The DNR has been doing the controlled burns this week. The Fort looks very interesting right now.....lots of black and burnt items with a perfect ribbon of brown singletrack going right through the center of it. It stinks like an old fire, but the feeling of devastation is very evident. It is cool....in an eerie sort of way.
So, I rode two loops at Custer last night. The red loop was first and then I rode my red to green combo for the second loop. The first red loop was fast.......for me....really fast. I am feeling pretty good on the bike. I was having a front derailleur issue which I solved before I left the trailhead...thankfully. I was able to drop to the middle ring on the climbs and shift back to the big ring for the rest of the trail. I was feeling good and I flew around the red loop. I averaged 11.2 mph for the red loop. I don't think I could have gone any harder, unless I was racing. The trail is starting to fly by...minus the climbs. I still struggle with the hills...but I am getting stronger. A few weeks ago I couldn't muster 10 mph on the red loop....and now I am up to 11....dang. I think some kind words from a few friends have helped. Niel told me to just have fun. He is really fast so I listened and I had a blast at Yankee Springs. Brian told me to stay off the brakes...so I don't brake as much....and I can feel my handling skills improving. So, minus a few slow climbs I am feeling good about the Fort Custer Stampede.
So, second loop. I was hurting by the time I got to the Green loop. I almost made it up the switchback, but ran out of steam on the roots at towards I end of the climb. I dabbed and then climbed the rest of the hills....giving a nod to 'Erin' as I reached the summit. After that I started to feel better but I could feel myself slowing down on the climbs. I was very surprised when I caught a couple of guys stopped and talking on middle of the long climb in the pines. I was even more surprised when they never passed me back. I had the opportunity to show off my skilz when I approached the step-up climb towards the end of the green. The hill goes vertical when the roots jut out. I cleared it and then noticed a group of people standing at the top of the hill. They all kinda had surprised looks on their faces...lol. Then I cleared the huge log jam on the other side of the hill. At this point I was feeling good....but it was short lived as I ran out of steam on the next climb. I managed to average 10.2 mph over those 10 miles though....so all was good.
I am riding tomorrow....going for a Dirty Thirty...which is 30 singletrack miles. I am thinking it will take me about 3 hours to complete....and I look forward to the task. Gotta ride!!!