Ok, it wasn't that bad. Never mind that I hadn't been on a mtb since August. Never mind that the last time I did more than 60 miles was back during Crank N Camp in November. Never mind that we changed a flat in the cold rain, outran a train (ok so maybe it was only moving at .5 mph and a guy was standing there telling us we could go around it), or did a total of 80 miles, 4 different trails, and finished up the ride on the Keystone going north directly in to a heavy, rainy, 15-20 mph wind.
But it was all fun. Today was the kind of ride where, after you're done and sitting in the shower going on half an hour (10 minutes past total prune status), you contemplate if they'll ever create time travel. If it ever came to be, the only thing you'd want to do is go back and give the person who created hot showers a hundred dollar bill. Cause you know, that would've been like a billion dollars back in their days.
I met up with Ryan F at Crane, had some wakey juice, then we scooted up to Tranquility. We met up with Mr. Miles and Dale. I was already falling off these guys cause, well I'm not that stellar at bike handling. I'm good enough to go at normal mtbers easy pace. But as soon as they start picking it up, I'm left fanagaling the technical stuff. Even when Dale goes on his fixie 32tx16(?), I can't keep up. Sigh. I'll get better with practice.
So after Tranquility, Dale bid us farewell so we could travel at people-with-gears pace. As we yammered about all staying together, he stopped us with, "If you wait up for me, I'll stop." Oh. Ok. So that decided that. So Mike, Ryan and I headed downtown, over the BK Bridge, and up North to Lewis n Clark. I had forgotten how hilly that place was! It felt like you were going up hill all the time. Also, it was on this trail that I figured out that changing the chain did not help my skipping issue. So maybe I need a new cassette. Worse still, it could be a freehub issue. In the latter case, I'm not sure what I could do as I think that would be a pretty expensive repair.
Anyway, as we were just leaving LnC, Dale was just arriving. We all said "hi," in passing and us 3 guys were headed Southbound to Manawa. After a quick stop for water refill, we got to the trail and I started slowing way down. My back really started to feel the different position, the wider foot stance, and the jarring of the trail. I was watching Ryan and Mike go up the trail, threading through the trees like it was nothing, and I thought to myself, "Man it'd be nice to have a full suspension 26er." I have a fully rigid 29er and I was feeling it. My pressure was down to the low 20s, but still, at this point in the ride, I was needing a break.
So break we did. We stopped at the Caseys general store right North of Manawa and at some Pizza and guzzled soda. MMMMMMmmm. Perfect refuel stuff. After a quick trip over the South O Bridge and some getting wetter rain, we did our final stop at Swanson. We cut out Jewell since I complained enough and we really didn't need to head any farther South since the North wind was going to kick our butts pretty good. Plus I'm glad we did that since by the time we would've gotten to Swanson after Jewell, the trail would've probably been un-rideable. So our lap was not bad, but still really slow to normal standards. This is where Ryan got his flat. He got that changed in time before we complained too much about getting cold.
Then was our slog into the rain spittling wind. Ugh. I was pretty toasted by this point so maintaining 15mph was not going very well. Ryan was apparetly in great shape since he had to keep looking back and sitting up after pulling away from us. Glad you're riding that strong buddy. Give em hell this year at the races.
So after getting cleaned up and not so pruney, I'm feeling pretty good now. And by good, I mean ready for a nap.