Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A staggering but good wrap up to the year

Yesterday I put in what will be my last - or maybe next to last depending on how motivated I am today and tomorrow - ride of the year.

I don't know if yesterday's ride was a metaphor of some sort. I suspect it was a just a series of events that occurred on the same day. I don't like to make things out to be more than they are. Suffice it to say though, yesterday's ride was not the smoothest ever.

It started out OK - took a little bit to get my butt out of the PJs into some spandex and out the door. This isn't really anything unusual - like I've said before often the hardest part of my ride is the part between the couch and the saddle.

I got into the car and found an empty tank of gas. Much less stressful since that invisible hand has decided to push prices down to $1.52/gallon. When I was gassing up at the local mom&pop petrol station I noticed that my saddle wasn't quite straight. Turns out that some time in the past week or so I suspect my fat ass bent one of the rails on my saddle. I'm not really sure what happened, but the saddle was so badly off kilter that had I ridden on it I suspect I would have experienced some pretty nasty bio-mechanical issues.

So I swung home and after a failed attempt at straightening the rails with a pair of pliers I decided that I needed to replace the saddle with one that was sitting in the garage. After about 10 minutes of futzing (btw: spell check doesn't flag "futzing" ... interesting) around with a box-end wrench in the corner of the garage I got the new saddle off the seatpost it was on in the garage and hauled it out to the car and tossed it on the Jake.

So I got the bike all squared and headed back towards the Carderrock Recreation area. After missing a couple turns I finally ended up where I was supposed to be. I got the garmin on the bike, the camelback on my back and headed out for the trail.

Well I found the wrong trail. I read something online that said there was a short trail that headed to the towpath. I found a short trail. Unfortunately it was the wrong short trail. Turned out it was the billy-goat trail. Up and down, craggy and narrow. I rode on the trail for a few yards and it finally got so narrow that I had to shoulder the bike. I hit a point where the trail switched from leaves and brush to rock. In my mountain biking shoes I attempted to venture over the rocks. This was a mistake.

The KonaShoes with plastic tread don't have a lot of "grippiness." In fact they have zero grippiness - they can dig into the mud, but they don't do dick to keep your feet under you on a slick rock. So it was - whats the phrase - ass over teakettle - for me - feet in the air, bike flying off the trail and my coccyx landing square on million year old rock. It hurt. Jumping up and down bouncing around hurt. Burn the roof of your mouth on a piece of pizza straight out of the oven hurt. Fortunately the hurt didn't last forever. I was able to shake it off - hobble down the trail and get to the towpath. It still hurts a bit today, but its going to get better.

After that the ride went really well. Other than having to navigate through a zillion people aimlessly wandering around the greater Great Falls area on their day off it was a good ride. The out was harder than the back because it was slightly up hill and into the wind and I probably need to swap the tires out for something with a little less tread - but all in all a great ride.

I'm getting very excited about the training season for the C&O Towpath ride. The first training ride on the trail has been set for January 11th and I'll be spinning down at Hains Point on the 1st.

The towpath ride is an extremely exciting challenge. It's a huge ride and is going to require me focus on building my endurance and keeping a sharp eye on my training. I feel like I am up for it and it looks like I have a good crew of folks who are interested in riding with me. I expect I will have more updates on training in this space over the coming year.

Below is a map of yesterday's ride.

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