Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lightning Fast

I did not know that I could go that fast.   The trail had turned to a small creek, the wind was whipping around the contours of the rain soaked ridge and I was going faster than I knew that I could.   With lighting hitting the trees around me and wet cold branches slapping me in the face, I let the bike roll over the slimy roots faster than I normally would.  Maybe it was a burst of adrenalin, or some guardian angels keeping me upright but I was flying.

I arrived at the parking lot and seeing no one else at the appointed time, rolled out alone.  I spun up the switchbacks, finding a smooth pace and visualizing the race coming up.  By the time I had gotten to the top, the rain had started and the thunder was rolling.  I thought about turning back but had a 3 hr ride planned, and knew that these storms typically blow over pretty quickly....this one did not.

I never really noticed how much of a ridgeline the trail follows until this trip.  Interestingly enough, to the north I could glimpse blue skies, but to the south there was only dark grey punctuated by flashes of light.

As fear mounted up, I reminded myself to relax and have fun even thought conditions were borderline epic.  And that is what I did.  I focused and I got back down into the valley.   I only went down once,and landed on some soft clay, no harm done.

I got to the picnic ground and hung out under the overhanging roof of the smelly outhouse.  I was not fearful enough to hideout inside.
My faithful steed waited patiently with me while the storm rolled out.  After I felt safe enough to go again, we rolled up the pavement then to the gravel road climb.  I had hoped for some heat acclimation, but with the temps hovering around 70, that was not going to happen.   I tested my gears and found a good pace, again visualizing the looming race.  Or as Chris calls it, " a ride with 400 good friends".

As I ground my way up the road, I was pleased to see that the gravel was compacted and smooth, which will make the time on the road less, come race day.

I didn't get 3 hrs in, but I was greeted by a yearling black bear.  Of course the pictures did not turn out, so you will have to trust me.  We looked at each other, about 40 ft apart for a couple of minutes, before going our own way.

Encouraged and feeling peaceful,  experiencing the calm after the storm,  I loaded up and headed home to the loves of my life.

Have a great day.

Have a great day!!

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