First thing in the morning I went out for a headwind time trial only to find my bike moving a lot faster than I expected. I finished up with a couple of hillclimbs and then a leisurely ride home. The weather was perfect. All around me the brown had been, more or less, replaced by green grass. Above, there was nothing but crystal-ball blue sky with the occasional wispy cloud. Gorgeous.
As I came back to town, I found that the college triathlon was zipping past my apartment as part of its bike route, so naturally, I pulled over and watched. Those guys didn’t look like they were having too much fun, but I can’t help cheering for people doing sporting events. I even saw a couple of people I knew.
The Best (?) of Both Worlds
Saturday afternoon, me, my neighbor Dave (who built the triathlon bike) and newfound buddy Ryan (who knows every trail there is to know around here) went out to tackle a mountain bike trail on the Butte. I’ve done a lot of backtalking toward the Butte in the past because it’s a sandpit, and a pain in the Butte to ride on. Nonetheless, we trusted Ryan’s assurance that there was indeed a viable, rideable trail up there somewhere.
We parked and started unloading the bikes, and all of two seconds later, Dave piped up:
Bypassing a whole bunch of "Do Not Trespass" signs to get onto this sandy trail (Ryan says the trail’s banned to motorized vehicles, but not to horses, so we qualify for access under some middle ground reasoning), we immediately found the sand too deep to ride in. So, as predicted, we hiked, and hiked and hiked. Nothing like a little bike n’ hike.
I’ll admit the details to be a little sketchy, but at some point we got to riding again, until we came to what seemed like an impossible climb, where the three of us were hiking together. Dave cracked some joke about, "C’mon Caloi, you can ride in this, you big wuss" just as I was getting over the top, so I hopped on the bike and got riding. And the trail turned upward. It was sorta technical–volcanic rock mixed with patches of sand, mixed with gravel, mixed with more rock, but I managed to keep riding for a while in the second chainring. It was one of those classic mt bike climbs, where you turn a corner, climb some more, turn another corner and then climb again, so you never have time to be intimidated by the trail because you can never see more than 20 feet in front of yourself anyway. Awesome.
Finally, I pulled over to the side to let the other guys catch up. And I waited … and yelled out for the others … and waited some more … I didn’t ride that fast up this trail, heck … and finally along came Dave on Ryan’s bike, slowly working his way up the trail. I pulled my bike out of the way and invited him to keep right on going. He stopped right in front of me, caught his breath, said something about his granny gear and then tried to get going again, but ended up just jerking back and forth until he rolled over the crest.
A moment later, I realized I’d stopped 10-20 feet from the top of the climb, and that if I’d just kept going, I could’ve had a chest-pounding heroic moment. Weak.
The descent was a fish-tailing, sand-kicking blur of rock and tread. It was a lot of fun, but I’m sure by now you know better than to expect much excitement about descents from me. Let me just say I didn’t break my neck.
A Wrench in the Works
Sunday was a day of religious observance, as all of my Sundays are. Monday, for whatever reason, I went to the web site for the Teton Pass Climb and discovered that this year’s race falls on a Sunday. Now, I don’t know about you, but I won’t even do casual rides on Sundays because, as I just mentioned, that’s not what I do with my Sundays. So this means that despite all the talking up, preparation, consternation, intestinal distress, sleepless nights, torture at the hand of stationary spinning bikes, and winter ride frostbite I’ve endured out of dedication to this race, I actually won’t be racing it–this year. So that’s a bit of a blow to my summer race schedule.
So now I’m sorta wondering. The whole point of this blog was to talk about my preparation for that race, and now that I’m not preparing for that race anymore … hmmmm … I guess I’ve got to make some decisions about the blog, eh? …
Or find another hillclimb …
To be continued …