Hartman's ROCKS

No Sage... A disappointment yet an opportunity - it all depends on perspective. We choose to make it an opportunity. After all, we've never really gone and played out at Hartman's. It's always been pre-riding for a race, racing or recovery riding after a race. Not this time. We had a long weekend with nothing to do but ride, relax and hang out with friends at the KOA. Of course we did a lap of the 24 hour course - can't go out to Gunnison for weekend and not do a lap for old times sake. I'm going to miss that course. It was always a good test to see how far I've come with my technical riding - from freaking out at the sight of the rocks on Behind the Rocks to this year's perfectly clear run. Even the slab on Rocky Ridge wasn't a struggle this time around. I'm sure we will ride out there plenty more - but never as part of the best mountain bike race at a party. 
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Of course we will ride out there more! Josho's? Super fun... 

Friday was time for Aberdeen. One a few trails we haven't ridden yet. Nick and I headed up to Hartman's with the Ascent Cycling gang - we were all planning on riding Aberdeen and company is always nice. Except I wanted to ride Rattlesnake and they didn't. We figured we'd meet up on Josh-Os and then ride the rest of it together. Except we never saw them again. Nick and I hopped on the Powerline road at the junction and then rode Outback and Back In. I love Back In - rolling rocks, some ledges and quick turns. Didn't used to love it but it's a fun trail now! Then Skull Pass. Since the Ascent boys were nowhere in sight, we seasoned then main stop a few times and played with lines on one of the other rock sections. Still no Ascent boys. Oh well. Time to head to Aberdeen on our own. 
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Skull Pass descent - once you know what the line it, it's not all that scary actually! 

Aberdeen was interesting. Isolated, a thin ribbon of trail among the Sage with no trace of humanity except the power lines. Long, gradual climbs reaching for the summits of the rolling hills, followed by quick, flowing descents. Hardly any rocks at all except those armoring the switchbacks. A great fitness loop - no one around meant we could rage if we wanted - but we didn't. Like most of Hartman's, no shade at all - and it was hot. Very hot. I was happy to have filled the hydrating bladder in my Rev 18 all the way full!  We'd hoped to treat water down by the quarry, but Nick didn't trust the look of the water. It was slimy and dirty. So instead of taking the long way out and exploring the new trails, we headed back to camp the shorter but still fun way - Skyline, Rattlesnake and the Notch. I got the chance to try a few new lines on Rattlesnake - lines for riding, not racing.  

Hartman's Rocks - Rocky Ridge. A classic trail on the Sage course

Back at camp and we met up with the guys - Scotty had torn a sidewall and they had turned around as to not get stranded out in the middle of nowhere. Without a race, Nick and I stayed up well past my bedtime, just hanging out. Such a change from the pre-race nerves. 
Sunset at the KOA did not mean lights and warm clothes this year. It meant tall tales and comparing Strava times!
Saturday. I wanted to do a long run. July is only 11 short months away and I want to build up the right way. There had been some talk of a "group ride" on the course at noon, but it never got past the talk point. So I decided to run a lap on the Sage course for my long run. Got my first real test of the Osprey Rev 1.5 Nick got me - tank top, hot weather and a full pack. And it was comfortable - so much easier then fussing with my water belt - and I have the Rev Solo which rides really nicely. I wasn't looking forward to the two miles of blacktop to get to the base area, but once there - fun running. I think I was the only person on two feet instead of two wheels though! Running gave me a different perspective on the race course - the gradual climbs were much more noticeable on two feet. The descents also a little more challenging and the rocky sections requires more thought. I've ridden dozens of laps and know the lines on the bike. But not running. I had to pay attention to what I was doing! The lap was a little longer then I'd anticipated (or paid attention to...) but I was feeling good and just having fun. All I was planning on was the run, so I didn't really care if it was a little long.

No, my bike didn't break! Time for a different way of exploring...
The boys were out riding when I got back so I was able to just relax and chill out in the shade at the KOA. Making smores and swapping tales with the guys around the campfire that night made it even better. 
Campfire night two - more tall tales, vodka lemonades and relaxing with friends.

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