parking lot! Scubacruz was there as well. This was turning out to be a morning worth getting up for; all my best mtn bike buds along on a new beautiful road ride. Also among the crowd were tons of faces I did not know. Scary fast, lean looking racer bodies. Oh dear. A route of which I am unfamiliar with skinny little shavers I do not know. That's okay. I used to do this a long time ago. Time to put on my racing face and play the game.

Being the only female in a pack of strong looking riders, I know not to play my cards too soon. First, you have to size things up. Observe everybody on the first few climbs. See how things are going to shake out. Hmmmm. So far, there were 4 riders I could tell would be trouble, of which I knew one; rlaz. Things went along smoothly without too much blood, guts, and tears shed. At one point, I closed a gap to get on rlaz's wheel only to look back later and see nothing but open road.

Uh oh. It's not a good feeling to be off the front with only 4 fast guys. I sucked it up and decided to give it my best. It felt good to have shaken off the cobwebs and be giving it the ole college try. Maybe I haven't lost everything.

I liked these guys. Mr. Cervelo was young and looked really fast. I had observed him earlier and noticed he was the fastest. He rode with a maturity that only a seasoned racer possesses. He would watch, wait, and pick his moves. Not the usual young impatient always on the attack riders. You know a guy's strong when he picks his moves wisely. He had been playing with us, and I had been watching.

Mr. Green Jersey was an extremely good climber. There was no way I could take him on a hill, but I could at least keep his draft. Mr. Yellow Jersey was an explosive climber. I might could take him once he wore down. As for rlaz, he's a nut and I wasn't worried about him.

The climb we had all been dreading was Freemanville. We used to do a ride, "Hell of the North" a loooooong time ago which included this climb. Back then, the road was in a sad state of decay and resembled a climb in a European classic race. It was legendary. The road had been repaved and improved. I was scared to death.

Cervelo and Green Jersey Pete bolted off. My heart was already thumping through my chest, and I tried to remain calm and find a rhythm, a fast one. After a while, I could see that the 2 guys were no longer making time on me, but it was too late to close the gap down. They would take the KOM, but I saved face. rlaz was in my draft but couldn't pass me, and we had long since gapped Yellow Jersey. That hurt, good.

The champions were in sight after we crested the top. How cool, they were letting up the pace. We all regrouped and began to pedal together. I enjoyed just chatting with them and introducing ourselves. My usual group of roadies love to rip your legs to pieces and chat AFTER the ride. I have grown weary of that type of riding. A good hard workout is fun, but should not be dreaded. So far, I was not dreading the rest of my ride.

Turns out Mr. Green Jersey is practically a neighbor and knows my sister and family. It is small small world in which we live! I was impressed with his strength, and yet he was very personable and not at all full of his self. Neither was Cervelo. Believe me, it is rare that I meet fast guys on a road ride that are pleasant and not bent and determined to prove their dominance on the bike.

It was a great morning on the bike with old buds on new roads and a chance to make new riding friends. This is a rare sight; my Sorba mtn bike posse on skinnies! The Clogger, Al, and Scubacruz! Great riding with you!

While we were riding the road, countless volunteers were working again at Blankets Trail. The good news is that they completed the necessary changes, and the Van Michael Trail was opened!!!!! Raja was the most excited, because he was anxious to get back out there and put his Ellsworth to the test. He loves that trail.

We were not the only ones biting at the bit to get back on that particular tract of dirt. RSutton was there on a suhweet Mojo and other wicked stuff!

Robin impressed me with her riding skills that seem to improve by leaps and bounds each time I see her. She was descending like a rocket and trying the most technical places. Go girl power!!

The Clogger was alongside once again showing his versatility. Road or mountain, he can do it all. We just have to get him on a bike that fits him properly. I'm thinking a custom something or other........

Blair showed up on a beautiful new singlespeed. All these new bikes lately. Oh yea, it must be that tax refund incentive;-)

Al showed up for the second half. This was my lucky weekend! Al, 2 days in a row. That's a real treat! The only thing missing from my perfect wkd was The Captain.

Speedy was there with only 3 stitches in his arm. This time last week, he had five. Didn't slow him down. We had such a good time playing on our new trail! It is truly a blast. Challenging and fun at the same time. I highly recommend it.

The biggest treat of the day came when we saw Rob. With lots of body armor on, he was ready to hit the trails again. It has been a long journey for you friend. I admire your persistence and strength. Look forward to riding with you soon!

Staying local turned out to be anything but the same ole boring stuff.

Especially when you have crazy friends like we do! I love it.
I love riding my bike (especially in the dirt).


Robb Sutton (198) said...

Great riding with you guys today! And always...I think your pictures are getting better and better...if that is even possible!

Blair said...

Great riding yesterday. Good to see you guys.

Becky said...

Glad you met some nice roadies :) Looks like a fun weekend!

rlaz said...

Oh, puhleeze! What do you mean that "rlaz couldn't pass me?" You don't really believe that do you? That is just too funny! (Boy am I in trouble our next ride.)