Friday, June 27, 2008

A Divine Mark

This past Wednesday Cale and I went out and rode Kettles, as we usually try to do. We were waiting for Gary and Bethany to arrive, so we went out and rode an orange loop. That is, we rode most of an orange loop... Cale got a flat, which we fixed with a tube from my kit. Then it went flat again- turns out the tube in my bag was a former flatted tube, instead of a fresh one. Well, that was that. I headed back to the parking lot while Cale tried to outrun the mosquitoes, swearing the whole way back about how he was going back to tubeless the minute he got the chance.

Back at the car we met Gary and Bethany, all set to ride. Cale fixed his flat and we were off on some combination of trails (I'm terrible at knowing which is which, though we ride out there all the time). For a while we all rode together for strength in numbers against the hordes of mosquitoes, but after a while Cale and I went off the front. When we stopped at an intersection (so to speak) to wait up, the skeeters got us, so we decided to tackle a hill on one of the intersecting trails rather than stand around. I'm not sure what loop it is, but I think it's the only hill out there with the plastic grating left on it. Very steep. I had my doubts while descending it, but managed to make it all the way up. Had the nasty plastic grating not been there, I probably would have spun out.

But enough with the boring details. Let me just say that I was feeling really good. I think the stars were aligned, but there are a few things that probably helped. 1) I've been losing weight like mad. All of this biking, plus being too nervous to eat a few days a week, have been doing wonders. I wouldn't recommend that combo, but I can't deny the results. 2) Hello negative air. My fork needed some air because I hadn't tuned it or anything since getting it, and I've definitely been breaking it in. While filling it, it was discovered that the negative air chamber had never been filled. Supposedly this means small bump sensitivity had been suffering. It's hard for me to tell the difference between negative air and not having it, but I thought that just maybe it felt a tad different.

In any case, I was feeling great and definitely getting more comfortable with leaning through the turns and going a little faster. I felt a really good flow- probably the best bit of riding I've ever had. It was like a glimpse of what mountain biking could be- fast and relaxed, but on your toes, light and skillful. That barely makes sense, but that's as close as I can get to describing it. It was great. So Katy, you ask, how did you get that very large bruise in the shape of the Virgin Mary on your thigh?

Well, let me tell you all about it. I was in this groove riding the new connector, very relaxed and riding along behind Cale. When all of a sudden Cale goes up and over the new large logover. My first reaction is 'Woah! No way, I'm not ready.' but my second reaction is 'Don't be a wimp, you've done it before and you don't need to think about it, you can do it.' Now, it was true that I've done it before to no ill effect, but it was not true that I could do it that day. The hesitation threw me off and then quite literally threw me off to one side of the log on the way up, leaving me sprawled across the descending logs. Well, I was pissed. I was pissed at the mosquitoes that descended upon my broken self, I was pissed that my bars were crooked and I was pissed that I hadn't made it over. So Cale straightened my bars and I tromped back up the trail to try it again, repeating 'I just wasn't ready' over and over again to myself and Cale, and later to whomever would listen. But anyway, the second time was a charm. Then we got the heck out of there.

Coming up tomorrow are the Single Speed championships. I'm not hardly nervous for them- I will show up and either I will be outclassed or I will win it. Why can't road races be this easy on me? I think that it's different because even if I don't win or place, I can still have a great ride by tackling the trail, which is something that just doesn't transfer for road and track. It would be awesome to win another state champ jersey, though...

Also in the news, we applied to host two racers for SuperWeek. Not really any news back yet, but we should be getting at least one. The more the merrier, I say. It'd be fun to have a BBQ or something to welcome them and have some friends over.

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