I have now erased the opening line of this blog post 3 times, so I'll just be plain...last weekend was so much fun!
We started out with a full Tour de Noble ride. Dan and I drove up to the Noble trailhead early on Saturday morning (leaving enough time to get a new Adventure Pass and a brownie at the market), and ran into Jefe in the store. Good times were already upon us. Over to the trailhead...it was already warming up and the temps, forecast to be 73 in Pine Valley, were already climbing steadily. The parking lot was full of riders going out to test their mettle on Noble. We even ran into Tom (mousejockey).
Allison & Justin arrived soon after and we all got ready for the long day ahead. Seems like whenever we do this ride, it takes forever, even though it's only 35 miles of riding. Lots of rest and food breaks, usually and a fairly casual pace.
I was at the end of 2 big weeks of training, including Idyllwild and the tail end of some build. Would the legs hold up? Last time we did this ride, I pretty much sucked. Slow on the climbs and tired after every effort.
Started up Extra Credit and I was already sweating. Out to Alp de Wheez...the Garmin is a blessing and sometimes a curse: it brutally reminded me that, at times, the road reaches a 19% grade. Damn. I felt like I was climbing pretty well, keeping my cadence higher (though I watched A, J, and D pull away from me pretty quickly). Jefe was nursing a bum knee, so he wasn't pushing it.
Off to Indian Creek...usually I nail this climb and can settle into a good rhythm. Not today...my tires were slipping on what seemed to be every rock (hmmm...I'm sure my bald rear tire isn't helping). Had a hard time but before I knew it, I was flying down Pinball...so fun!
I'd recently gotten a jar of Hammer Perpetuem in the new Caffe Latte flavor. Mixed some up for the ride. It tasted good, even when warm, but upon much advice from the crew, I probably need a more carb-dominated drink, too. I wanted to see how well I could tolerate the Perp in the heat and for a longer ride. Turns out that I think it's okay, but that I wasn't drinking enough of it to be a proper food replacement.
I tried to pace with Allison up to Penny Pines and managed to hold onto her wheel for a good while (though I know she was cruising). We chatted about girl stuff...you know, heart rates, racing, etc (lol). She pulled away from me on one descent...girl is getting fast on the downhills on the Epic...can't wait to see her results at Downieville this summer.
Rested and re-fueled at Penny Pines, through BLT, up Middle Earth and back down to the meadow. By this time, I was not fueling properly and by the time we reached the top of the Noble trailhead, I felt like utter crap. Thankfully Allison had some Tylenol, because I was rocking a major headache. I didn't even feel hungry...another warning sign. A rest and a half of a PB&J later and I rolled out ahead of the group to cruise down the hill. They caught me quickly and we all rallied down Noble.
I was not at all loving the poison oak everywhere (some slight itchy spots on my arms today). BUT...the trail was in dialed condition. I made the rock ledge before Organ Donor and finally (finally) made Stairway on the Yeti. I was stoked! The big test was Whore. I put it in a decent gear and made good time up the hill. I remember doing that last year and absolutely bonking. I guess the big test is that, while some things (like Alp de Wheeze and Hate Climb) aren't getting any "easier", I feel stronger and less tired after I ride them. Woot!
We had an awesome dinner here at the casa and rolled into bed to get rested up for the Palomar double. Dan, Jill and I had done the Palomar south grade a few weeks prior but decided not to descend and re-climb east grade. I'll spare the details and just say this: hot temps and lots of climbing. 50 miles and 7K+. Awesome scenery and good company. Steady state climbing...we made it. Damn, my ass hurt (but oddly, only on the left side).