RIDING FROM SALT CREEK BEACH TO THE TOP OF SADDLEBACK - 83 miles and 10000' of climbing for the data geeks like me - can be awful.
be left fer dead
... and not even care as long as you're with your people.
That part is totally predictable.
And, it's why nearly 40 boys and girls gathered at dawn.
Because a shared experience that is extremely demanding mentally and physically is a wonderful thing.
If you know anything about brainwashing, you might now that giving a human sugar after an activity you want to reinforce is a powerful control mechanism.
I only share that because one of the reasons we all keep doing this ride is Chris prepurchases unlimited Mexican popsicles at the general store...
... and then we all hang out and slowly regather and rehash the adventure to that point...
... now that's a shared experience guaranteed to bond.
Personally, I had a dandy ride chatting with friends I don't see often enough...
... and riding surprisingly well <- that part seemed very unpredictable earlier in the week.
- I hadn't done any specific training. In fact, my position has felt so off on my MTB that I've not been riding it much lately. And, I've been doing lots of flat road riding.
- At the last moment, I opted to put on new tires I'd never tested... which can be disastrous when hitting 30+ MPH on steep dirt that is packed in and covered with small chips of shale.
At the bottom of the bighideousclimb we lined up at the slowest drinking fountain in the county and patiently filled bottles.
Nobody patiently waited to start the climb.
By the time I got going, I could see my pals way up ahead of me.
I charged medium, got into somesortaunexpected groove and slowly started catching and passing.
There is no way I would have predicted that.
When it happens... ya just gotta say Well, hell, this feels rather fine.
As for those new tires...
... I know the tires I had on there were a year old and worn to the casing...
... but, can I just tell ya how fine they were?
I wasn't even trying to smoke the downhill. Because, new tires.
I just let 'em roll, and roll they did.
Carving and gripping and ripping to within 30 seconds of my PR (26:24)... and I wasn't even pressing the issue.
Now... should I have predicted a good run up the bighideousclimb and smoking time on the way down?
According to Strava my Fitness is pretty high right now.
According to the Continental tire rep the Cross King "can hold it's own on the rowdier stuff" and the Race King is "excellent on fast, hardpack".
At a minimum, I could have been more confident... but, ya know, I've noticed sometimes the days I'm not predicting anything great are the very best of all.
Maybe it's the cane sugar from the Mexican popsicle doing its thing?
As long as we're talking about doing our things... I noticed quite a few of the riders donning SuperLight Race gloves designed by a certain diesel, which always makes me happy.
It's so nice to really feel connected to the bike, protected and cool on hot days.
If you're digging the blog, maybe ya ought dig into the piggy bank and try this out. They're a mere $20, signed sealed delivered.
Stretch and Roll
6 hours sleep - early start