Monday, September 17, 2012

Like a hammer to the forehead

Have you ever seen a person swinging a hammer in tight quarters? Driving a nail in right next to their face...the hammer almost hitting them with every swing. I have....and I have to admit that it was quite amusing. You could see it happening.....in slow motion.....the hammer drove forward and bounced back right into the bridge of his nose....nearly knocking him out from the force. Needless to say, he swore he would never do it again.....yet.....two weeks later he found himself in a similar position and nearly did it again.

That brings me to my ride on Sunday. Jay, Lisa, a friend of Lisa's, and another Custer rider (sorry, terrible with names) and I headed out on the Barry Roubaix route to get some much needed hill climbing done. I made the terrible mistake of bringing my Defy (road bike) with my CX tires mounted on it. It was great on the pavement and the first gravel road, but I was already wondering about the gearing.....in the small hills. Once I got to Sager Road I was done.....my mass sank into the sand like the Titanic. The skinny CX tires were like a knife in the soft sand....and I had to walk a lot of Sager. Eventually got to the other end....and in spectacular fashion.....fell like a sack of potatoes into the gravel. I was unclipped with my left foot, but I hit a small pile of gravel and it tossed my weight right....and of course....I could not get unclipped....effectively hitting myself in the head with a hammer. I make that reference because I always hear people say "I will never do that again" and it always happens. You think you are find....then a screw backs out of your cleat and you nearly break your leg trying to get unclipped......flailing away until you end up on the ground. I just laid there for a second.....and smiled.....because only Lisa and her friend saw it. Both understood...and we moved forward.

The next problem I ran into was the gearing on my Defy. Meant for the road, the Defy is set up with a double ring in the front.....so effectively....no granny gear.....and I am not strong enough to spin a big gear....so I was in trouble.....on small hills. Jay was gone like a rocket before Sager Rd. and when Lisa and I got to the T on the course....I pulled the plug and we took the short course back. This course is not easy....but it is easier than the longer route. Lisa and I plugged away and eventually made it back to the road.  I was enjoying the downhills on the skinny CX tires because I was flying! I hit 36 on one decent. ha.

Anyway, we got back to the cars and all went our separate ways. Jay did a great time and was back before we left the lot. I learned a few things......I tried and essentially failed on the road bike to ride this route....but I tried......and....I have a ton of work to do before Iceman. ugh.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New...and used

Merrell Trail opened up this past week and I have been eagerly waiting to ride it. The pictures and videos of the trail have looked amazing so I was really excited when it opened. Dan picked me up in Martin and we headed up to meet Pat and Cathy. It was an early morning and the temps were perfect for riding, low 70's. We were getting ready when a couple of guys approached us. One asked if my Epic was the one that was for sale and I told him it indeed was. He looked at the bike a bit, but it was nasty dirty from riding Fort Custer the Sunday before.....so.....he sat on it to check the size and went on his way. So...lets ride.

We started off up the little rise to the first signage for the trail. This trail is unique in that the trail direction is different every day of the week. The sign below shows the days and the directions. My only suggestion, a calendar that shows what day it is so people don't have to guess.


The four of us headed out, following the Red signs because it was Sunday.

Pat not shown (taking pic)
This trail is a lot of fun. It is very different for this area. It has HUGE rocks, roots, singletrack, berms, hills, and everything else that we like in a trail system. It is hard to describe, but I was just enjoying riding some new trail. I was feeling pretty good. We would ride a bit and decide which area to tackle next, when I got to this area (shown in picture)

The idea here is that if you cannot ride the skinny bridge.....you shouldn't go down this trail. Well, we all wanted to see what was back there so we walked the bridge and headed down this tough section, knowing we would be careful and walk if we felt unsafe. I loved this part. It was super technical with some amazing stunts and bridges and huge rock drops. The way we went I was able to ride nearly everything. I walked a few things just to see what was on the other side, but never felt like I was going to die. There is a bridge in there that starts wide (the direction we were riding) and then turns skinny. It is the entrance to this section going the other direction. I rode it because it looked cool. Little did I know that it elevated and turned skinny at the same time...making it about 8" wide and 3 feet off the ground! Ha. I made it without issue, but I can see how someone could find themselves in over their head. All in all, this trail was a lot of fun and I cannot wait to ride there again....especially after the winter sets the trail. It will be flowing and fast for sure! Great Job to the WMMBA for continuing the 50 in 5 initiative with this trail. Hopefully the next trail will be just as awesome...and 10 minutes from where I work ;)

After we rode a loop at Merrell we headed to Luton Park for a lap. Luton is about a 5 minute car ride from Merrell. I was feeling very good on this trail. I would ride ahead a bit and then wait until I saw Dan come into view, then I would roll again. Dan was floating between keeping me in view and making sure Cathy and Pat were okay. I was feeling good, so I just went on one section. I stopped and waited for everyone to regroup and then went again. I was loving the trail. Just flowing good and clearing everything with no issue. At one point I went left and the rest went right onto a slightly longer section of trail. I was riding on a flat straight section, looked over to my right trying to see how far back they were. I looked back at the trail and promptly dumped myself onto the trail. What I didn't see was the small tree on the right that smashed my pinky into the bar and pulled my wheel sideways....causing an instant endo. I landed in a pile on my left forearm, left shoulder, hip and knee. I picked myself up and started to take a survey. Right side was good, I still had full range of motion in my right pinky finger just a little pain. No blood anywhere but my left elbow. The other three rolled up and off we went again. I ended up with a bruised pinky, bruised left knee, and a road...eh...trail rash on my left forearm. Not really anything significant like a certain teammate of mine ;)

Anyway, great day on the trail with some minor scrapes. Iceman is up in the air still. Not quite sure what I am going to do yet. The weather is awesome for riding and my schedule is chock full of soccer and dance for the undetermined future. I will ride when I can and make a decision on Iceman when the event gets closer.