Gerry had brought his new Redline 26" fully rigid SS with him yesterday. He wanted to take it out to Maybury and see what it was all about. He asked me if I wanted to ride with him and switch bikes after 2 loops. He said he had brought his Giant and that I could ride that the first two loops while he rode the SS. After racing the Giant at Bloomer I was quick to reply 'yes' as I fell in love with that bike instantly. So here's the recap by loop:
Loop 1 - Something felt different on the Giant than when I was on it last. Plus I had to get used to the rear shifter being opposite from mine. Don't know how many times I missed a shift because I went the wrong way. Not a great warm up loop but we did a decent time. I pulled a high 31 and Gerry did a low 32 on the rigid SS. Great lap for him altho he was already praying for gears.
Loop 2 - Since Gerry wasn't having any issues on the SS and I was feeling comfortable now on the Roll X Pro D2 tires I decided to see how fast I could take the XTC around for a loop before I had to switch bikes with Gerry. I was impressed at how well that Giant was doing and I was moving pretty quick. At my first check point I was running a pace to make it into the 28 minute range. Well right before the first 'fluid spot' (place to get a drink) I came across a rider who had some minor bike issues. She looked a little puzzled so I decided to stop and try to help. She had lost a frame cable clamp and her rear brake hose was flapping in the wind. We tried various things to tie it back up but no luck. She said she'd just take it easy. By then Gerry had caught up and we proceeded down the trail. I had lost my rhythm so I backed off the pace and decided to just play around on the rest of the loop. Our times were comparable to the first loop.
Loop 3 - This is where it gets good. I was not on the SS and Gerry was on the Giant. He took point and I stayed on his rear tire most of the time. It was weird not having larger gears to go down hills with but climbing was no issue in the 32 x 16 set up he had on it. The rigid front fork and Maxxis tires made for some uneasy turning but I was getting used to it .. .. that is until I lost the front end in a routine left turn and laid the bike down. Gerry looked back and said "Don't scratch my bike!" Well about a mile and a half later after the 'fluid spot' Gerry was putting his bottle back in the cage when all of a sudden the rear tire flipped up and his head went straight for the ground. It was a hard endo.......very hard. The front tire never left the ground he never came unclipped. At one point he was in the negative fetal position. I am surprised he stood up so fast. After a few minutes of checking for broken bones Gerry said he was good to go, even after I offered to ride with him back to the cars via the paved road. We finished the loop but took our time. Gerry was done, understandable after that crash, and asked me what my plans were.
loop 4 - I said I was going to do more loops but not on the SS. I really didn't want to go back for my bike so Gerry gave me his Giant and said just to give it back to him tomorrow at work. Good enough, I had at least 2 more loops in me. So he rode off on the SS back to the cars and I took off down the trail. Felt great to be back on the Giant. Gerry had raised the seat a bit and the bike felt solid. I was zooming along pretty good but no record pace. Trail traffic was starting to get thick but all the passes were pretty clean. The front tire felt like it was a little low on air but I flowed pretty well. No major incidents. Ran another high 31.
Loop 5 - This was my third day in a row riding and I was starting to feel it after the first mile of climbs on this loop. Traffic was still heavy on the trail and it seemed like I was rolling up on people more frequently. About half way thru I came across a woman on a bike that was most likely bought at a place that also has automotive, grocery and clothing sections. Good for her for being out there tho. The trail was pretty wide at that point and plenty of room to pass. She moved over and I went off the trail to the left so she'd feel comfortable with the space. Well she must have hit something because all of a sudden she gave out an 'oh my god' and her bike was heading toward mine. We clipped handle bars pretty good but both managed to stay on our bikes. I completed the pass but slowed down to make sure she was alright. Things were cool, we both apologized like 10 times and then off I went again. Lap time, a low 32.
Loop 6 - Any other day I would have been smart enough to hang it up and head for the parking lot. What's one more loop tho? After the first 2 miles I had realized this was a bad idea. It had been a long time since I rode a hardtail this far and my body was starting to hurt all over. I wasn't bonking, I was just feeling the effects of the constant pounding and remembering why I loved my full suspension so much. I had a couple opportunities to turn off and head back but I was tough and was going to stick it out. Well my pace was dropping and I spent most of the time out of the saddle because my lower back was killing me. But then it happened, I heard some bikes behind me. I had went close to 36 miles and had not been passed by anyone. Wasn't about to let it happen then. So I grabbed a drink, gathered up all I had left and went on the offense. My legs were killing me and all I wanted was to be off the trail. My attack lasted two miles but I felt I had put enough gap on those bikes by then so I backed off the pace and cruised to the finish. Don't remember what my lap time was but I'm sure it wasn't pretty. Probably a 34.
So in the end my 6 loop time was around 2:25:00 and that included all the stops to switch bikes, work on bikes and evaluate crash victims. I had done that ride non stop a few weeks back and pulled a 2:10:00 and have done a 5 loop at 2:32:00 so this was way off pace for me. But it was a test day and I am glad I followed thru with the 6th loop no matter how bad it hurt. Good mental victory. Gerry is doing better and still plans to race this weekend.
So check back early next week for race results.