I normally work most holidays - but not this Fourth of July! With Nick having a long weekend, I decided it was time to take a day off as well. Not to go any where, but to get up into the mountains and just ride. Two bigger days with a rest day in between would test my still recovering legs. But September is coming up quickly and it's time start getting those longer days on the bike. On Friday, we headed up Gold Camp at a chill pace. Once we got past St Mary's, the road was empty. It was perfect - quiet and just us riding. Nick let me mostly set the pace and we cruised up the hill, meandering away from the noise of the city. I tried to go a little faster, but Nick reigned me in - reminding me that I've only ridden the next two chunks of singletrack a few times. Instead of blowing up on the easy road, I needed to be smart and be ready for the trail. Its something I'm gonna have to remember for later - the roads are easy but real time can be had with the ability to ride downhill and technical singletrack. Time to chill a little - if possible with the heat! When we reached the turnoff, I was nervous - but ready. How would I handle the steep switchbacks and narrow singletrack awaiting me? Well - better then last time on the switchbacks, but the narrowness of the trail was getting to me. Haven't ridden that kind of fun in a while! I was slow on some stuff, but made a few other rocks that I haven't before. One still gets me though - a rock and root combo with a steep drop off to the left. If it was just the rock and root, I'd be find but the drop off gets me very time. There's another rock that's so easy but with such big consequences I've never wanted to try it. Maybe later.
Satuday off. A quiet day getting stuff done around the house. A quilt I've been working on for a while seemed like a perfect distraction. And the rest of the family wanted to help - cats are such good quilters! Or so they think!
Sunday. It took a while to figure out where we wanted to go and the temperature was climbing quickly. Back up Gold Camp we headed - this time a little faster. My legs were feeling better this trip into the west so I rode a little harder. Cadance has always been a week spot of mine - I'm a masher through and through, so this proved the perfect ride to try to spin a little better. Ugh. I hate high cadance stuff! And I wasn't even spinning that fast! Just something else to pay attention to in the next two months. Road climbs need a better cadance and mashing isn't the smartest plan. Nick was again worried that I was pushing too hard - I've only ridden down St Mary's once before and ended up waking quite a bit that time. Again - I needed to ride steady and at a solid yet sustainable effort level on the railroad grades so I've got the strength to ride hard on the singletrack. Despite the heat, I felt solid and ready to handle the coming descent. And I was. Made the switchbacks I'd missed the first trip down and was railing the rocky singletrack. My arms were still tired from 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest, but I was enjoying the ride. Up in the woods, away from the crowds of the city. It was awesome. Instead of being freaked out and wanting to walk half the trail, I was looking for the lines and having fun. Lots of talking aloud though.... I even made one switchback that Nick told me not to ride. Not sure how - but I was committed when I heard him say "don't ride it!" Down the rock, make the turn, look and lean - will I make it again? Haven't a clue! But I was excited that I'd managed that one time. We took a back way home, lots of fun singletrack and a bit of soil sampling. Same spot I've wiped out in the last three times I've riden that trail...
When we got home, we were both tired enough that flopping on the couch seemed like a great idea - even before the heat kicked in! I'm not a fan of those super hot days. Getting up early enough to beat the heat and the crowds is hard. But getting out of town and heading up and west is the perfect solution. I'm sure we will be doing a lot of that this year.