Sunday, April 02, 2006

Where do I begin?

Man, what a day! I've been grinning from ear to ear since our ride today. Yankee Springs was in fantastic shape, and there riding was sweet!

Alden, Erin, Andy, and the Kerry and Cary (sp?) and I headed out from Novi at about 10:30 this morning.. The sky was ominous, but we were in good spirits. The drive was not nearly as long as expected, and we were on the trail by 1.

Our first lap was just a feeler, getting to know the trail, and for me, working off a significant hangover from my visit to the Mills the night before. Working on just 4 hours sleep, I needed a little time to get my legs. The pace was medium to high intensity at times, but there were several stops to allow us to re-group.

After stopping in the parking lot after lap1 to refuel, we headed out again, agreeing this time that it was every man/woman for him/herself, so we could each get a gauge on where we might be on race day. Somehow I got put up front, and soon decided to try not to relinquish the position. I'm much better being chased than chasing.

I haven't riden so well in years, if ever. I was laying the bike down in corners like I never have, leaving my fingers almost completely off the brakes at times. I was taking the rooty, but not terribly technical downhills also with no brake action, and soaking up the bumps with my needs and elbows. I suffered non of the head-shake that I used to when riding a rigid bike. Between the bigger, higher volume Kenda Blue Groove, and the handling skills I must have picked up over the years, it was fairly smooth riding, relatively speaking of course ;) I just couldn't stop smiling. I'm not sure if it was all due to the bike, but I certainly am loving the shit out of it right now!

About halfway through our "race pace" lap, there was a scare when Erin, who was glued to my tookus the whole time (she likes to play with me like a cat batting around a half dead mouse) had a moment of indecision trying to get around a tree smack dab in the middle of the trail. She made the unwise decision of trying to go around BOTH sides! I just heard the "Crack!" and then an obvious yelp of pain. Luckily, she had bent herself around the tree on her side, and not on her spine. The writhing on the ground was at least evidence that she had felling and movement in her extremities, and from that point it was just a matter of letting the pain and shock pass.

Soon, we were all together again, and back on the bikes (credit to Erin that she didn't walk it out right then!) Trying to shake of the scare and stiffness that had settled into my legs, I picked up the pace again. a couple miles later, and onle a couple from the finish, I came up on a rider on a geared bike who had actually stopped at the accident scene earlier. While I had obviously caught him, I was climbing pretty slow, not sure I could overtake him on the climb. He pulled to the side never the less and let me pass. Shortly after, we were back to the flats and some down hills, and I felt for sure there was no way I could keep ahead of him. I eventually offered to let him pass, and he said "you're good, I'm just gonna draft for a while"....

Draft my ass, I dropped him.... =] I sure didn't think I'd see the day where I dropped a geared, suspended rider while riding a fully ridged SS at 2:1. This might be a fun summer =]

As my quads toyed with the idea of seizing up on me and ruining my day, I finally finished. I was astonished to turn around and see Erin very close behind! Not only did she ride it out, she kicked some booty!

So, having throughly spent ourselves on two laps, and Erin in need of medicine (read: beer!) we decided to head south to K-Zoo, home of Bell's Brewery. There will NEVER be a better way to cap a day of riding than a pint of brewery fresh, 1st batch of the season Oberon on tap! I was quite sure I had died and gone to heaven!

Well, too late to make a long story short, but suffice it to say that a good day was had by all, even if not everyone had as enjoyable a ride. We hope to do it again soon!

Thank god for DST!



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