After riding with our training partners in crime--Allison, Justin, and sometimes Luke--for the past several weekends, Dan-o & I decided to play it closer to home. With Rim Nordic now less than 2 weeks away, it was time to hole up and get some of the life-needs-to-happen things back in order. Laundry, setting up our bookshelves 5 months after we've moved in, shopping, errands...you know, the stuff of legends.
Friday afternoon, last of the regen days, was spent visiting our friend Joe who just had surgery for a deviated septum (ouch!) and then kicking it in La Jolla with dinner at The Cottage and a spin by the Shores. Pipe dreams stirred up by the warm spring/summer day left me a touch melancholy (right...some day when I'm a millionaire I'll own a house there), but we had a great time walking and eating. Gelato on Prospect St. was a-ma-zing!
Saturday saw us up at the ass-crack of dawn to make it out to Noble for a dual-purpose ride. Hitting the alarm at 5 a.m. on a Saturday was painful. Our buddy Patrick, who we've known for a few years now through the mtb scene, is moving back to his home state of Floria (which means "mountainous" in the native Seminole tongue...haha), and he wanted to ride Noble one last time. Knowing that I needed more than a shuttle run to keep up with training, I suggested climbing up from the bottom of Noble and doing a mini-Tour. Dan was game, so we set out as the sun was rising. Temps were chilly...49 degrees at the parking pull-out. We opted to skip Extra Credit due to time constraints :( so up the paved road with nary a warm-up it was!
Rocking the Ergon GP1 grips for the first time. Love them!
900' of climbing later, we arrived at the oak tree. Not surprisingly, my legs felt pretty good (coming off 5 days of regen), and my HR seemed lower than normal...though I'm sure the cool temps were partially responsible. We rolled right through and on to Indian Creek. It was nice being the only two out on the trail. On our last outing about 4 weeks prior, I had a really rough time of it...no traction, not on my technical game, etc. Today was the polar opposite...traction galore (thanks to new Fast Track LKs), I was hitting everything (ok, except the waterfall). Climbing with my suspension fully engaged was the key. That, and low tire pressure. According to the Garmin, I was 10+ minutes faster on the climb than last time.
Down Pinball...oh so fun! Lots of big rocks in the trail...seems somebody has been up to some "rearranging" of the trail. Cloud cover and wind had me digging in my pack for my shell. Turned left and up to Penny Pines. We kept a good pace and made it to the trailhead 15 min ahead of schedule. Here, we picked up Patrick and his friend Kelly. Here we were, a motley mix of lycra, pads, XC helmets, full-faces, big bikes and smaller bikes. But you know what, it was all good. We all had our strengths and weaknesses but had a blast riding together.
Lots of hikers out on trail (National Trails Day). Patrick flatted 3x once we started down middle Noble.
I spent a while checking out the scenery that's usually whipping by me at 15-20 mph. A bubbling stream, an enormous oak tree, the hum of insects. It was nice to stop and listen. Of course, we made fun of Patrick for his flats, but it was all in jest. We'll miss riding with him!
Railing the turn...this was between flats #2 and #3 for Patrick
I did have a new personal accomplishment...cleaning Organ Donor. The rocky bench before it almost hung me up, but I did a trackstand recover and kept going.
On up to Organ Donor...I don't know what I had in mind, but I went for it and found a V in the rocks. I cranked down hard and before I knew it, was over the hard part. I had made the crux move and was so surprised that I had to think quickly about what to do next. Turn circles...up to the top. I think I was beaming!
Stairway was pretty easy this time...lots of sanitizing and a new p-line way to the right.
The boys split off to go back to the car (shuttle up to get Kelly's truck at PP) whilst I decided to do Whore/Extra Credit solo. I've never ridden any trail at Noble alone. I have to admit I was a tad nervous, but what the heck. It was over in about 17 minutes anyway...the climb up not as tiring because I hadn't ridden as far. I never get tired of wiping the grin off my face after that trail. 2o miles for the day.
Saturday night was low key, spent at home with some good homemade dinner.
Sunday...I finally slept in...until 6:30! But, I felt like it was all I needed, so I was okay with that. Did some research on Mission Trails, breakkie, then off to ride. The plan was to get our climb on, and anybody who has ever ridden there knows there are some doozies.
2:40:00 ride time...15.75 miles and 3600' of vert. Several 20%+grades. A couple pitches above 30%. Ridiculous. Visitors Center Loop for a warm up, then climbed the big hill up to Quarry. Loop around Quarry, back down toward the pond, Suycott, North Fortuna. I was feeling alright until the approach climb to NF. I went into the first steep pitch and said something like, "I doubt I'll make this". Well, I did make it (first time ever) but then proceeded to inch my way along, stop, turn around, re-try, and curse my way up. I was so frustrated. THAT is my Hate Climb. Surprisingly, I had only a few dabs up to the top of NF and was the freak show to a few hikers who could not fathom somebody strong (i.e. dumb) enough to ride up.
Down the back of NF...so techy! Then, there was the Hell Trail...a series of 3 or 4 bitches that were so steep we walked down a few parts, and on the uphills were barely ride-able (but we did).
Guy #1: "I gotta see this..."
pause...as I go by...
Guy #2: "Goddammit!"
And there I went.
They told Dan as he went by that they had never seen anyone even attempt it, nevermind ride it. I admit that a wry smile was on my face :)
We both took a healthy run at Cardiac but got hung up on the last pitch. Damn.
Dan descending from North Fortuna...chunky!
Lunch and errands, and we were back home for another nice evening.
The countdown continues...less than 2 weeks until 12 solo! Jason Ranoa, who runs the event, posted up the kick-ass plates that the solos will be rocking...awesome!