Well its September, summer should be over, I should be back at work, and riding should be starting to wind down. Not this year. My school was dealing with a 3 million dollar budget shortfall and laid off 17 teachers, I was one of them. It turns out that in hard economic times an art teacher isn’t exactly the most sought out proffesional. If only I’d become a bankruptcy laywer or repo man. Oh well. More time for riding, though I’m feeling pretty bad about riding every morning while everyone else is back at work.
So the drought we’ve been dealing with broke, thanks to Isaac, we’ve gotten 5 or 6 inches of rain. I mowed the yard yesterday and noticed it was like Spring starting all over again with all the vegitation that springs out of the barren ground seemingly from nowhere. The weather has returned to something more akin to our usual Southern Illinois summers. Mid to upper 80s that would feel great if the humidty wasn’t around 80%. I really believe that humidity affects my riding, or more precisely my breathing. I don’t have any proof of this, other than the fact that I don’t feel like I breath as good in the high humidity.
On Labor day Luke and I Did a 40 mile ride on mostly gravel hills with a tremendous amount of climbing. It really shouldn’t have been that hard of a ride at only 40 miles and almost all of that roads, but it left me beat. I did a report for the mountain bike forum, where there is a competetion for the best ride reports.
Ride Report: lragan almost called the ride off, he was worried that without a big ring he wouldn’t be able to keep up with me. I told him to risk it. He was on his Scott which has been adopted to a more aggressive riding style, and along with the new rigid carbon niner fork it’s weight has droped down around 14 pounds. I basically told him however the ride turned out it wouldn’t count because his bike was no longer UCI legal.
THe first major climb was over Eagle Mountain. lragan had time to session the Eagle Mountain free ride course a few times while I cranked up, sadly he was only able to shred about 80% without suspension fork.
Held my own in the downhill mainly because the cantilever brakes on my touring bike barely slow it down.
Continued South on Gape Hollow and took Raum Road to the One Horse Gap area. Took Benham hill ridge road back North, don’t bother looking for it on a map, you won’t find it. Jumped off Benham and took the r2r trail back down to Raum, the trail was mudslick and swarming with ATVs and horses, and cyclists. Here the major downfall of the nearly treadless “Jet” cyclocross tires was revealed. They don’t like braking and turning at the same time. Ran off the trail a couple of times on the way down.
Next up was Bruce Johnson road, an ascent of Williams Hill from the South, gravel so I’ve never ridden it. Good change up. THe plan was to take a fire road from the top of Williams hill back to route 34. Luke was worried about the plan, this fire road was more of a muddy rocky double track and he didn’t think my machine was up to the challenge. Instead we took a different gravel that we had no idea where it would lead, and it lead nowhere. I felt like a POW marching out of that road with a thousand tiny gnats swarming around my head and getting in my eyes. The humidity was starting to get to me, you know its not really the heat, its the humidty.
It rained, then the sun would come out and it would be like living in a giant steamer, then it would rain again.
By now lragans 14 pound aggresive XC bike was really making the difference compared to my 46 pound touring bike. Despite being physically drained I summed up the courage to ride Somerset road back to the car. Great ride.
I haven’t had any kind of event to really get excited or train for since I finished BRAG but I think I’m going to do the BROWN COUNTY BREAKDOWN, which has a long mountian bike ride along with lots of mountian bike festivities. Better get the fat tires out.
Until next time, stay frosty my friends.