Long overdue

It has been too long since I have been on here. Life has been busy!

Okay, so I left you all with two weeks left until my big ride. Good news, my neck was in top form for the ride! The pain I had was rather weak when I got on the bike.

I did two rides before the big ride. I told myself I would “go out for an easy ride”, but that was not the case. No, I headed out and went hard shortly after a warm up. For some reason, my ability to ride hard is based on how hard I start out. If I do an initial “shock” to my muscles at the beginning of a ride, I seem to be able to push harder than if I ease into it. I think it is a mental thing.

Anyway, that Monday before the big ride I did 40 miles. Tuesday I did 40 miles as well, but at a much easier pace. I am not saying I did not have some fun on some short climbs, but I was not all out for the entire ride.

I then took the rest of the week off to relax and stretch. I packed up my tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, tarp (to protect the bottom of the tent), and all my stuff into two bags. The camping items went into an old sea bag, and my required items (clothing, gear, etc) went into a small carry-on sized bag.

Friday I headed out with my buddy to drop off our gear to the truck. The trucks would meet us at our midway point on Saturday.

We left the house by bicycle, and passed one of the official starting locations mere minutes after the start took place. Oh, before I forget, I promised you all a photo of my ride, so here it is:

I was one of three people I saw who were on mountain bikes for this 160+ mile journey. People kept doing double takes, especially as I passed them. It was a lot of fun riding out in a sea of road bikes on a mountain bike.

Only 25 miles into the ride, I accidentally dropped my water bottle. I shouted out “BOTTLE!”, and then yelled “SLOWING”. I wanted people to be on the lookout for it and know I was slowing down, so they did not run into the back of me. My friend stopped with me. Apparently a truck that was passing us ran over my bottle, shattering the lid. I had to limp for an additional 30 miles on one water bottle. That was not fun.

At the lunch stop I purchased a new bottle, rinsed it a few times and then filled it up with water. We headed out and I started to take off, having fun on some of the little hills. I heard something fall and saw something bounce across the road. I did not think anything of it and kept pedaling. About 2-3 miles later I thought, “My MP3 player sure went quiet, maybe it is a lower volume song, I will turn it up.” Well, I looked down and had a missing MP3 player. It clicked right that second that it was my MP3 player that I saw bouncing off behind me earlier. So I turned around and headed back for it. I did notice something black in the road after a couple of miles, and it was my MP3 player. It had been run over by a vehicle and was no longer round. It was more of a scratched up, and abused oval now. However, it was still working. All the buttons still worked, the speaker still worked, despite it being ran over by a vehicle most likely weighing over 3,000-pounds. A nice $40 investment.

Anyway, it just was not my day. At least I did not get a flat! So I arrived at the mid-point insanely early, even with my stops and going back for items that got ran over. It was a record for me. 92-miles in roughly 7-hours. Including the few stops for my friend to go to the restroom, lunch, and locating a water bottle. Also some traffic hold ups, and other things. Not too bad. I remember I did a 65-mile training ride before last years ride and I did that in 4:45. That is quite an improvement. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I neglected to lock out my front fork on the climbs. That ate up some power. I did not make that mistake on day two.

After camping for the night, I woke up insanely early and started packing. Even waking up at 4am, I still slept 8 hours. I was ready to go. I could not say the same for my friend. He stayed in the main tent. Apparently the lights went out an hour later than when they said it would. He was surrounded by people who snored loudly, and then the lights went on an hour early. So he maybe got 4-hours of sleep. I did not have room in my tent for anyone else other than myself. He said if he did the ride again and had to camp, a tent would be the only way to go.

I packed up my campsite and threw my bags on the truck. They provided us breakfast. I ate and was really chilled by the low 50*F weather we were having. This was not because it was in the low 50’s, it was because I was wearing less layers than the day before. I did not want to be stuck trying to find places to put my heavier jacket, heavier gloves, etc. I knew once I got on the bike I would be okay. There was a delay with the start. We left out about 30-minutes after we should have. Once we got on the road, I was gone. I went easy while it was packed. The second we turned onto the main road, I saw a window and tore off. I was still cold and I wanted to get my heart rate up as fast as possible to warm me up. Well, my friend was left in my dust, and I did not even see him until the lunch stop (we decided that morning to ride as fast as we wanted to). I was finishing up my lunch when he showed up. I walked with him to snag his lunch, and I was gone. I got back on the road as soon as possible. My legs cannot take a long break very well. They tighten up (acid build up) and it takes a solid 15-20 minutes to get them going again, sometimes even longer.

I stopped once on the second half of day two. I was drinking a lot of water, so I made a pit stop at the last rest stop of the ride. I filled up my water bottles and grabbed a quick snack. I was back on the bike again and flying up the hills. At the top of a particularly nasty climb, I passed two guys on road bikes. They were at least $3500 bikes. One guy was giving the other encouraging words. The one receiving those words looked like he was suffering pretty good. The rider that was doing okay saw me, then told his friend, “Dude, you just got passed by a mountain bike.” We all started laughing. Best comment of the ride!

About 45-minutes later I crossed the finish line. Day two record broken. I arrived at the finish line over 1-hour earlier than my previous best, on a bike that weighs in over 10-lbs more than my road bike.

I had a blast! I do not think I will ride that bike again. The bike is a cheaper Specialized model and I really dislike a) the weight, b) the gruppo (SRAM X-4’s, I prefer the X-7’s), and c) the front fork. The Suntour fork is horrible. It has a ton of flex in it and really has no good adjustments. If I decide to ride in it again next year, I will be on my more expensive full suspension mountain bike, unless I get a new carbon fiber 29-er between now and then.

I really do not care to ride a road bike anymore. I love mountain bikes too much now. Plus, I like passing roadies on a “slower” bike. hahaha

Ride on my friends!

About TrekRiderMark

I like to ride bicycles and stay fit. I am also a professional photographer and artist. I dabble a bit in web design and as a graphic artist.
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