Monday, February 23, 2009

I'll show you weather!

Another weekend came and went, except this one was full of mtn biking. I got a reprise from work and had Friday off which I took as an invitation to relax and chill at home. I tried to get a home project done but was pushed off course by our so-cool, overly tall windows; anyone know of any inexpensive, cloth roman shades that are 77+" long? I had a nice long conversation with my Dad before he headed out to Afghanistan. He'll just be gone a couple weeks this time and should send back some cool mountain photos.

The weather forecast for Saturday was looking bleak with freeze/thaw conditions at most trails and chance of rain rolling in around noon. Dougie and I took the chance though and drove down to Columbia, TN to ride Chickasaw Trace. We found the trail to be a little slick in some corners but overall in great shape. The temperature was rising during our first lap and had us both wishing we'd not worn so many layers. My legs felt great and the new bike was riding nicely. I've only had the Q out at Monty Bell so far so this was it's maiden voyage at Chickasaw. It took to the terrain quite well and all the reroutes are getting burned in and riding better than my last trip. We shed layers and went back out for a second lap. The trail had dried out considerably but I was feeling the first lap in my legs. Cooler weather was coming in fast and we started to regret our new clothing choices. Mid TN lived up to the adage of "If you don't like the weather, wait 5 min." Doug broke his chain about 2/3rd of the way through the loop and had to bail out to the parking lot but pushed me to finish my lap. This ride was a great reminder of what a great trail Chickasaw is and how much support this trail has. The trail is in great shape for late winter and there were many riders out on Saturday enjoying it. Kudos to everyone who works on that trail!

Beth and I were planning on heading over to Dan's bday/mardi gras party and had a hankering for some Mexican food. We had some amazing Mexican in Philly at El Vez and we were looking to discover (or rediscover) some new, above average, Mexican in Nashville. We hit our new local establishment, La Hacienda with hopes of short wait times, as it was 6:30pm on a Sat. We both strayed from our usual orders and were rewarded with some amazing food. I hadn't been to La Hacienda in years and Beth (a Nashville native) had never been. We'll definitely be back soon and are looking forward to spring when we can walk there from our house.

We made it over to Dan's completely stuffed which was unfortunate since he and Holly had a great spread setup. We enjoyed some beers and catching up with some old friends and making some new ones. Beth was able to finally meet some of my riding friends, many whom have bought jewelry from her but never met her. Everyone seemed to be having a great time, some more than others but Beth and I were fading fast. We headed out around 11:30 after receiving an amazing care package from Katy R. (look for more on that in a later post but think food...) Check out Dan's blog to see how the night ended.

This weekend was the SORBA workday(s) at the Dirt Sweat and Gears trail in Fayetteville, TN. A large group went down Saturday and did a ton of work opening some new trail. They camped (barned to avoid the rain) and enjoyed a keg of Yazoo and some rawdy southern style campfire shenanigans. I'm sure Thad (Johnny5) will have a good account of it all up on this blog soon.

Dougie and I drove down to Fayetteville early Sunday morning to meet the group and get some more work done on the trail. We found them already finishing up a bridge they had started the day before and we joined in and got caught up on all the goings-on the night before. We then re-established some power-line trails that had be covered up with some TVA trimming and then started working on a downhill reroute. We got a bunch of work done on a new route down an eroded fireroad decent into the powerline section of trail. We carved in a sweeping right turn with berm that should set you up better for the bridge at the bottom of the hill and the next rise.

Clay played a great host to us and provided food, laughs and more beer. We hung out for a while at his new barn and had lunch and then suited up to ride a lap before leaving. Some rain had come through over night but the trail had really

photo credit: TWolf
dried out a lot by the time we were riding. I was feeling really great on the bike having fun chasing Thad around. Though fireroad climbs were still stick I was able to make the first two big climbs. 911 hill still got me off the bike but I got the second half. This was a big confidence booster for me. I had to walk these last year on my SS and my geared bike. I'm riding DSG solo this year and I'm sure I'll be walking them for most of my laps, but I know I can make them at least once. We were riding with a younger rider, Ian, who lives in Fayetteville and came out to help work on the trail. He did great and was eager to learn more but had to bail out to head to work.

We rode the rest of trail full of big grins, freeriding over rock gardens and skinnies. We were able to ride the new downhill we'd cut which was fun. I really enjoy riding a trail and going through sections of trail that you helped either cut or berm or maintain. It is very rewarding seeing your work while riding your bike but also you feel a sense of ownership in the trail. You aren't just riding, you're riding a trail that is now special to you. It's a feeling that is hard to explain.

photo credit: TWolf

This trip to Fayetteville also cemented a big excitement in me for the Dirt Sweat and Gears 12hr Race. I don't make it down to this trail very often but I had an amazing weekend last year at DSG. I competed on a 4man team last year and am going to try it solo this year. Clay and Grant organized an awesome event last year and I just know it's going to be even better this year. With Moots coming this year and more events taking place other than just the main race like a pump track, skills course and night time 20" time trail, the weekend is going to be packed full of excitement.

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