Sunday, July 8, 2012

Playing, Fast And Loose

OK, so the New Fane mountain bike trails are not quite this dry.  But they're close.
I am rarely surprised, and still less often pleasantly surprised.  But today exceeded my expectations.  I hadn’t ridden my mountain bike since the WORS race at Eau Claire on June 24.  That’s two full weeks ago.  Making my return to the singletrack today at New Fane, I thought I would be crap.  I thought it would take a couple of practice sessions to get comfortable again, but I was OK from the start.  And on my second lap I was more than OK, finishing in a personal-best 24 minutes.  That’s 2 minutes faster than my previous mark.

Maybe there should be an asterisk next to that record.  On previous occasions I rode solo; today I followed Jeff Wren.  He’s a better mountain biker than I.  We don’t always agree on which line to take—I didn’t set a PR by stealing any secrets from him—but we’re a close match in open terrain.  My desire to stay on his wheel made me push myself harder than I likely would have otherwise.

New Fane hasn’t had a proper rain in weeks and the trails are now very sandy and loose in some places, including a couple of tight corners.  I ride reasonably well in such conditions.  With my roadie background you might expect me to over-correct when I feel the rear tire slipping, but I handle it without panic.  That ability could come into play next Sunday at the Alterra Coffee Bean Classic, on what I expect will be very dry trails at Crystal Ridge in Franklin.  Looks like I’m going to practice there on Friday after work and on Saturday during the official WORS pre-ride.  In the meantime, I will continue to practice close to home—probably a combination of New Fane and Glacial Blue Hills—to keep my handling skills sharp.  I feel fortunate not to have lost anything during the two-week layoff, and now I’m really looking forward to a new week of training.

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