Sorry for no pictures.
This week marked the opening of West Branch and Medina and also the start of the summer group ride schedule. So it's been a pretty busy week for me on the bike. Before I worked the dinner shift at work on Monday I went through and overhauled my drivetrain. Got xt derailleurs (front and rear) and shifter and all new cables. It was a longer task than I expected mainly because while everything was off the bike I figured it was the perfect time to give the bike a thorough cleaning. Monday was the official opening of West Branch so I had to go out there Tuesday.
I have very mixed feelings about West Branch. It's the closest longer trail to my house and it's a decent trail, but for some reason I don't get excited about it. It has roots and rocks and hills and descents and some tricky technical stuff but I never come away excited about the ride like I do at other trails. I also tend to hurt myself on that trail. So I went out there Tuesday to give it another go, maybe with my endurance and skills progressing over the winter I might enjoy it more.
I get out there and within a half mile I misjudge a descent and end up in a tree. This gives me an incredible Charley horse on the inside of my thigh. I finish lakeside and I'm feeling good so I head over to Rock Gorge. I'm doing well and clearing stuff I didn't clear last year, still can't get up the hill after the river crossing but still feeling good about it. I'm cruising along a flat section and clip a tree with my handlebars which sends me over the bars. I get up and soldier on. Still feeling good I head over to Bit O' Honey. Why I don't know. Last year towards the end of August I fell on this trail and hurt myself pretty badly. Today was no different, in fact where I fell is where I had fallen on that ride last year. Once again I banged up my knee which I've been icing since then and is healing nicely.
Wednesday was the return of my favorite group ride. CAMBA holds a group ride every Wednesday at Reagan Park. Almost always a good turnout and it's a great course. Last year I was a solid mid-to front of the B group. I had debated what ride to do before hand because of the knee injury so I arrived early and did a lap of the Huffman Park Trail. I felt great, no knee pain and I had energy. So I decided on the A group. Nancy Desmond led the A group and played sweeper and I took the front to set the pace. I set out a little below race pace, I wasn't sure of the tempo so I figured a little below would work. Hit the first climb at Huffman and looked behind me and no one was there.I had gapped the A group, the group on the one ride that I was off the back of and barely held on last year, and today I was pulling away from them, this would be how the entire evening went.
I kept having to set up and cool my tempo. I'm not saying I was faster than the people in the A group, because I know there are fast riders in there, Johnny P, Robert Shroka, Mike Farley, Nancy Desmond, all riders who are fast and quick. It was just that day I was feeling great. I know the course better than any course, my bike was in the best condition and lightest it's been. I don't know what it was but I just never tired and did the entire 10 miles in the big ring.
Today I went to West Branch for another CAMBA group ride. And boy did I not feel good. Three days of hard riding had down it's damage. I hung onto the A group for the entire Lake Side loop. Towards the end I ran into my team mate Mike and we rode the Lake Side loop backwards. He was flying and my tired legs felt like lead.
This weekend I will be doing the Vultures Knob race, and either Mohican State Park or The Valley Death Ride.