Thursday, October 11, 2012

Simple ORAMM Loop

 It has been a while since I have ridden the ORAMM loop so I figured it was time.  I thought I might have some endurance left after the Stage Race, and decided to park at the top of Mill Creek Rd instead of at the geyser.  For some reason, I thought that starting with Kitsuma and ending with long gravel climb would be a good idea.  Actually, I knew that if I parked at the geyser, I would not be riding Kitsuma.   

I started off chilled and shivering.  It was a bright sunny morning with a brisk wind blowing around the valleys and ridges and I was excited about spending the day alone in the woods.  I headed up the Kitsuma switchbacks and across the ridgeline into the Old Fort Picnic ground.  Up the pavement, through Graphite, up and over the tracks onto Lower Heartbreak.   I love this area.  I have learned so much about riding and endurance, pacing, nutrition while training and racing ORAMM.  Today, I was pleased that nutrition was not one of my main concerns.   To say my nutrition is dialed might be overstating it, there is always room for improvement.  But,  I have it down pretty well and it has become second nature. 

Up and over to Star Gap, and then Jarret's Creek road.  I was surprised to find the road packed and well trodden after the first gate.  It appears that there has been a lot of vehicular traffic, cutting down on weeds and packing the road.  It was fast,  not that I went fast, but the potential was there. 
 Left turn on Curtis Creek Rd, and I was feeling sluggish.  I argued with myself about whether or not I should continue.  In fact, I argued until I was halfway up CC rd, and there was no way I was turning back. 

As I climbed, I thought through different things that are happening in life right now.  Lots of exciting things, lots of pressure, lots of baggage from life stuff.  Kids have it good.  They have the thrill of life around them, less the baggage that accumulates over the years.   I'm making it my goal to reduce the amount of baggage that my kid accumulates as a result of growing up in my house.  I'll let you know how that 20 yrs.   
 Winding up, twisting turning,  this would have made an awesome singletrack route.  A mini van passed me and the older woman rolled down the window and said "Wow".  I assume she was impressed, but she could have meant otherwise.  I stopped briefly to greet the ranger, who told me about the garter snake that had just spooked him.  Onward and upward,  grinding slowly,  left on the parkway and more grinding, up the long hill.  I again, stopped briefly to chat with a  guy riding his bike to Boone and coming back on Saturday.   A few miles later, I saw another cyclist.  He was riding from Little Switzerland to Mt Mitchel and back. 

I bombed down into the gap and then spun my way up to Heartbreak Ridge Trail.  I took a break at the gap before descending. I won't say that I bombed down, because that would be a lie,  but I did remind myself to use my brakes less, and focus on smooth lines through the corners.  Maybe it will make me faster, maybe not, but at least I'll have to buy less brake pads. 

On down, through the creek and over the tracks then up Mill Creek Rd.  Its funny,  the gravel road climb can be long and grinding, but after Curtis Creek Rd, its not as bad.  Relative....

And then I was at the top,  changed and heading down through Black Mountain,  and some Okie Dokies Smokehouse BBQ to top off my weekend. ( I realized on my ride that Thursdays have been my only "day off" recently,  and so I have adopted it as my weekend)

No comments: