GOT IN 2 MOSTEXCELLENT RIDES TODAY. The first was with my pal Markell and his Best pal. The second started with Surfergirl and ended with Sufferdiesel...
... both were kinda backwards, which has a few significant benefits.
Generally, Markell and Mike Best have their way with me. But, poor young Markell's fire for cycling needs some new fuel.
I think he got it today.
We met at the Hawes/Canal area outside of Phoenix. TBH, this singletrack is so good I'm surprised it's still legal. Surely someone will find out humans are having a ball and nobody is collecting rent on this happiness.
Imagine endless singletrack, as far as you can see, and your mouth hurting at the end due to a constant grin. Yep, it's that good.
Mike schooled us both. Up and down. But, for a rare moment I got best of Markell. I know this bugged him. He's a legit D1 athlete. Competitive is an understatement.
So that was backwards ride number one... me beating Markell into submission, kinda, with the noble purpose of stoking his MTB fire.
The other started off correctly, ended backwards.
Surfergirl and I snagged a campspot in the overflow at McDowell Mountain Regional Park... site of next month's Cactus Cup. We took a leisurelyforme ride up to the top of the racecourse. She was on her limit, I was working on my onelegged drills and trackstand.
But, true to form she had some good game on the downhill. Always has, always will.
After an hour I shot out for some hot time on the racecourse.
Immediately took a wrong turn and found myself going up the 3rd leg of the Enduro stage.
Then, around a technical section of the XC stage. In reverse.
I did manage to get myself back to the start of the TT course and ride that in the correct direction, part of which we race in reverse/down for the last leg of the Enduro.
That's when it hit me.
Something I've always done when time permits, but you may not have considered for race prep.
Riding the course in reverse allows a racer to see things differently. For example that first Enduro section is not nearly as steep as I remember it. I rode it easily, which probably means I could go even faster.
The section of XC I rode in reverse, which I remembered being much more punchy is actually quite manageable.
But, the very best part of all this desert riding is getting on the terrain and messing with my tire pressures.
I rode 25ish last time I raced out here.
It worked well, and no flats.
Today I went as low as 19lbs.
Sure the traction was nice, but that puncture I got and the subsequent slow leak was quite unwelcome.... especially as the sun had set and the shadows were long gone.
I was miles from camp.
The thought of hoofing it in stiff, carbon soles was terrible.
Fortunately for me, I was carrying my miniRaceDay Bag™.
Inside was a canister, a nozzle and some plugs. I couldn't find a hole big enough to plug, so I gave it a shot of CO2 and easily got back with a pinch of twilight.
We make these from bicycle innertubes. They are very light weight and tuck up under your saddle.
The pic above and this one show the road version which is all I use these days as I don't carry tubes any more. Risky, I know.
They are $20. Ship free.