I AM the Horse Whisperer
I took full advantage of my 'Play In The Mountains Free" card today and made it up to the said mountains by 11:15. I thought about exploring some options for "Epic" linkage, but in the end I opted to do my new favorite mountain loop, and see if I could shave some time off of last weeks effort.
The hills were alive with folks out to play today. Equestrians, hikers, etc., It was nice to see so many folks out enjoying our mountains rather than plunked down in front of the tube swilling bad beer and watching football. For the record so far in 2008 I've seen about 2 minutes of football. Watch big goofs knocking each other down, or epic rides in the mountains? Hmmmm. I don't know WHAT I'll choose to do. ;)
Now that I'm getting the loops down, I spend little, or in today's case, NO time looking at maps. Just rolling in the mountains and having fun doing it.
The trails, double track, forest roads, etc., were in primo shape today. I'm talkin' sweet. The sky was a blue as you could get, the leaves were a billion different colors, and even when snot, saliva, and breakfast was oozing from my face on the BIG climbs, it was hard not to have a horse shit eating grin on my face.
There were a TON of equestrian out today. The most I have EVER encountered during a ride. I think I came upon 5 to 6 groups. Each time I gave ample warning and dismounted or let them pass. You would not believe how gracious and grateful these folks were. I truly felt like I created some nice Karma with the Horse Folks. They all thanked me and a couple said how happy they were I stopped because the horses were younger and haven't been exposed to too many bikes and folks yet. I didn't mind stopping to let the folks by. I mean I was trying to make good time but I didn't want to see anyone thrown off a horse or see ME kicked in the head! The only real down side to all of this was the amount of horse shit on the trails. I'm sure I had more than a few morsels of dung hit my bottles and face. So if tomorrow I'm hovered above the toilet with with the fecal spawn of Satan trying to exit me, we'll all know why. Horse shit. It's not just for breakfast anymore.
There were so many different folks and things out today. This is a little list of what I encountered...
30 to 50 chipmunks WTF? is it chipmunk season??
30 to 40 piles of horse shit.
10 to 12 people on horses.
8 to 10 hikers
4 or 5 pheasants. Do they HAVE to scare the shit out of you? Is that a rule?
2 four wheeled golf cart looking things.
2 motocross bikes
3 pick-up trucks
1 man playing guitar on a big rock. (I shit you not)
1 lost cell phone. Someone is pissed.
ONE cyclist (ME!!)
My fave number in that list is the 3 trucks. 4:08 of riding and only THREE trucks. I love it. I plan to spend less and less time on the road now that I know these trails and forest roads. I've done 4+ hour road rides. They are just NOT the same. These rides are FAR better at working on mountain bike racing's nutrition, pacing, muscle memory, etc., etc., At least I think so.
In the end I finished the big ass ride in about 4:08. Shaved about 15 minutes off of last week. Even the Camp Run Road Climb was a bit easier. I found a really nice cadence, some mental focus and a good mantra. My back continues to be my down fall. It gets so f*cking sore I have to stop now and again to stretch it out. I'm starting to think I have a serious issue (my luck it's the BIG "C"). The chiropractor is just NOT helping. But that's another blog post. Tomorrow I get my leg looked at via ultra sound. Fingers crossed for no blood clots. I was pretty stoked today that there was very little puffiness after the ride. I think something good is happening. I'll be happy when I have two normal looking legs. By normal I mean two shaved, sort of skinny, legs with a bunch of cuts and scars on them. ;)
Here are a few pics...
THIS is what you get when you try to NOT ride through a mud bog, making what the horses did even worse. Two wet, muddy feet and a reason to stop and take pic.
The colors on the mountain were so intense today. At times it was like bombing down through an Abstract Expressionists painting at 20 mph. Enough to make your eyes bug right on out of your head.
This the LAST bit of flat before the BIG climb to the Soob.
The Salsa Dos Niner. I LOVE this bike. I did this same loop on my Mamasita last week, but today it felt 100% better. The Relish shock adds JUST enough cush to make seated climbing a lot easier. Very little bouncing around. Not to mention my Dos has the Fox shock on the front. My God is that shock sweet. Soft and cushiony. It's like a soft, sweet, milky white bosom.
Time to make some food. I'm at tad hungry.