Elevation: 6400 feet
Temperature: 33-63 degrees
Ride Time: 5:10
Single speed or gears? I mulled over this for several hours the night before, especially after making 5+ trips up/down the stairs at DH's. Prior to camp, the longest I had ever ridden my SS was the Snake pre-ride at 3:45. And I had never done epic back to back SS days. But the "loves to suffer-me" won over the "wimpy-me," TKO-style.
After a short bit of pavement which was not near long enough to wake my sleepy legs, I began a short, but rather steep single track climb up to Barrel Roll. Oh, how my legs were desperately wanting to hear the "clickety-click" of changing gears. Nothing but the heavy breathing of the owner of those tired legs. After much begging, the legs were there.
And the trail opened up and swallowed me whole! Being relatively flat, it was one of those trails where as the speed increased, the fun factor rose exponentially.
|Mustering of the troops on Barrel Roll|
The 20 minute pedal up Cove Creek Wash was at a steady L2 pace, so ordered by coach. It was nice to dial it back a bit and eat/drink some. Several guys passed and normally that would get my competitive juices flowing, but I was enjoying riding my bike so much, I could care less.
|Cove Creek Wash, 4% grade.|
The final push to the top was quite steep and I encountered a section of freeze/thaw. My bike went from sub-20 pounds to >25 pounds in two pedal strokes. It was DSG-like mud! Just a little taste of how bad the desert could be when wet.
The Stucki Trail was the world's longest pump track! Aside from a few brief out of the saddle climbs, it was a 4 mile stretch of gently descending whoop-de-doo's. Some mud was encountered but was quickly shed at high speed. It was here that I got nicely acquainted with the Garmin as there were off-shoots everywhere. This breadcrumb trail was most delicious!
The climb back up to Gas Tank Hill was like a series of terraces. There was a lot of grinding and grunting on my behalf. At the top, I met up with some other campers. After I caught my breath, I was able to speak a greeting. One gent was kind enough to lift my bike over the barrier..
After more to eat, I began the descent to Racecourse. After some ups and downs I caught up to the front runners. DH had a massive tear in his tire and the group was wanting to see MacGyver in action.
|With 2 boots, the tube was still sticking out through the 1 1/2" gash.|
It was most unfortunate the he had to bail, although his handy work did get him home.
At the first Barrel Cacti descent, JK was filming. The video really doesn't do justice to the difficulty of this section. Being on a hardtail, today's ride down was a bit different and more heinous. It was just about beyond my and my bike's ability. I rocked the first half, but towards the end, my rear end became a pogo stick, I got a bit squirrely, and took the wrong line. As I was careening toward destruction, I heard a collective gasp from the crowd below. Luckily, with my cat-like instincts, I was able to save it. A collective sigh greeted me as I rolled up to the group.
|And where is the trail?|
Zen was fun, but a bit tougher today. There was definitely more hiking involved. However, I did manage to clean this section.
A combination of 2 days on the single plus hairy scary descents drained all my energy. The fatigue monster was on my back and I felt it from my shoulders to my toes. I was definitely in the pain cave towards the end, but managed to get in a zone and crank out the last bit of climbing.
We gathered at the food trough, aka Golden Corral to fill empty bellies and drained bodies. I won the Ninja Bike Skilz Award and walked away with a bag of CarboRocket 333 and Smart Wool socks. Zeke won the "True Grit Award" for passing a kidney stone, more like a boulder, and then doing the ride. For his painful effort, he received a bag of CarboRocket as well. Which he then gave to his BFF!
After today's ride, I am happy to report that I am feeling more like a desert rat with decent GPS skills.
VJ Jazzy Jeff's footage of Day 2: