A Final Practice
I jokingly call my almost weekly trips to the mountains here in WPA "Hundie Practice". Attempting to hit the wide variety of trails, dirt roads, pavement, and big climbs that only the mountains can produce on such a grand scale. Saturday would be my final practice before next week's Mohican.
I've done Mohican twice before and I'm anxious to get back. The "controlled adventure" as I call it of a NUE 100 race, makes them some of my favorite races to do. While my body does tend to shut down and want to die at about mile 60, it just makes that last 40 miles that much more of an adventure, right?
Each week on the "practice" rides I try to incorporate a new trail, or a new area of the mountain to spice things up. Saturday's ride was no different, and I'm really getting a feel for an epic of LARGE proportions that will happen this summer sometime. The thought of mapping out such an epic a mere 45 minutes from my house is sometimes more motivating than even doing the races.
This weekend, being a holiday weekend would pose a challenge. I wanted to hit maximum dirt, but knew that the multi use trails would have a lot of hikers and horses. So I edited out some of those trails, added in some extra single track and the result was passing only 3 cyclists and 2 hikers all day. Not bad. The ride started my normal spot on Rt. 31 and headed down Fire Tower to Seven Springs.
Then it up the gradual pavement and to the top of the mountain to hit about 80% of the 24 Hour Course and enjoy some of the new single track that has been put in. Coincidentally, I ran into builder of said single track- Matt Ross. Stopped for minute to say thanks to him. He did a great job. I mean trails don't build themselves, so thank your trail builders people.
After I feasted on that single track, I opted to not climb the slopes back to the lodge and another few miles of trail. Instead I took some gravel road back toward the North Gate so I could let Fire Tower take me to Cherry Trail and it's long down hill.
After Cherry it was climbing up to Red Oak Trail and taking that back to Jones Mill Road and the Lookout Loop and Jones Mill trails. All good stuff.
After I finished the rooty section of Lookout I was back by Rt. 31. Should I hit the car and head for home, calling it a day with almost 30 miles? Nahhh! So I cruised 31 down to Tunnel Road and headed to Auckerman Road. Auckerman is forest road with embedded rock in it. Starts off flattish, then you find yourself heading down hill, but not before doing a small climb. After that small climb things get steep and you do a llllllong descent. I mean this is forest road and my forearms were killing me from the loose rock, and braking.
Once a the bottom I opted to not do the Mountain View trails due to the amount of horse trailers I was seeing in the parking lots. So I headed to Rt. 381 and rolled on pavement down to Camp Run road.
The temps and the sun were pretty warm and my early single track feast left me a little more tire than usual, so when I hit the base of Camp Run Road I knew I was in for a hard climb. The last time I did CRR I did it all in my middle ring "Schmalzer style". NOT this time. I made it about 2 miles in before I took the granny gear bail out and spun up the road.
By the time I got to the top I was spent. While I did have some water left in my pack and a bit of carb drink left, I had nothing that wasn't the temperature of dog piss. I went through 2 bottles and a almost a whole 70 oz. bladder. 1 gel, 1 fun sized Snickers and one full size and close to rancid Snickers Charged bar.
While I sort of wished I would have had a little more in the tank after 4 hours in the saddle, I'm not gonna bitch. The ride was aces and I pushed myself and ended with over 12 hours of time in the dirt this week. I had planned a low key ride at Boyce today, but I think I'm opting to chill, rest, and get ready for next week's Mohican 100.
Hope you all are having a great weekend.