Labor Day Weekend Mountain Biking

Pretty good sign the drivetrain is toast.

Pretty good sign the drivetrain is toast.

The Vassago Bandersnatch is back in action.  Now that my Dos Niner is junk  I replaced a few parts on the ‘Snatch and got it rolling again.  New chain, chain ring, 36-12 cassette, and rear derailuer got the drive train smooth as silk.  Sunday we got in a ride at One Horse Gap and Monday we ventured to Kentucky to ride at Land Between the Lakes.  

One Horse Gap is your typical Shawnee horse trail system with lots of rocks, ruts, and deadfall to ride over,  very technical and very fun.  There is a new section of benchcut that we’ve been riding, its 2.82 miles of climbing, but nice gradual climbing that lets you keep up your speed.  Luke was leading up the climb and I was right on his wheel.  I kept thinking, go faster Luke, go faster.  Eventually Luke did go faster and I found myself going slower.  Barry was riding behind me and while I was gasping for breath trying to keep my bike moving he was asking me about shoe and pedal systems.  I encouraged him to pass me since he obviously wasn’t too stressed, but he declined.  I tried to answer between gasps.  

Shiny new parts, won't last though.

Shiny new parts, won’t last though.

Loaded down and trucking

Loaded down and trucking

It was a fantastic ride, as Elam said, a solid group of Quality Riders.  There were no mechanicals, and the only thing that could have been better was the humidity.  90% humidity makes 85 degrees feel like a million in the forest.  

Monday would be a very different ride for me.  We drove over to Land Between the Lakes, which has dedicated mountain bike trails, no horses or ATVs allowed.  The trails at LBL are groomed, clear, and fast.  9-10 mph averages are the norm here for in shape riders.  Seven riders met up and attacked the North South trail, on the first climb I was off the back, way off the back.  I actually felt my arms going numb on the climbs like there wasn’t enough oxygen being delivered to them.  I couldn’t get enough to drink and my heart was throbbing after the short and easy climbs.  



I tried to convince the guys to stop waiting for me but they were too nice to just totally abandon me in the woods.  I was averaging about 3 miles per hour slower then the group.  On the way back while the group was up ahead I started hearing enthusastic shouting from behind.  A group of kids on 20 inch bikes came rolling by and I stopped to get their picture.  It had everyone cracking up when I came out of the woods riding behind these kids.  They headed back to Hillman Ferry campground and we continued on to the most difficult part of the trail.  

The final few miles pretty much wiped me out, I finished off my 70 ounces of water.  I tried to figure out what was wrong with my body in these last few miles.  I felt pretty much zero pain or fatigue in my legs, they didn’t even feel stressed,  yet when I attempted to pedal with any kind of power I would find myself winded in seconds. and everything seemed weak.  It seems pretty obvious that I didn’t recover well from Sunday’s ride, probably didn’t eat or drink enough.  Just out of curiosity I bought some batteries for the scale and weighed myself, first time in long while.  As I suspected I’ve been gaining weight, driving around delivering mail all day doesn’t burn many calories but for some reason makes me extremely hungry for junk food. 

My new bike club.

My new bike club.

September, October and November are the best mountain bike months of the year.  I’d better start working on getting in shape for them.  


About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
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