Soaking up Zen

After spending Sunday night with the Steamboat/HoneyStinger crew it was time to start the vacation proper. We'd finished the race and were both upright and able to pedal. Bikes needed some love and attention and we were almost out of food. Next step? Condo in St George for a few nights to resupply, shower and get ready for some more fun! We were staying at a different place this time, right at the trailhead for Barrel Ride and Zen trails. Perfect location and very convenient for everything we wanted to do. I could run easy on the roads or drop down into the trail system for something a little more fun and challenging. We could ride right from the door and hit up the best trails without getting in the van. And we were able to get everything cleaned up from the race - the bikes, all the clothes and dirty dishes. Seriously, 24 hour races create a lot of clothes - and when the washer is and dry are tiny compact things, it takes a long time to get it finished... As such, Monday was a well deserved rest day that we managed to fill with post race chores.

I knew the first ride after the race needed to be a little easier, so we opted for Barrel Ride. It's still a climb, but on easier single track or double track. We could tell that there's been a lot of work done since our last trip out in March. There were new trails spider webbing off with road in all directions. If we'd both been more motivated, we could have explored all day in the Barrel Ride area. But I wasn't ready for a big exploring ride. My legs were tired and the easy pedaling of the double track felt pretty good. Besides, the main goal whenever we ride in the Barrel Ride area is to ride the singletrack traverse along the south west edge of the mesa and the Waterfall drop. It's the most challenging feature in the True Grit Epic and the one with the most consequences for messing up. Always a good idea to be comfortable riding that little section. And besides, it's a lot of fun!

It's a large world yet to be explored
We were ready for Zen the following day - or so I hoped. Because the short six miles of Zen is one of the hardest six miles I've ridden, I'm always a little concerned going into it after a race. There's nothing that can be faked out there. You either have to totally commit or get off. Usually I'm pretty committed, but this time, I wasn't quite as spunky or ready to ride as usual. I didn't ride as much as normal, missing a few of the bigger sections that I've gotten comfortably in the past. Mostly on the up hills though, when I didn't have the power in my legs to get up and over and stay committed to the move. Oh well. That is the nature of riding after a race. I did almost make the switchback into the wash this time though! No issues dropping down into the switchback and started to make the tight right - then I bailed. One reason to head back to St George! I need to work on that section a little more. That might not happen next year though. We may be taking a break from the desert racing in 2017.

Got this one to stop for a photo on the edge of Zen! Too bad the sun was in our eyes!

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