Thursday, March 18, 2010

A week and weekend full

I'm just now getting around to posting about what happened last weekend. That's how full my week has been. We're housesitting for my in-laws so on one hand it's like we're on vacation, with out leaving Nashville. On the other hand it a little bit of a pain a we have to go home to do somethings, then bring clothes over to their house and of course I always forget things in the process.

Last weekend we had some friends over for games and hot tub relaxing and then Sunday I got out and rode some gravel with the boys. Thad, Grant and Parker came out and we rode the old Fly loop. Grant needed a loaner bike so I rode my Quiring single speed for the first time and Grant rode my Crosscheck. The ride was a lot of fun and was a great experience for me on the singlespeed. All the gravel grinders I've done have been on my geared Crosscheck except Dirty Kanza and our trip from Joelton to Monty Bell.

Unfortunately a lot of the old loop has been paved but we did manage to find some new gravel. Thad's hoping to explore and find a few more miles of fresh gravel. I decided to bail out of the loop early and skipped about 8-10 miles. I was feeling good fitness wise but my sit bones were screaming at me. Looks like it's really time for a new mtb saddle. Between our weekend at LBL and my ride at Hammy last week, my saddle was creating some bruised sit bones. In hindsight I should have moved my Selle-Anatomica saddle over to my Quiring since Grant brought his own saddle.

My work week settled down after a lot of "maybe" work and I ended up with all Tuesday off. Then, like magic, Matthew P said he was going to Sewanee for the Woody's Tuesday shop ride and I joined in. I made the smart move of moving my Selle-Anatomica saddle over to the Quiring for this ride. We had a good size group, about 7 riders total. Matthew, Corey C and I came from Nashville and met Brian, Woody and a couple other guys at the shop. I got start the ride right from the shop and learn a few new ways into the trail.

The trail was wet in some sections but was in great condition. The soil is sandy on the mountain so it drains fast and even when wet, it's rarely muddy. We rode at a nice relaxed pace and just enjoying being outside. The temperature was borderline cold but not too bad with a baselayer and a windbreaker. The trail is quite technical in sections. There one part where there is a good size boulder you have to drop down and then of course there's a root placed right where your wheel will land. I saw it, considered it, slowed way down, leaned back and dropped it, then paused, leaned forward and endoed. First endo on the 29er, but it's possible. As happens to be frequently, my right leg managed to get stuck between the top tube and the handlebar that spun completely around. It wasn't a bad looking fall but it hurt enough to know my leg would bruise a little. I was able to ride it out and finish the loop which was at least another 10+ miles.

My leg had a little throbbing that would come and go but overall the pain wasn't that bad. Now that it's 2 days later, the pain is pretty bad. heh My knee is sore to the touch where the handlebar hit it, but it's also sore below my kneecap in my upper shin area. I'm hoping it will heal on it's own and nothing to drastic is wrong. Unfortunately off-the-couch Greg is now back on the couch again. I've been chilling all day today getting work done online and on the phone, while I lounge with a bag if ice cold peas on my knee.

I've got another session to work at Blackbird studios tomorrow, and then it's the weekend again. I don't have much planned and I know I won't be on the bike this time. I'm thinking of making it over to the Yazoo Tap Room one last time before they try make their permanent move to the Gulch area. Also planning to attend the Ride for Reading acoustic benefit concert saturday night.

Back to the Sewanee ride. I have to say that my Selle Anatomica saddle was VERY comfortable on that ride. I was quite impressed. It was my first mtn bike ride on that saddle. I'd say it was the perfect saddle except it is hard to get your legs behind the saddle for steep decents, that may possibly lead to an endo. Bummer too because the comfort is amazing. So, I'm in the market for a wider than a Rocket-V saddle to use for mtn biking that is as comfy as the leather saddle, yet is easier to get behind.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

When life gives you lemons, do as the Roman's do.

Is winter over yet? After this past weekend it sure looks like it's on it's way out. We just had the most gorgeous weather for 3 full days in a row! I'm not talking like a sunny winter day, but a full on 65 degree, full sun, day where it was impossible not to stay outside. So... when the email comes to go on an overnight mountain biking trip to LBL, what do you do? Prep the bike, pack the car and kiss wife goodbye! To say this trip was exactly what I needed is a huge understatement. I've been so cooped up this winter with projects, work, and 20 degree weather that I hadn't put more than 60 miles on any of my bikes since Jan 1.

Leaving Nashville never felt so good
So Thad rolled up to my house with JD the lead trail dog, and a 13 yr old Mad Max co-pilot and the caravan left for the hills of Kentucky, only an hour behind schedule, not bad. We met up with Parker up at Land Between the Lakes and immediately changed into riding clothes, got the dog ready and hit the road to the trail entrance. We were on the bikes less than 20 min after we arrived, dodging trees and trying our best to keep up with the hammer JD as he lead us through the North South Trail. Thad is training JD to be a great trail running dog so he was hoping to test his stamina and get him more accustomed to riding next to more cyclists.

"When are you guys going to be ready to ride?"
JD did awesome! We rode an out and back 17 mile route and he didn't flench and kept a great pace for the couch surfers like myself who hadn't been out on a bike in a while. We dropped him off back at camp and headed back into the trail to get some more miles in, this time heading the opposite direction as before, towards the North Welcome station. We rode the 5 miles or so to the parking lot and I was starting to really feel it. Thad and Parker wanted to do the Canal loop so there was not way I'd make it around so Mad Max and I turned around and headed back to camp. We got a respectable 25 or so miles in and had fun walking JD around the camp site and antagonized the local marsupial while we waited for the other J5Marsupial and Parker to get back.

Thad specifically asked for the marsupial campsite

We were all feeling great after the ride but hungry as all get out so a trip to Miss Scarlet's was in order. This place never disappoints. I went for the sirloin tips and a potato this time and it was great. Parker didn't know what he was getting into with his catfish and barely finished 1 of the two huge pieces of fish. Parker had to get on the road back to Nashville so we parted ways and went back to the camp to get a fire going and settle in.

Our fire making skills were all a bit rusty as we had to stop, knock it down and start all over again to get it started. To our credit no lighter fluid of any type was used. We'd all talked about doing a night ride and all brought our lights. I purposefully skipped the Canal Loop hoping to save my legs for a night ride but when the time came, I was still feeling pretty beat. Max had never experienced riding in the woods at night so Thad took him out for a spooky 8 mile jaunt. "Be back in an hour" He said. An hour and half later they roll up, all grins with tales of attempting to recreate the Blair Witch Project and gooey, nasty tubeless tire flats.

During this time I got to sit and relax in the camp, alone but for JD, the campfire and a bit of rye whiskey. It was heaven.... until there was rustling in the woods nearby. Gotta say, it's a bit creapy being alone in a campsite at night, even with an enormous dog. JD didn't even react to one of the noises I heard... did it really happen? who knows. :) It was a nice relaxing time to myself though. We called it a night relatively early and bundled up for the cold night.

Thad treated us to a great breakfast of coffee, oatmeal and toasted english muffins with peanut butter and honey. YUM! Max masterfully made a fire in no time flat show both Thad and I up all the while joking that no, he wasn't an eagle scout, he'd quit after cup scouts. After stuffing ourselves we suited back up for another trail ride with JD, retracing our first ride the day before. This time JD apparently found some inspiration and would not allow us to ride at a reasonable pace. He ran off the front the entire time, as Thad chased him down and Max and I just held on at any pace we could. This stretch of the North South trail has few hills and has a lot of great flow. We put in another 14 miles without really working that hard.

mmm coffee on the fire

JD doing Old English Impersonation

Off the couch on my first rides in the woods since last year and we ended up with 38 miles or so in two days. It was awesome. Exactly the R&R I needed and I'm already thinking about the next one.

Who links to my website?