I know that FFW is stronger than I anyway and he has been logging some 60 miles loops lately. Dang! I am slacking. So when I got home the winds were still jammin' right from the direction I would be pedaling for at least an hour...uphill. Sigh. Sure would have been easy to write it off, but I suited up, put my light onto the Carve Pro SS, packed some extra layers and clear glasses for post sundown work, and pedaled out.
The 20 Mile Loop is a great training ride and especially so on an SS as it is one big set of intervals from start to near finish. Climb, drop, climb, drop, rinse, repeat. This ride used to be my litmus test for fitness. If I could ride it (geared) with out feeling like my legs were gone, I was doing OK and a 2 hour and 30 minute time was about right. Phah! Now I do it on the SS in two hours door to door. Time marches on but sometimes the beat (or beat-down) changes.
The wind was pretty bad and set me back a full ten minutes at the 10 mile point. It did make for a better workout though. I was the only one out there on an SS. Shoot, I was the only one out there at all on ANYTHING without a motor and climate control. Cold wind, too. What to do? Pull the Buff headwrap down over the ears and turn up the iPod shuffle a notch or two. Pedal. Pedal. Pedal.
Hitting the dirt I was still well ahead of sundown so I stopped to stretch the hamstrings and quads. I have been adding some body weight squats of different kinds, including one legged versions, and following with targeted stretching of those areas. I have some thoughts as to my issues with leg cramping and tight muscles. Will being more limber help there? Not sure, but being well stretched is good for all living things so it can't hurt.
The first dirt climb is a real booger. Steep, loose and steep, it is a real bummer on an SS. However, a recent ride on Gridley Trail, a 90 minute granny ring climb, seemed to show that the leg squats have been building some leg power. I felt this way again on this dirt climb. Legs good. Lungs/heart less so. I recover very fast as far as cardio goes, but I just cannot hold those high heart rates like I used to in my younger years. Oh well. The Carve with the American Classic SS wheels and the Protection X Kings from Conti are a pretty awesome combo for getting up a steep rise in the trail. Push hard, go up. I am getting spoiled here with a lighter, faster SS ride. Makes even old guys look good.
The wind had dropped off and the next 5 miles were bliss....tricky carving corners full of loose rock and ruts, fast drops that require a dropped outside pedal and a Clint Eastwood squint to commit to the line without flinching, then drawing the six shooter on the next rise in the trail, never sitting down, just shooting from the hip like Clint would. Good, bad, ugly as applied to 29" wheels and one gear.
As the sun hung on by the fingernails on the horizon's edge, I turned right and dropped into Foreplay to G-Out. This added some miles and more cimbing, something I typically do not do at this point, but FFW is taunting me with his thrown gauntlet to go bigger. Ok then. Hero dirt on a roller coaster of a trail was the reward. No one else, just me. I am really getting dialed into the Carve and it just ripped it up down there...flow happened.
Turn left and up...up...up...and just as the sun went to bed I topped out at The Towers. No wind...huh...it was actually warmer now then when I began. Nice. Layered up, light on, dropping in. Fast is as fast does and I can coast with the best of them....zoom zoom. The new home made light is so darn good. Bright enough to scare the zombies away and very rideable in beam pattern. Total success so far. I barely even need a headlamp now, but that is coming too...headlamp V 2.0.
Rolling home I passed a pizza place and the aromas coming from there were stunning. I thought of how cool it would be to stop in, get a pizza, warm up my toes, and head out for another loop. But family called and someone was waiting at home for me.
FFW, I am the guy behind you in the sarape, standing in the middle of the street next to the saloon. See the squint? The guns are next.