Elevation gain: 4800 feet
Ride time: 4 hours
Temperature: 30-60 degrees F
I was riding Solo today, my 2010 Specialized SJ SS, with a 32 x 21. Today was my virgin ride with what will become my two best friends during the TNGA race, SPOT and GARMIN. At 9:30am we campers congregated in the Albertson's parking lot. Wow! It was a Who's Who of ultra-endurance phenoms. It was going to be super cool to ride with these giants in a non competitive atmosphere.
|Eszter, Dave, and Lynda: National Champs and Enduro Junkies|
Today's course was an out and back. A short uphill pavement pedal helped to get the juices flowing and awaken the legs. The fun began with desert single track. The Pioneer Trail was first on the list. I shed my windbreaker before starting. With bluebird skies and a big ball of fire in the sky, I was already quite toasty. I could not help but smile as I meandered through the flowiness, watching the line of campers stretch out in front of me to the horizon.
The Powerline Trail was a rough jeep road with a series of big descents and climbs. It was pretty rough and required concentration to hold your line. Unbeknown to me, my camera decided to yard sale on one of these descents. All was fine and dandy until I stopped along the mile long stretch of ankle deep sand to take a pic. After my initial "Oh, crap!" thought, a calmness came over me. For some reason, I just knew I would find it on the return.
So I continued to plow through the sand. This obstacle was about 1 1-1/2 miles long and 2-10 inches deep. Glad I was on big wheels, because it was all I could muster to pedal through on this slighty downhill stretch of sand. Turning left, I encountered a pretty imposing dune of sand to climb; I made it almost to the top before I buried my front wheel.
|Prospector Trail, photo by Adam Lisonbee|
The Dino and Prospector Trails were "whoo-hoo" fun. Fast, flowy, and with a few rocky sections to negotiate, the giggle factor was at an all-time high! I have never ridden such grippy rocks. During this section, I was sandwiched in between Lynda, Eszter, and Cat. Eszter was pushing a 34 x 20; I don't think I could have turned over that gear on any of today's climbs. For those of you who do not know her, she is the 2010 CTR female winner. This race is a multi-day, unsupported 470 mile race along the Colorado Trail. This lady has one big diesel engine! Cat was a little more sensible, riding the same gear as I. Cat is the 2009 CTR female winner and completed the 2010 edition on a single speed! And there is Lynda, my coach, who is a phenom, with a laundry list of accomplishments, including a few multi-day unsupported events. I was riding with GIANTS.
|Eszter on Prospector, photo by Adam Lisonbee|
The turnaround point was Cottonwood Creek. We stopped for a bit and pulled out some grub. I had my measly little processed granola bars. Eszter and Cat whip out these 2 pound loaves of homemade bread slathered with peanut butter and jelly! Mental note: the food choice of multi-day racers.
The return seemed to be all uphill. But the sand dune climb turned into the sandy ski descent. This was the closest I have been to skiing in 10 years; to me, much funner in balmy temps and on a bike. On the slightly uphill sandy section, my 32 x 21 suddenly felt like a 32 x 18. I spent some time on two feet on this section.
I began to look for my camera during the low cadence/snail's pace Powerline climbs. Karma was good to me and I found my camera on the third climb, tire track on the LCD display, but still functional! Thank goodness for my crush-proof Olympus. Just a bit sad I did not get any pics from Day 1.
Thank you Jeff, for your video skills:
Camp Lynda: Day 1 from ergon on Vimeo.
Since today's ride was pretty straight-forward and with campers all around, I did not learn much about my GPS. The big skies of Utah also make it a bit difficult to see the display ... something I will probably not have to deal with back home under tree cover.
We refueled and rehashed the day's ride at Baijo's that evening. I met some FB friends in the flesh and some soon to be new FB friends. A great day in desert! More to come ...