Friday, November 22, 2013

25 Hours in Frog Hollow & 92Fifty' Racing

If last weekend was any indication of what racing with 92Fifty’ Cyclery is going to be like, I’m a happy camper; literally.  In a last-minute foray into the unknown and unplanned-for, unprepared as we were, Kyle Taylor and I loaded up the 92Fifty’ camper and headed deep into the southwestern Utah desert.  The event was 25 Hours in Frog Hollow, the longest “one-day” race.  Neither one of us knew what we were getting ourselves into; probably for the better.  I had originally planned on racing on a 4-man team until about 3 days prior, when plans fell through and racing on a duo team was my only option.  Kyle was planning (loosely) on racing solo.  Each of our “plans” resided around the fact that neither one of us had ridden our bikes very much in the past couple of months, with absolutely zero real “training” leading up to this mega event.  Since the flooding hit Boulder in September my riding has been reduced to small ventures up to Nederland for fun rides and hot laps around Betasso Preserve above Boulder.  Even these were few and far between.  I had been implementing Yoga into my “training” routine.  Not too sure if a month of doing Yoga is proper training for a 25-hour race, but there was no turning back now.

We left 92Fifty’ Cycles in Blackhawk, Colorado on Thursday afternoon and headed for Fruita.  It was about the halfway point, and we couldn’t pass up riding out there.  On Friday morning we rode some of the 18 Road trails, each of us dying to stay out there and ride all day; kids in a candy store.  We knew we better not push it, so forced ourselves to call it a day after about 2 hours and headed further West for Hurricane/St. George.

My duo teammate for the race was Josh Bezecny.  I met him for the first time on Friday evening.  I didn’t know much about Josh, but had been told that he was really fast and competitive, which was all the inspiration I needed to take this thing a little more seriously.  Kyle and I finished off the last of our Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA's and called it a night.

Desert Morning.
The race started on Saturday morning under perfectly clear blue skies and cool temperatures.  Josh led out the first lap and I anxiously awaited my turn.  Before I knew it he was coming around to the start/finish with only one guy ahead of him!  Damn, this meant I better be fast!  I went out hard but still conservatively, just using this first lap to learn the course.  My lungs were feeling that ever-present XC-full-gas-burn early on, which was something they hadn’t felt for a while.  After climbing up singletrack and service road, dipping into and out of washes and gulleys for about 25 minutes, you get to the JEM trail, where the real fun begins.  From here you get a solid 20 minutes of all out, big-ring crushing, stupid-fast and flowy buff desert singletrack.  On this first lap, going into the only technical section of the trail, I took a sweet over-the-bars face plant as my front tire got stuck trying to make a switchback and catapulted me into the air.  I laughed it off and got back with it, only realizing later that I had bashed my right knee pretty good.  The rest of the lap was more a feeling out process: super-fast JEM trail, a little service road, some technical and ridiculously slow (and frustrating) rock gardens, a few steep singletrack climbs, and ending with an all-out riding-on-rails descent into the finish.  I came around in 50:01, besting Josh’s 50:51 first lap time.  He put in an even faster second lap, and I was feeling ready to do the same.  Having a teammate push and inspire me was a great feeling.  On the second lap I went out strong and was feeling great.  Poised to put in a sub-50-minute lap I had my head down on the opening climb and missed my turn, only realizing after I was a few miles up the road.  After turning back and hammering, I finally got back to the course after losing about 15 minutes.  So much for a super fast lap.  Even though I lost a bunch of time, in my second go-around of the JEM trail I was railing it noticeably faster than I had previously, hammering my largest gear and barely touching the brakes.  Adrenaline was pumping out of every pore.  I put in a 1-hour second lap; not too bad after losing so much time.  The rest of the race was mostly a blur.  Short, fast, and super fun laps, followed by not-enough rest time (usually only about 30 minutes after undressing, eating, then redressing and getting ready again), rinse and repeat.  I did get lucky enough to get the sunset and sunrise laps!  The sunset lap was amazing, as colors changed drastically on the high mesas surrounding this beautiful area.  Into the night we went, and the temperature dropped about 30 degrees.  All of my night rest-periods were spent in the van with heat blowing on me.  It got real weird as the night progressed.  Not seeing or talking to anyone for hours, in a state of sleeplessness and adrenaline-fueled action, and ripping singletrack in the dark desert made for an interesting experience.  I really loved the night laps.  I was able to stay mostly positive and was feeling great physically throughout, something I can’t explain given my lack of time on the bike in the previous months.  Josh and Kyle were both huge inspirations to me.  Josh kept putting in fast lap times, and pushing me to do the same.  At one point about halfway through the night we were ahead of all the 4-man and 5-person teams!  Kyle kept pushing on and staying positive lap after lap, which gave me no excuse not to do the same.  In the end Josh and I walked away with the Duo victory, and had the chance the set the new Duo lap record with 25 laps, had either of us wanted to go out again!  Kyle, on the other hand, did set the new Solo Male lap record with 22 laps!  Crazy and inspiring what he was able to do.  Josh and I each logged about 150-miles of fast-paced racing.  

Kyle Taylor: 1st Solo Male

I walked away from this event extremely happy on so many fronts.  First and foremost was the simple fact that I got to ride my bike on amazing trails for so long.  Ripping the JEM trail never got old, and I was a happy little kid again with each turn.  The way my body responded to such an effort was also amazing.  Adrenaline is your friend!  Having a great teammate in Josh, and getting inspired by Kyle was awesome.  This type of race/event was something I had never experienced before, and new experiences are always good!  Thanks to Jonathan Davis and 92Fifty’ Cycles for all the support.  I will for sure be back next year to race 25 Hours in Frog Hollow.  Cheers.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

92Fifty' Cyclery

Nestled in the high country of Colorado, and growing from those woods and the passion for a better way of doing cycling, is a new project being started by Jonathan Davis, along with his wife Kathy.  They are calling the new conglomerate business 92Fifty’ Cyclery, since the new bike shop they are opening sits at 9250ft outside of Blackhawk, Colorado.  Along with the bike shop itself, the business model is diverse and ever-expanding.  At the forefront of this is the “Supported Rider Program” which aims to support athletes inasmuch it is a mutual relationship where the athletes help support this new business.  In simple terms it is the foundation of the new 92Fifty’ Racing Team, which I am proud to be a part of in the coming year, and because of Jonathan’s passion for the sport and helping others around him it will be much more than that.  The next part of 92Fifty’ is the “Performance Studio” and training sessions/camps that will be available.  Because it sits in the mountains at such high elevation, and surrounded by amazing riding, it is the perfect place to train at altitude.  The Davis’s will be hosting personalized training sessions out of the studio wherein someone can come from sea level, train at altitude for a week, and have all the benefits of a professional training program, physiological testing,  as well as recovery options including ice baths, compression legs, and a personalized diet.  92Fifty’ will also be hosting training camps along with Coach and Pro racer Drew Edsall in St. George, Utah throughout the winter months.   

Add all of this awesomeness to the fact that the business is located in Gilpin County, Colorado, only 30 minutes from Golden, where the sales tax is a ridiculously low 2.9%, and that multi-thousand dollar bike you want just got a whole lot cheaper.  Right now the 92Fifty’ Racing team is 30+ strong and growing.  This is amazing considering the bike shop and business has not even opened its doors yet!  I am extremely excited to be racing Pivot bikes next year, with a sweet Les carbon hardtail on the way.

Jonathan Davis, fueled by his love and passion for cycling, is truly doing something different and progressive with his approach to running a bike shop and his approach to the cycling industry in general.  Look out for a constant barrage of fun stuff coming out of 92Fifty’ Cyclery and Racing Team in 2014!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

It's Only the River, It's Only the River

It’s only the river, unless the river is the city in which you live in.  After the 100-year flooding that has engulfed Boulder and surrounding areas, most notably Lyons, there won’t be much to talk about in the cycling and racing world for me.  I’m not even sure yet what my training routes – the canyons west of town that I do most of my riding in – look like or their accessibility for any time in the near future.  Pretty much this entire area has been washed out.  Lyons was completely underwater; emergency messages warning of “walls of water” came in every few hours Wednesday evening; pictures of homes floating off of foundations; piles of rubble, mud, rock, and cars being pushed down these narrow canyons; major roadways destroyed.  It’s been an interesting week to say the least.  

I was planning to end my season with the inaugural Epic 50 race in Winter Park.  That was today.  I was excited for the race, and just about ready to cough up the bucks for it on Tuesday night as I continued to watch the rain batter down for the 2nd consecutive day.  I decided I’d wait one more day to make the call.  That one day proved crucial, as by Wednesday night our basement had accumulated 6” of water and rising, and me and the good folks I live with were busy bailing water, setting up makeshift drainages, attempting to clear pipes and gutters, pump water, etc.  The race I had previously looked forward to was no longer my concern.  Watching this disaster unfold in front of my eyes took front seat.  I’ll have a “season recap” coming soon full of thoughts and thoughtful thinking things of that nature.  That isn’t to say my “season” is over.  I may be done with this saison, but my season will continue.  That’s because there is still so much more riding to do and fun to be had!  What season?  I’ve already gotten word that I may be headed to 25 Hours in Frog Hollow at the start of November as part of a 4-man team.  Night riding in the desert outside of Hurricane, Utah?  How could I say no?  It will be a new one for me, but I’m already getting excited.  When the good folks of 92Fifty Cyclery/Performance Studio/AidStation3 offer you must accept!  More info on this new project to come.  All I can say is that something special is in the works.

Something else special is also in the works, literally.  For this, as to not preempt any un-happening happenings, thwart my luck or jinx myself, I’ll just offer a few pictures.  The first of which is my Niner One9 frameset that is now up for sale. 

Any takers?  I also just reset my White Brother Loop fork from 100mm to 120mm.  BRRrrrappp!!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Epic Shenanigans and Steamboat Stinger

Last week was a busy and fun one; full of shenanigans, bike industry debauchery, and finally some racing.  I headed up to Breckenridge bright and early on Tuesday morning for a few days of heckling at the Breck Epic.  The Breck Epic, for those who don’t know, has quickly become one of the Big 3 (in my opinion) stage races in the US.  It draws riders from all over the world to ride mind-blowing singletrack, lung-busting climbs at huge elevations, and amazing views for 6 days, all centered in downtown Breckenridge.  The course on Tuesday took riders over the Continental Divide two times; first over French Pass, then over Georgia Pass, before descending the Colorado Trail off of Georgia.  My plan for heckling/racer support was to set up an espresso station atop one of the huge climbs, and try to force feed espresso shots to as many asphyxiated riders as I could.  On Monday afternoon I secured this puppy:

Introducing the AeroPress.  Quite possibly the best camping espresso maker ever made.  Come Tuesday morning, I loaded my bag with 30+lbs of gear and ventured out into the cool Breck morning en route to Georgia Pass.  I set up shop right where the riders entered the Colorado Trail after climbing for an hour or so.  Much fun was had that day, with Jeff Kerkove being one of my first takers.  It was amazing to see the gratitude some of the slower riders had for my being there, especially after many had ridden through a cold hail storm. 

Photo courtesy: Liam Doran Photography

Photo courtesy: Liam Doran Photography

Photo courtesy: Liam Doran Photography

The next day I headed out on the Colorado Trail, almost right from town, en route to the top of the West Ridge climb, which was one of the hardest climbs the riders would face all day.  This time around I had perfected my backwoods espresso-making/serving technique in order to provide shots to any who would accept.  It was another super fun day.  My favorite taker was Kyosuke Takei, who in the midst of chasing down Todd Wells and Alex Grant (who were riding with other-worldly speed) came by demanding a shot of espresso!  Sue Haywood also made my day, as she crested the huge climb looking like death, and not able to even make words simply gestured for me to hand her a shot.  I gave her a push and some words of encouragement; the chick is a beast.  By far though, my biggest takers were singlespeeders and Europeans; go figure.

Kyosuke railing post-espresso!

This may have been the first time I’ve experienced a race as a spectator/heckler/supporter and it was such a good experience.  I intended the espresso shots and yelling to be sort of a sick joke, but it turned out to be appreciated by so many.

Next up was the Steamboat Stinger 50; a race I had been looking forward to all year simply based on its popularity.  In its short 3-year run it now attracts many of the top Pros in the area and sells out in minutes.  I knew there was something to like.  That something happens to be about 90% singletrack in each 25-mile loop.  Looking at the level of competition in the Pro class, which numbered ~110, I decided to forego the singlespeed to race with gears and the state’s fastest Pros.

I showed up in beautiful Steamboat Springs late Friday afternoon ready to race at 8am Saturday.  This meant no pre-riding of the course, which could have made a difference in a race this fast and furious.  I lined up in the massive pack right at the front, but as the start went off, way faster than I was expecting or used to, I lost a bunch of positions.  Coming from 3 NUE races this summer I wasn’t used to the XC start pace.  Judging from this race photo, I was back in 36th spot right after the start before hitting a brutally steep climb. 

Where's Waldo
Shortly thereafter the course turns into doubletrack climb for about ¼-mile where I was able to pick up a bunch of lost spots.  This entire race was one of opportunities either taken or lost.  Each 25-mile loop consisted of two major climbs and two long sketchy singletrack descents. 

Being mostly tight singletrack, passing was as difficult as any race I’ve been to. Upon hitting the singletrack on the first major climb of the day I didn’t take the opportunity to get around another rider, which proved to be a mistake.  Within minutes he was carrying a train of riders, and we all lost valuable time.  Finally I did get around and distanced myself from the field.  That was until hitting the long singletrack descent; the trails were super tight, twisty, dusty, loose, off-camber, and sketchy!  My bike handling was absolutely horrendous, and before long I was the one carrying a train of riders.  As bad as I felt about holding them up, this was an unfortunate opportunity taken.  There were some pissed off riders behind me for sure.  The rest of the race was a lot more of the same, and I never did start feeling the groove of descending the constantly turning singletrack; get held up by riders on the climbs and lose valuable time, then get passed like I was standing still on the descents.  I felt like I was driving a school bus around the trails.  As frustrated as I was about my bike handling, I was elated at how my body was reacting to the super fast pace, basically XC pace for 50 miles, and I never did wear out until the very end.  With how strong I was climbing all day, I think I could have been a bit further up the field if certain opportunities were taken, but hey, that’s racing.  I came in 20th Pro/Open in a who’s-who field of Colorado pro mountain bikers. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Breck 100: Short and Sweet

… Well, it wasn’t exactly short, or sweet, but my write up will be.  Considering I’m now 3 weeks late, I’ll keep it to a minimum.  No reason for too much reflection.  They say hindsight is 20/20, but I think my rear view mirror is still fogged up.  That must be the case, because I’ve already convinced myself that it would be a good idea to do the full 100-miler again next year.  I couldn’t have been further from that standpoint on Sunday, July 14.

The weekend started by ripping my bike off the roof of my car at the Denver Airport, and ended in hypothermia.  When it rains it pours.  Literally. 

Driving into DIA on Saturday morning to pick my parents up for a joyous weekend of mountain festivities, fully prepared both mentally and physically, with all bases covered, I was wrongly directed to the West terminal.  You should never go to the West terminal.  A second later I heard a “Whhhhappp!” coming from my car.  I thought I had been rear-ended, but the only thing in my rearview mirror was an 8-foot height restriction bar swaying back and forth.  Shiiiiit!!  I literally went numb.  I had just hit my bike, and had no idea how badly it was damaged.  On a side note: seriously DIA??  8 feet??  Shaq couldn’t drive his convertible Lexus under that thing.  Upon further inspection it turned out that my $200 Easton EC90 seatpost had taken the brunt of the impact.  So here I was, completely shaken and in search of new seatpost less than a day away from the biggest race of my life.  One was found, thanks to the LBS.

 4 am Sunday morning came rather quickly.  There’s nothing like starting your 27th birthday in the cold, dark morning.  Before I knew it we were heading out for the biggest test of my life.  The climb up to Wheeler Pass at 12,400ft went well, and I was in 6th or 7th place overall, topping the pass with Jeff Kerkove on my wheel.  I let him go and started my descent down the super sketchy and narrow, wet and slippery Wheeler Trail.  I could barely hold onto the bike but finally made it to the bottom without getting passed.  I lost about 5 or 6 places on the long section of bike path, spun out the entire time, but regained a few of them on Peaks Trail heading back into Breck and the Start/Finish area.  I came through still feeling fresh and ready for Loop 2.  A bunch of people were telling me I was inside the top-10, so that gave me motivation.  I noticed my legs feeling a bit sluggish as I started Loop 2, but it wasn’t until hitting Little French Gulch, or it hitting me, that I really started feeling the pain.  It hit me like a ton of bricks, and I had to walk a lot more that I wanted. 

Little French. So Much Pain.
But I knew there was a big downhill coming, then the West Ridge section of the Colorado Trail and another fun and fast descent.  I figured whatever my body was going through would wear off and I’d be on my way.  Upon hitting the West Ridge climb the 2nd Place singlespeeder was right on my heels, and although struggling to climb at my usual pace, I was still able to put a couple of minutes on him by the top.  This was about the halfway point of the race and I was still leading.  I hoped that my energy and strength would come back and I could actually start racing again!  On the descent down the CO trail I was passed by Charlie Hayes, who remarked “are you feeling alright?”  Apparently he was alarmed that he had passed me on a downhill.  So quite to the contrary of regaining my strength, I continued to fall deeper and deeper into the black hole of pain and tire.  Upon finishing Loop 2 I was completely spent and had been struggling for hours.  I had also lost 3 places in the singlespeed field.  I basically went out for the last 34 miles just looking to finish, with all hope of regaining positions thrown to the wind.  I had nothing left.  I finally made it to the top of Boreas Pass and was actually starting to feel good again.  Either that, or my body had just completely given up and I was in a state of numbness.  Whatever the case, I was now hitting one of my favorite sections of the day, the Gold Dust trail.  The skies began to open up about halfway down to Como, where you turn around and climb Boreas Road all the way back up to the pass.  By the time I started the climb it was a full-on rain, and it didn’t let up for the rest of the race.  When I made it to the pass I was mildly hypothermic and hadn’t been able to feel my hands for about 30 minutes.  I stood at the aid station just trying to get some blood back into them before descending another 10 miles in the cold rain.  The descent was absolutely brutal.  I was trying simply to hold onto the bike as my body shivered feverously.  I descended the last section of singletrack like an old lady in a walker, stiff as a board.  I rolled through the finish completely shaken and hypothermic, caring not to talk to anyone or rejoice, but only to warm my frozen body.  I had just finished the hardest day of my life, and arguably the hardest 100-mile mountain bike race in the country, and all that mattered was getting into a warm shower. 

I finished 5th in singlespeed; a huge disappointment considering my aspirations, preparation, focus, fitness, and standings early on in the race.  A ton of thoughts have gone through my head since.  Am I cut out for 100-mile events?  Did I train properly?  Did I go out too hard? What could I have done better?   Was this race just too damn big for someone only doing their 3rd 100-mile race and only 6-weeks after their first?  That last question is one that I am comfortable answering with a “maybe”.  Surely it was way more than I had ever done, and especially made harder by doing so on a singlespeed.  I’m not there yet.  That being said, I’m glad that I suffered like I did, and have that experience to throw into the memory bank.  What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.  If I can figure out this 100-mile race conundrum, I feel confident that I can do really well.  Only time will tell.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Snake Bites

What the hell happened to me this weekend?  It was all a big blur of nausea, pain, adrenaline and beer.  I’m still trying to process the pain in every appendage, joint, and muscle group in my body and an awesome weekend of high-altitude riding.  I want to go ride again, but can’t; forced recovery.

I headed to the Keystone ski resort Friday afternoon for the Rocky Mountain Endurance Series’ Snake River Mountain Challenge.  I had overheard (or read) that this race was going to be brutal in terms of climbing.  Having never ridden at Keystone before I didn’t really know what to expect, but judging from the elevation profile it was going to be pretty straight forward.  Start at the base (9300ft), climb ¾-of-the-way up the mountain, descend for a couple miles, then climb the rest of the way to the 11,800ft summit before descending back to the base.  Rinse and repeat 2 more times.  That works out to about 10,200ft of climbing in 56 miles.  Ouch!  Checking out the numbers (nerd check) that’s 182ft/mile ascent, compared to the Breckenridge 100 (next race) at ONLY 130ft/mile.  Double ouch!!

I woke up at 5:15am on Saturday morning in my campsite next to the Snake River.  First order of business: coffee, then eggs, toast, oatmeal w/ granola & peanut butter, and homemade beet juice to top it off.  I was flying high and feeling good early in the morn. The race didn’t start until 9am so I had plenty of time to relax and get ready.  The weather felt perfect as the start neared; a mild 65° and sunny. 

At the start line I eyed the singlespeed Series Champion Charlie Hayes.  He and I went back and forth a bit last year and I have not gotten a chance to race against him yet this year.  The start rolled out under a neutral lead until we got dumped off onto the first climb of the day.  It was a steep and loose service road about ¼-mile long that pretty much sent everybody’s heart rate through the roof.  I had seen Charlie off to my left loose traction on some rocks and have to come unclipped. This was the last time I’d see him all day.  As we neared the singletrack entrance I was up in the front inside the top-10.  Let the climbing begin!  We traversed the mountainside via switchback after switchback; an unrelenting and never-ending climb.  By the time we got to the first downhill section I had just passed a couple riders and was approaching another, sitting in 5th or 6th overall.  After a sweet fast and flowing ripper of a downhill we were spit out onto service road where we would face another daunting climb to the top of the mountain.  I rode with another guy for the first couple of miles, and then put in a couple of good efforts to get away and catch up to the next.  Nearing the top I was probably 20 seconds back of the next rider.  Then I passed an aid station at the top and continued riding straight up the road when I was supposed to turn onto singletrack.  There were no course markings and the course marshal just watched me ride right on by without saying a thing.  I turned around to see the rider behind me entering the singletrack.  Needless to say, I had a few words for the course marshal.  By the time I came back through they had set up tape and arrows to direct riders.  I was super happy to get to the top and ready to descend 2500ft back to the base.  What I hadn’t considered was how grueling and physically demanding the descent would be.  Damn those trails are rough!  Head bouncing, teeth chattering, eyes popping and jumping out of my skull, seat striking nether regions, triceps cramping, forearms on fire and feet numbed, I finally made it to the bottom.  Not to say it wasn’t fun.  In fact it was a blast.   
Photo Credit: Mountain Moon Photography
Photo Credit: Mountain Moon Photography
Lap 2 was more of the same.  I began to tire just a bit, but was feeling really confident with no signs of cramping and only minimal fatigue.  At this point I had the notion that I had built about a 10-minute lead on Charlie Hayes in 2nd.  The one thing that I did begin to notice was a good dose of nausea and dizziness towards the top of the mountain.  Another brutally fun descent and I was almost down the mountain to start the final lap.  It was then, about ¼-mile from the base, that I took a pretty good digger head first into the gravel road.  It took me about 20 seconds to compose myself and stand up, feeling an immense pain in my right quad and calf.  It felt like Chuck Norris had just round-house kicked my leg.  Upon gathering myself I realized that my bar-end had broken off leaving my grip useless.  Luckily, because I’m running the Ergon GS2 grips (best grips in the world) I was able to put it back together.  In the process, about 3 or 4 minutes, I lost two critical positions.  Okay, time to clear my head and just roll on!  I headed out for the final lap and was almost immediately hit with the nausea bug again, only much sooner this time around.  As the lap wore on it got worse and worse, until even the smallest effort left me on the verge of puking and having to take 30-seconds to regain composure.  The altitude was kicking my ass!  I’ve never had an issue with altitude sickness before, but this was clearly what was slowing me down.  I struggled all the way to the top, barely able to take a sip of water, riding at barely a leisurely pace.  Luckily I maintained a gap on Charlie, and felt confident upon hitting the downhill that I could descend fast enough to keep it.  I rolled into the finish line at 5 hours 49 minutes, 1st Place Singlespeed, about 4 minutes ahead of Charlie Hayes.  I must have lost a TON of time to him that last lap.
Photo Credit: Mountain Moon Photography
Done and done!  This was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done.  I (almost literally) turned myself inside out to keep going while dealing with extreme nausea.  I was happy to get my first win of the year, but still not overly satisfied.  I really wanted to be in the top-5 overall and felt that I had the speed, but that 3rd lap killed me.  On a positive note, I was finally descending as fast if not faster than my competitors.  I have always had trouble keeping it together on the descents, and usually lose time on the downhill sections.  During this race I was actually catching my competitors on the downhills! One of my focuses coming into this year was to get better and faster at descending, and I have.  Another positive was the fun I was having.  I remember during the first lap, while being followed on a downhill by a guy I had just passed, taking an off-line to hit a jump.  Probably lost a second or two, but damn it felt good!  I did my best to hit all of the features: jumps, berms, tabletops, etc.  That’s what they’re there for, right?
Photo Credit: Mountain Moon Photography
Photo Credit: Mountain Moon Photography

Sunday morning I woke up in my tent feeling like a train wreck.  Still nauseas, head ringing, body sore, etc.  What better way to start a day of lift-assisted downhill runs?  I had to take advantage of being at an awesome bike park on a ski hill, so bought a lift ticket and let the games begin!  I had my Norco Shinobi trail bike (29er, 140mm travel, slack geometry) just for this cause!  It certainly wasn’t as adept as the full-on downhill machines that dominate the mountain, but was fine for me.  The first run was rough, literally.  I wasn’t sure how many I had in me.  The second and third each got better, and I was feeling more comfortable on the bike and having more fun.  Then a rainstorm hit, I ducked into the bar at the base of the mountain, had two beers, and was ready to roll again!   

It’s amazing what a little liquid courage can do for ya.  The next couple of runs I was instantly faster and looser on the bike, just floating over rock gardens, down steep sections, tossing the bike this way and that, hitting jumps at speed, and finally getting a huge rush doing all of it!  I can honestly say I’m now fully addicted to this new-to-me discipline!  Damn that was a good day.  And because of it, I am now sore head to toe.  So it goes.

Next up: Breckenridge 100