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Ten reasons why Mountain Biking is better than Road Cycling

Ten reasons why Mountain Biking is better than Road Cycling

President Bush Gives a Thumbs Up for Mountain Biking

  1. The Elements: On the trail during the winter you are out of the wind and during the summer you are out of the direct sun. On the road you are out in the open and exposed to the elements.
  2. The Terrain: Flowing trails are more fun then rolling roads. The flow of a trail is more dynamic than the road. You can pump it (depressions, logs, rocks and turns) for extra speed. You are constantly reading and working with the trail it is as much a part of your ride as the bike and your body.
  3. Getting air: Landing on the backside of a tabletop or double or jumping over a gnarly rock garden section is more of a rush then bunny hopping some railroad tracks or a pothole.
  4. Less pretentious: On the trail it doesn’t matter what color socks you have and it’s okay to have a triple ring or just one gear as long as you ride. If you have jeans with duct tape wrapped around the bottom so they don’t get caught on your chain ring but want to ride no one is going to comment on your attire.
  5. After ride grub: A burger and a beer vs. a latte and Croissant (you be the judge)
  6. The Learning Curve: On the trail you get your skills together and have more fun and get less bumps and scrapes. On the road you learn how to ride in a pace line so you don’t get heat from the other riders.
  7. The typical scenery: Ride on the trail to get some fresh air and commune with nature. Ride on the road to breathe exhaust fumes and compete with cars for a patch of the road.
  8. The Workout: While both forms of cycling provide a great way to get exercise. I think mountain biking provides more of a total body workout that stresses your legs, upper-body and core.
  9. The challenge: Road biking can toss some pretty steep and long climbs at you. These can burn you legs and lungs but when was the last time you were concerned about loosing traction on a road climb. Mountain biking has similar climbs but with obstacles, switchbacks, mud, rocks, and sand.
  10. The Fun Factor:Messing around in the lot before or after a ride is one of the bonuses of mountain biking. Tooling around on you bike hopping curbs, doing wheelies, or whatever floats your boat can be a blast. In my early days of mountain bike riding my friends and I would spend many an hour practicing wheelies and “bunny hopping” in the parking lot after our ride.
    Robbie McEwen Pulling a WheelieWith the exception of Robbie McEwen, I don’t think too many roadies are pulling wheelies at the end of their rides.
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A Snowy Mountain Bike Ride at Allaire State Park

I awoke Sunday morning to the alarm buzzing at 6:00. I put the Alarm out of reach so that I have to get out of bed to shut it off. As I got out of bed to shut off the alarm I looked outside to see snow coming down. I did not get out to ride last weekend so I was not going to let a little snow stop me, besides I had already loaded my bike inside the car the night before. I got ready dressing extra warm then had breakfast and left to go pick up Katie who would share the car ride down.

The drive to Allaire was a little over an hour and when we arrived the snowfall had been reduced to flurries. But about a inch of snow had already fallen on the trail. We greeted the other riders, then checked our tire and shock pressure, added some lube to our chains and cables then set off. The trail was frozen hard and the riding fast. As the day progressed it warmed up into the 30’s and we were pretty comfortable. We started out riding our usual route. After completing the toboggan run (a twisty bermed section that we generally go through at fast speeds trying not to brake and lose momentum) we tried a newer section of trail that we learned a couple of weeks back from the guys at Brielle Cyclery.

Getting some BIG Air at AllaireAfter that we rode the lower section of Allaire which can be muddy or flooded when it is warmer. We were rewarded for taking this route. The ground was frozen and the trail elves have hard at work building a series of bridges along the trail including a curved and rainbow bridge. after the lower section we rode “Tiger Woods” backwards then made our way to the other side of Allaire where we headed to the pit. The pit has some drops and jumps. We played around there for a while shooting some video then headed back to the lot. A few of the riders left to get some food and some of us went back for a short loop with a stop off at another Jump pit for some more video and pics.

Country StoreAfter that we met the other riders at the Allenwood General Store which is less than a mile from Allaire and has a pretty good grill where you can get breakfast or lunch.

Video from the Days Ride

Ride GPS Link

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2008 The Year in Pictures

In looking back at 2008 I have done considerably less riding than previous years but at the same time have gained a better appreciation for the rides that I am able to get in. In the past I would do many rides out of habit or necessity. For example pre-riding for a race or a weekly group rides. My riding this year has been more diverse as well completing a century on the road one week, a cross country ride the following, and then some downhill at Diablo. I really enjoy being on the bike I feel it is the best way to enjoy Nature or go sightseeing in a city. You can get around to more places than if you were on foot and are still part of your surroundings unlike if you were in a car or other enclosed transportation.

Here are some Photos and links from rides that have taken place in 2008

January Allaire State Park – Great for winter riding sandy soil -Tiger woods is great.
MarchCunningham Park in Queens NY
Lots of twisty singletrack and jumps but a short loop – Very Fun

AprilPapal Pedal: The Pope was in NYC so we took a road ride over the GW then Downtown and over the Brooklyn Bridge

MayDiablo Freeride park (US Open)

Memorial Day weekend my first time to Diablo.

JulyCentury Ride A story about an “epic” century

Dark Horse fourtyAugust – A great month for some firsts.
Katie Lamden completed her first Darkhorse 40 and wrote a guest post

Livestrong 100Doug completed his first road century at the Ramapo Rally it wa my 1st time doing the rally the following weekend I did my second Livestrong-100

(Not Doug)

SeptemberJorba Mountain Bike Festival A day of Rides, Contests, and Jeff Lenowski. Lots of Manufactures on site such as Specialized and Giant were there with Demo bikes.

OctoberReturn to Diablo: After a summer of riding It was back to Diablo the riding was great. If you have not been to Diablo you should try it.

November – A month with my annual Birthday ride at Mahlon Dickerson and The Thanksgiving Day Ride at Waywayanda

December – We pretty much rode at Skyline and Ringwood

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Eight Great Cycling Movies

As cyclist we don’t have many inspirational movies that center around cycling. After all when you think of a high energy montage that inspires you to want to jump out of your seat and hit the trails or the road the Overture from “The Barber of Seville” probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. (I hate to say it but Eye of the Tiger still gets me going)

I am not sure why there aren’t more movies with bike related themes. Maybe once Lance completes this next chapter of his life we will get a truly great movie (we already have the book).

So without further ado here is my list of the Eight Great Cycling Movies:

70’s Classics – The 70’s saw Gregg Lemond win the Tour De France, US Team 7-11 and the first mainstream cycling movie.
Breaking Away – This was the first bike movie I ever watched. It inspired me to get my first road bike a blue Peugeot.

Movie Highlights: The Race scene with the Fictional Team Cinzano and training ride with the big rig.

80’s Sleeper – Before Field of Dreams Kevin Costner starred in this sports related movie.
American Flyers I first saw this movie when I started Mountain Biking Back in 1999

Foreign Film – The movie is mostly in French with English subtitles.
2 seconds – Womens Downhill, bike messengers racing through the streets, an old tour rider, Campy vs. Shimano debate, and some lesbian action what more could you ask for?

Animated –
Proof a picture is worth a thousand words
The Triplets of Belleville – a grandmother, aided by the triplets and her loyal, overweight dog, tries to rescue her cyclist grandson, who has been kidnapped by gangsters. This film was one of the most popular in the entire Cannes festival.

Based on a True Story – Hope made him a dreamer. Heart made him a hero
The Flying Scotsman (2006) Nothing inspires like a true story. I came across this movie recently and thought it was great made 2 hours on a stationary trainer fly by.
The Flying Scotsman is a feature film based on the remarkable true story of Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree. In 1993, and as an unemployed amateur, Obree broke the world one-hour record on a bike of his own revolutionary design, which he constructed out of scrap metal and parts of a washing machine.

Comedy – Before Paul Reubens was caught in a theatre with his pants down he was on the big screen with the “coolest bike ever!”
Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
The story of an eccentric man-child Pee-Wee Herman embarks on the biggest adventure of his life across the USA. He sets out to find his beloved bike when it is stolen in broad daylight.
Adrenaline – High energy music and quick edits bring the action to your T.V.
Plush 2 – features rider sections for Cameron McCaul, Aaron Chase, Kyle Strait, Shaums March, and Kirt Voreis, plus a women’s race section, and an in depth interview with Eric Carter. Plush 2 features all five Norba NCS races, the Whistler Slope Style, the Rye Airfield BIG Wheels Competition, the Red Bull Bike Battle and the Red Bull rampage. Plush 2 will entertain and inspire for years to come.

Instructional – Watch this and ride better (with practice)
West Coast Style Freeride Fundamentals
A good instructional video can demonstrate a concept to you better than a book or sometimes even riding. West Coast Style takes you through techniques in a progressive manner and is constantly re-enforcing concepts. This video is put together in a logical and well thought-out format. Instructional segments are interspersed with segments of riders such as: Ryan Leech – pro trials and stunt rider, Shaums March – pro downhiller and Head Coach of Mad March Racing, and Jay “Hoots” – jump guru and builder of dirt jump parks in Vancouver.
Filmed on the North Shore, Squamish, Whistler Bike Park, and other renowned trails on Canada’s West Coast. 45 min

Bonus video: (It must be a Terry Saddle)

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Waywayanda Thanksgiving Day Ride 2008

The Thanksgiving Day ride is a mountain biking tradition that has been around since before I started riding the trails in NJ, and hopefully will be around for my daughter to enjoy when she is ready to come out on the ride. In the words, pictures, and links that follow I will try to re-create my ride experience for you.

I turn left into the park Godsmack’s Dead and Broken is playing on my XM radio. I look down at the clock it is 8:15 I am actually on time for once. As I drive towards the boat launch where the group will meet-up for the ride I see some runners jogging on the path that run parallel to the road. Their breath is visible so I place my hand on the side window of the car to get a sense of how cold it is outside.

When I left my house it seemed pretty warm for an early November morning but Just an Hour north west of NYC it is considerably colder. I am glad I brought some extra warm clothes. As I pull into the lot I see a few familiar faces. I pull up alongside Doug’s white CRV, he is taking a test spin on his brand-new Santa Cruz Blur LT which he purchased to replaces his 2007 Blur LT. I am still on my 2004 Cannondale Scalpel 3000. It has served me well these last 4 years, standing up to full race schedules, winter rides, and countless training rides.

I go over to Doug, say hello and check out his new bike. Stefan pulls in and I go over and say hello. This past year we have ridden quite a bit together. Stefan and Sean (who is not on the ride today) have taken me down-hilling a few times at Mountain Creek, lending me a bike, protective gear, and providing tips and some encouragement for the trails we ride.

I go back over to my car, unload my bike. My chain looks dry so I lube it up along with the derailleur cables. I am all ready to roll out but the groups are still forming so I ride around to keep warm stopping to say hello to other riders and catch up with some of them. After a little while we are off. Our group is a pretty big with about 20 riders. There are a couple of other groups that make up the B and C rides.

We ride over the dam and then make a right up a steep rocky section. The trees are mostly bare and the leaves on the ground make this section a little tricky. I make my way up my rear wheel slipping every now and then. The riders who have dismounted are quick to move off the line, A courtesy that is appreciated I am barely staying upright and any additional obstacle would surely have me on foot as well. After we reach the top of the hill we are met with a gradual rocky decent. The rocks make for good launch points and I get some “air” off them.

We then enter a rock garden section that is part of the race course it is about 50 yards long the last 10 being the most difficult. I clear the rock garden and pick my line through the rest of this technical section. After the technical section we reach a clearing where the group reforms.
The sun is shinning now and after our last effort riders are starting to peal off layers to prevent themselves from overheating.

Someone is fixing a flat so we have an extended break. My breakfast is sitting a little heavy in my stomach and I feel a little nauseous so this is a welcome rest. After five minutes or so I am feeling better. I spot Ellen White and go over to say hello. I comment on her pink custom color hubs and spokes from Industry Nine. After a little catching up on this past year race season Stef and I take off a little bit before the rest of the group up a fire road climb that is covered with leaves and strewn with rocks.

At the top of the climb we make a right and run into Art White (Ellen’s husband) we confirm the route that the group will follow. The route takes us a little further down the fire road then left up some rocky single track that curves to the right and then makes its’ way down into another rock garden. I clear all of it until I reach a steep uphill and spinout on a root. To the left of the top of the climb there is a downhill section that connects with a trail along the lake. The rain from earlier in the week and the thawing ground has left this section extremely slick and is making the off-camber trail even harder to ride than usual. I manage to clear most of it with a “dab” here and there, but I am happy when I ride clean through a rock garden that in previous rides I had not been able to clear.

I get to the end of the section and pull out my camera. I take some shots of riders coming through and have a Gu energy gel before going up a newly cut single track section. We ride along fire road looking for the trail entrance someone finds it and we all enter in a line. The loamy trail is freshly cut and winds uphill the trail is dotted with pink plastic markers. At the top we wait for the rest of the group a few riders set out to check out an old cemetery that is no to far from where we are. The other riders get to the top led by Jim Clausen and then we all start down a trail called Rattlesnake the route seems different than I remember from last year with some new turns and rolling sections. The trail ends as I remember with rocky water crossing which I blow. There is also a steep uphill rock face that I have only cleared on one occasion today notwithstanding. After the Rattlesnake we connect to a new trail, a rocky out-and back ridgeline that Jim has been working on. This trail is made up of natural and built up rock. One section curves and forms a berm. To the left of the ridge there is a steep drop off. I catch a pedal and I am pushed towards the edge. I quickly look over the edge and then back to where I need to go. I give a hard pedal with my left leg and lunge the bike forward back on line. (Seems like I have learned something after ten years of mountain biking.)
We stop at a Plateau at the top of the ridge. Jim has a few names for this trail but I personally liked Moab East. After a brief rest and some more pictures we start back out and connect onto split rock. The split rock trail leads ends with a tight twisty section of rhododendrons reminiscent of Tiger Woods at Allaire State Park. We end the ride on some fire roads at then hit the red trail for a final bit of fun. Jim, Stefan, and I are the last of our group we arrive at the lot and say good bye to one another and some of the other riders. I load my bike into the car and start my drive back. On the ride to where I will be having Thanksgiving dinner I reflect on the ride, the trails that various people have put countless hours into, and the people I have come to know through the sport of Cycling. I am truly Thankful for days like this.

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Inspirational Challenges

Lance Armstrong Inspirational Challenges

The other day I was reading an article titled How to stay inspired in tough times on the blog willitchangeyou. The article got me thinking about where I have found motivation and inspiration during the times when life has presented challenges to me.
One of the answers to this has been in sport and competition. While life’s challenges can be overwhelming because they may present you with a myriad of factors that are out of your control. Competition presents you with an opportunity to operate within a set of parameters that you have more control over. This can be empowering and provide you with the confidence to tackle life’s bigger challenges.
I think this is what makes racing (even if it is a small local race) so compelling; the chance to put out your best effort for a small amount of time and achieve a goal. I remember the first time I stood on the podium. It was for a 3rd place finish at Killington, Vermont. Leading up to the race I was really geared up and felt great. I pre-rode the entire course the day before and felt really confident about my ability to do well.
The night before the race there was a deluge. The rain made the course extremely slick with wet roots and grass, and mud like axle grease. The start of the race was an ascent up a paved road followed by a hair-pin turn onto a double track decent, then a hard right into the single track. During the decent I was thrown from my bike. I had been squeezed out by another rider trying to enter the single track. Fortunately the grass I landed on was soft and slick so I just slid across the ground taking out the barriers that were setup for just such an incident.
Every lap was grueling. I slogged through the mud, tires spinning over slick roots, and lung searing while pedaling up fire road climbs that seemed to wind endlessly up the mountain. During each lap I found myself wanting to bail-out. The section leading up to the lap/finish was considerably easier than other parts of the race course. I was kept going by the feeling that it wasn’t “that bad” and the cheering spectators at the lap/finish. As I rode back into the single track the cheers faded along with my enthusiasm, but I kept moving and finished the race.
When the race was over I was covered from head to foot with mud. I went back to the hotel to clean up. Afterwards I was going to head straight out for the 5 hour car ride back home, but decided to check the results from the race beforehand. When I walked up to the postings and saw my name next to 3rd I let out a shout of excitement. It was a great feeling only made better by walking onto the stage, stepping up onto the podium, and a kiss from the woman handing out the medals.

It’s not Just about racing
This weekend I ran a 5k that I have done for the last three years. It is always around my Birthday and is a self-affirming activity for me.

After the race I saw a few t-shirts that made me think about how a simple activity like running can be inspiring.
One pre-teen girl had a shirt that read “Some Girls Chase Boys – I pass them.” Through running this girl was able to transcend the sexist assumption that boys are better, stronger, and faster than girls. (she was faster than most of the boys and also her Dad who ran as well)
Another Girl had a breast cancer awareness shirt on that read “I ran for my Mom.” It struck me that if anything can make you feel hopeless, it is having a loved one being sick with a potentially terminal illness. Through events like Run for the Cure and The Livestrong, people can gain some sense of control. These events enable those who engage in them, a feeling that they can make a difference for those affected by an illness.
Please watch this video of Nick Vujicic, an amazing example of believing in yourself, and of not giving up.

Related Posts:
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Trail to Nowhere

Well I finally got around to posting Video from our trip to Diablo in Vernon NJ. It was a great day of riding and I really felt like I was starting to get some stuff happening (At least for me) I cleared the Box Jump, went down some pretty technical downhills, and hit some of the drops.

The video is of Sean and Stefan who were hitting some really sick stuff. To get to this drop we had to cross some pretty high and narrow skinnies the rest of the trail after this drop is fun too.
In short it was all good.

A shout out to Sean for lending me a downhill bike again

If he didn’t I might have wound up on something like this (If you take notice the fork is on backwards – This is a good reason to get your bike from a bikeshop and not the local Target or Wal-mart where the stock boy put it together)

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I picked a fight with Lance Armstrong

It was in Montgomery County on Sunday August 24th 2008 and together with other riders, runners, walkers, volunteers , and donators we raised nearly $3 million dollars for the 12 million Americans living with cancer today.
In the words of Lance
“Cancer is defiant. So we’re going to defy it. It’s persistent. So we have to persevere. It’s discouraging. So we must have courage.” The LIVESTRONG Challenge is an event uniting people to pick a fight with cancer.

I have done many organized events in the past, but the LiveStrong Challenge has been the best event I have ever had the privilege to be a part of from the packet pick-up to the post ride event everything is top notch and efficient.
On Saturday afternoon I picked up my registration pack and visited the expo center were I checked out some of the vendors like Yakima and Trek. Afterwards I filled out the cards that I would pin to my Jersey the next day during my ride They were in Memory of My Grandfather and Aunt and in Honor of a friend Don Gardner who is currently battling Lung Cancer.

This is always a moving experience as I do not generally spend time thinking of how Cancer has affected me. While I have been fortunate not to have been diagnosed with Cancer, It has taken away my Aunt, Grand Father, and few friends. During this time I am saddened that they are no longer here but at the same time I am inspired and motivated to do the ride and raise even more money for LAF.

After I left the indoor Expo center I visited the Trek Tent again and took a Their All Mountain bike the Remedy 7 for a test ride.
The guys at the Trek Tent were really helpful and Dialed in the suspension great for my Test Ride. This bike is fun to ride, wheelies great and the suspension made the Jump I took of the Loading dock feel like a drop from a curb (barely a chain slap)

On Saturday evening the team received our bike jerseys and later met for Dinner at the Iron Hill Brewery a great place to eat and drink with some great brews made on the premises.

The Livestrong Challenge provides riders with an exceptional route that is clearly marked. Police and/or course marshalls are at almost every turn, Rest stops are every 10 miles and compete for your vote to be nominated the best rest stop. Roving Sag and Maintenance vehicles were visible throughout the ride.

This is my second year doing the Livestrong-100 and it was definitely more difficult for me than last year.
(My riding has been erratic at best Having weeks with 150+ miles comprised of structured rides and endurance miles followed by weeks where I am lucky to ride to the corner store.)

I found myself struggling to keep any kind of a pace on the climbs (In the past I would welcome the climbs and power or spin up them) This year I was standing on the pedals in the smallest gear I had slowly making my way up. On some of the climbs I was able to find my old (or should I say younger) self. I also found inspiration in a Poster that was in the expo center. It had a quote from Lance that said “Pain is Temporary If I quit however, it will last forever” I was able to dig deep during the last 15 miles trying to finish in 6 hours I pushed the pace to 20 mph finding other riders to pace line with and leapfrog between when I finished I was spent I went to my car and laid down for a while with a cold water. Afterwards I got changed and met with some of the team members at the Beer Garden Yes there is a Beer Garden along with a great post ride meal that is nothing short of a feast with Pizza from Pizza Hut, Pasta, Salads, and a Variety of Hoagies;Subs;Po-boys or whatever they call them where you are from.

I was a member of Team Charlie’s Buds Which was started In Memory and Honor of Charlie Yates. The team was made up of 39 members and beat it’s Fundraising Goal of 15K by raising over 23 thousand Dollars this year

I would like to thank those who Donated:

Carolyn Pullman, Diane Haser, Elissa Nelson, Karen Williams, Mark Sganga, Susan Williams Tim McConville , and Trish Williams, BP for their Sponsorship, and our Team Captain Ian Fisher for keeping us motivated and informed.

Click Here to Donate

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Ramapo Rally 2008

The Ramapo Rally hosted by the Bicycle Touring Club of NJ was held this past Sunday.

I have a mixed review of it In fairness I should point out that a friend and I got there a little past 8:00 AM so we missed the last 100 mile group to roll out. The staff at registration was nice and efficient It took about 5 min to register and get out rolling. The route was really enjoyable with mix of mostly rolling terrain, some hillier sections, and some newly paved downhills. We rode with some other riders along the way everyone seemed to be in pretty good spirits and enjoying themselves. The rest stops were 25 miles apart which worked out fine for yesterday but I would be concerned if the day was hotter or more humid 25 miles might be a stretch. The stops were well stocked and the people running them were accommodating and friendly. The main issue that I had with the ride was the discrepancy between the painted arrows and the cue sheets. For the most part the cue sheets were correct but there were a few times were we had to stop and ask for directions and pull out my friends i-phone to check Google maps. As far as ride support goes I do not have a personal experience (Fortunately no mechanicals) but I did run into another rider who had an issue with his tire and as a result had 3 flats. After running through two of his own tubes he called for support. The response he got was that he was too far out and would need to get to the next rest stop. He was able to get a ride from someone (not with the ride) when he got to the rest stop they did not have a tube so fortunately the guy who picked him up drove him to the bike shop and then back to the rest stop. I took my time about 8 hours for the 105 miles when we got back to the stop most things were coming down. I was able to get a sandwich and a soda but it was pretty slim pickins (Guess if we went out with main group we would have been back in time for a better experience)

I would do the ride again but show up earlier. If I am feeling more fit next year and a little faster 6hr 100 mile. I may even shoot for the 125 option
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I "survived" the Dark Horse 40 race

This is a story from Katie Lamden about her 1st MTB Race (I should point out it was a 40 miler)

Nice Job Katie – Here is her story

I “survived” the Dark Horse 40 race at Stewart Forest this past Sunday. The course was 2 laps of a 20 mile loop of probably about 95% singletrack, in a mix of forest and open fields (mostly woods). Not very technical, but there were lots of places on the course (maybe 10 obstacles) where people would get off and run their bikes. Mostly short, steep little climbs with roots at an angle across the trail or something like that. The first 10 miles of the race were terrible – so many people in front and behind, and I was alternately annoyed at someone ahead of me for putting their foot down and screwing up the whole pack, and mortified for doing the same exact thing and causing people behind me to curse at me and then come by in a big rush, forcing me off the trail to wait for a break in the traffic to get back in. After the first 10 miles it spread out more and it was a lot less stressful. There were a few too-short sections of carriage road, where I always passed at least 4 or 5 people. I was a lot more fatigued on the second lap, of course, but it was more pleasant nonetheless because that whole scene of struggling to pass people or having them pass me was gone, and I mostly saw the same 6 or 7 friendly people and got to chat with them a bit. There was a girl just behind me in the same class (Sport) whom I had passed when she had a mechanical earlier in the second lap. So I knew she was a better rider and I’d have to really push to keep ahead of her…There was also a girl in the Sport class right in front of me who I thought I had a chance to catch. So I had some external motivation to counter my tiredness. With 5 miles to go I realized I still had some energy left and could afford to pour it out, so I really pushed the last few miles (the more rooty, twisty singletrack bits were making me dizzy in the last 2 miles and I’m actually amazed I didn’t crash). It was a really exhausting experience! Like doing a 100 mile road race and being in a breakaway for 80 miles of it – I had that same sense of pushing at the limits of maintain-able strength the whole time. And I am so sore now I can’t believe it. Back, arms, shoulders, wrists, THUMBS….yikes. But it was a lot of fun – including the beer and BBQ after the race.I ended up second in Sport, with the girl ahead of me finishing about 4 min in front, and the girl behind coming within 3 minutes of my time (4 h 36 min). Pretty close for such a long race! It was VERY humbling to note that the winning (expert class) woman’s time was almost a full hour less than my time, and the winning guy did it in 2h 52m! Amazing. I have a long way to go to develop my skills (but thanks to all of you who have driven me to rides, given me great advice, and helped me gain the minimal ability I currently possess). I may just be hooked on a new sport, and take to haunting a section of bikereg I’ve never paid any attention to before…
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