Saturday, May 2, 2009

Play Day at Chilhowee

Today's training called for 4 hours of mountain biking at a "comfortably fun" pace. My legs were happy again so I was all for a good day in the mountains. Zeke was excited to be riding for 4 hours without having to stop every 2-3 minutes to string tape or move debris off the trail.

We headed up to Chilhowee, one of the more technical trail systems in our area. There was a threat of rain/thunderstorms all day, but we did not care. After last week's win, I was ready to ride under any condition.

When we started, it was raining, so I threw on my Dollar General rain gear: a plastic shower bonnet on the helmet and a 13 gallon Glad trash bag over my core. I have found that this $0.25 combo works better than any high dollar rain gear. And once the rain clears I get to do "the Incredible Hulk" thing to remove it.

I could still feel last week's efforts in the legs, but after about an hour, my legs came alive. We rode up Clemmer and stopped at our prayer rock, something we always do when we ride here. Today's prayer went out to Dan and his family. He suffered a heart attack a few days ago. His coronary artery, the one they call the "widowmaker" became 100% blocked. The doc didn't know how he survived, but he did and is recovering well.

We then hit Azalea, which dropped us out on some fireroad. We rode the 15 miles of fireroad, which includes one screamin' downhill and one 3 mile Potato Patch-like climb.

On the descent, we whipped around a corner and came upon Mr. Bobcat. What a scare we gave him! He jumped up, legs spread eagle, and rushed off into the undergrowth. I always like seeing wildlife and tell my daughter about my "critters of the day." Carly was not impressed. So I asked her what would ... she replied, "a cougar, Mommy!"

On the climb back up, the sky cleared and the sun came out. I was feeling good, so I ramped it up a bit, but still in a comfortably fun pace. I pulled ahead of Zeke a bit, rounded a corner and bumped into two turkey toms. I expected them to fly at any moment, seeing as how I was only 30 yards behind them, but I guess they were getting in a leg workout as they ran up the road, just ahead of me, about 10 mph, for 1/4 of a mile. Yes, I watched my odometer! They looked like two velociraptors from Jurassic Park. It was quite funny. At the top of the rise they turned right and went over the ridge.

Zeke caught back up to me at the top and we had an enjoyable ridgeline descent back to the singletrack. We finished up the day with Slickrock and then bombed back down Clemmer. It was a great finish to a great day ... just me and my best bud!

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