The knee-debacle happened last Sunday while we were riding San Juan. Somewhere after we finished Viejo Tie, my right knee just started hurting, especially on the down stroke of pedaling. Coasting downhill and even pedaling on the flat didn't/doesn't hurt much. But to really mash on the pedals while going uphill causes me some pain. So, have I done what any logical person would and taken it easy this past week? Nah.
I continued with my 3 Turbulence Training sessions and went for a mtb ride with Dan and Will on Saturday at LPQ. 16 miles...not bad. Knee? A little sore.
Then, it was decision time about Sunday...to ride or not to ride? We had to take a trip up to The Path at some point during the weekend to deal with my Socom's f@#$ed up headset. Nothing quite like getting ready for the biggest mtb trip in the past 3 years and finding out the fork won't even come out of the headset. Countless tools, 2 shops, and 1 hour of hitting with a hammer later...I have a brand new FSA headset. Woohoo! (I really wanted the CK but it sits up too high).
Anyhow, we decided since we'd be up in the OC direction, to do a ride with the HTFU crew and spend all day behind the Orange Curtain. First time riding the infamous OC trails (except for downhilling at Laguna).
Would the knee hold up?
Dan and I met the HTFU crew (Allison, Justin, Luke, Jefe, and Zippy Eric) at the Aliso Canyon parking lot around 9:15...we ran late. I was in such a rush and was trying to deal with the pay parking machine that I forgot my Body Glide. Ouch.
Note of importance: the pay parking machine does not take anything expect $1 bills and quarters. The cost to park is $3. I put in a $5 bill and was like, "dude...keep my change..." but it would just spit the bill back at me. How rude. A very nice biker and Justin lent us the $$ we needed.
Dan-o heads outGot going around 9:30. Allison had sent me the course profile on Geoladders, and it looked to have 3 pretty mean climbs in it.
Started out with a nice, flat-ish ride for about 2.5 miles. Then, up Burning Calves...I mean Dripping Cave. Short but very steep climb which I made but had to stop to let others go by. My strategy for the day was to climb everything in as small a gear as possible (which is unlike me, because usually I'm trying to see how hard of a gear I can reasonable pull off). Granny gear was my companion du jour.
Right before Mathis, Jefe informed us that his rear brake was not working. We bade him farewell and told him we'd see him in the p.m. for some BBQ action.
So, then, Mathis. Wow. I actually rode the whole thing (except for a short 20' section where I walked). The whole time, I watched the group pull further and further away, thinking "I am sooo going to be Cat Bait." Just look...a lone straggler. Sturdy. Meaty. I could hear the mountain lion thinking...
HTFU crew heads up Mathis
Of course, my imagination was running wild, but it's hard not to think these things sometimes.
Toward the top of Mathis, Justin came down a bit for some "bonus goater". We regrouped and then headed out toward Stairstep. Passed Winston and his posse on the way out there. So, Stairstep. Last time I rode it was 3 years ago on my DH bike. With pads. And a full face.
Here I stood...hardtail Niner. Lycra. Half shell.
My little green bike
I walked 2 or 3 of the gnarlier sections toward the top and picked my way down the rest. Whew! No crashes.
Allison & Eric choose the safer way down
Over to LCPW. Up Willow. Down Rattlesnake (that was exciting!). I was still caboosing it. Down Mach 1. I was on the brakes so bad!
Luke is ready to ride...LCWP
Time to climb. I walked the steep section at the bottom. I actually started to ride it and got off my line, into the scrabble on the left. Damn! So I walked. You know, my knee actually still felt decent, but I had to be wary of how much pressure to put on the pedal. I'd say the left leg was doing about 70% of the work.
How many riders does it take to figure out the map?! :)
Before I knew it, we were descending Willow and hiking back up Stairstep. Bravo to the boys for riding a lot of it, or at least trying.
Dan-o puts in a good effort up Stairstep
We descended Lynx and then had a time trial back to the parking lot. Justin 'won' right at the end!
Over to The Path for a new headset and seat post collar for the Socom (Hope in red). Then, it was time to go to Jefe's for BBQ except I forgot to ask him directions to his house. Oops. Long story short...after getting his voicemail over and over (due to 2 different calling plans), we finally made it over.
We got the grand tour of his awesome home and then drank beers, watched some DH vid, and ate some delicious dinner. Jefe fully stocked us up with American Crew product, too :) Thank you!!
Getting some BBQ action
Not quite your size, Justin!
All in all, a busy weekend...I'm ready for some Whistler R & R.