I’ve been looking forward to this holiday weekend for awhile now. The weather promised to be amazing for February. The highs were in the low 70s, and just a bit of rain on Saturday. I wanted to take advantage of the weather and get lots of ride time in.
On Saturday morning Luke and I went out to the “Back Nine” near Pounds Hollow and rode 15 miles. It was about 50 degrees when we started but it felt colder then that to me. I replaced the failing Reba suspension fork on the SCUD with a steel rigid fork and had a bit of an adjustment period where I kept getting bounced off my lines, but rode well enough for me.
The thing about riding with Luke that even when he’s just taking it easy at a gentleman’s pace and waiting for me I’m still pushing myself really hard. We didn’t ride that fast, only averaging close to 6 miles per hour, but the trail conditions were tough. The trail was covered in deadfall and blanketed with leaves. Then it began to rain about an hour into the ride and things got tougher as we went. I dropped every watt I had left on the final climb and managed to stay with Luke for most of it, though I’m pretty sure I borrowed watts from the future.
I initially felt great after the ride but Saturday evening it caught up with me. I felt like the walking dead, to tired to sleep, and my stomach was unable to process the amount of food and fluid that I seemed to need. I realized that I had rode a tough 3 hours on about 24 ounces of water and half a cliff bar.
I woke up Sunday morning feeling worse then I had the night before. My legs and lower back were so sore that I struggled to get out of bed, but I had to get out of bed because I made plans to ride with Ryan on gravel roads at 8AM. Ryan is this cool dude who I’ve mountain biked with in the past, he always has wild vintage 90s bikes and rides really well. He just got a gravel bike and we were going to ride some of the gravels and roads around Eagle Mountain.
So Sunday morning its about 50 degrees and there is a wet mist in the air. It rained most of Saturday and everything is wet. This is not the awesome weekend weather I was expecting. We leave the parking lot of the Mitchelsville Store and climb a tiny little hill on the first gravel road. I’m in my lowest gear and huffing and puffing. When I get to the top I feel numbness in my arms and I’m suddenly thirsty. I’m still super dehydrated. In fact I’d go as far as to say I’m bonked on the first hill.
We tool along around 10 miles per hour and I’m trying to coax my body to wake up when ahead of us several cows are wandering around on the road. Should have been a good photo op but I was too slow to get them all running down the road. When we turn on Stone Face road we can see the hills rising up into dense fog which was pretty cool but I had no idea how I could get up them. When we turned on Eagle Mountain Ryan flew up the hill and I struggled to keep moving. The rain had turned the road to mush, it was more mud than gravel and massively washed out. It was the first time I couldn’t climb it and had to walk sections. My 700×32 Gatorskins just kept spinning in the mud.
We connected back up on Gape Hollow and started riding towards Garden of the Gods when Ryan said he needed to check his pedal. Turned out that his crank arm was about to fall off. “Nope can’t fix that, no 8mm key,” I said not trying hard enough to hide my happiness.
Ryan rode a few miles with on leg, but eventually gave it up and I cruised back on the highway 10 miles to get the van and pick him up. By this time I was feeling a bit better and the easy highway miles were waking up my body. Ryan felt bad about the whole thing but I assured him that I was incredibly happy that we wouldn’t be able to ride up to Garden of the Gods and then tackle Bruce Johnson pass over Williams Hill.
Sunday afternoon the weather was finally that near perfect 70 degrees and sunny but I was too tired to really enjoy it. There was zero wind and I kept thinking about how perfect it would be to go rollerblading but I just didn’t have the energy.