Wednesday morning was cloudy (still) and cold. I saw my guests off (they’re headed to Sedona, AZ), then prepped everything for my “reverse revenge” plan (ride the entire trail system in reverse race direction).
I headed up the hill and parked at the middle trailhead. From that spot, I could ride the yellow/red trails, then loop back to the car to refill water before moving on to the blue/orange/green/orange/blue (look at a trail map, and that will make much more sense). The “backwards” yellow trail is a booger. You’re headed towards a higher elevation trailhead, so there’s more steep stuff going that way. My legs were tired, as was my brain. As a result, I ended up walking a few spots that I’d probably ride if I were able to react and get on top of the pedals a little faster. By the time I made it to the red trail, I could tell that the previous days of singlespeeding were catching up to me. I was zoned out & had no snap (At least I was more relaxed than the previous day…) An hour later, I was back at the car.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to leave the car when your feet are numb with cold and your body numb from fatigue?
As easy as it would have been to load up and head home, I convinced myself that the worst was over and pushed on to the blue trail. The descent down from the trailhead to Hwy 5 (the one we’d been up the day before) is pretty fun in a slightly dangerous sort of way. I did muster the courage to ride down the Stairway on my rigid fork (too bad no one was there with a camera to catch the “OMG, I’M GONNA DIE” face that I’m reasonably certain I was making on the way down). The short section on the other side of the highway was a lot harder than I remembered…
After a quick snack at the Hwy 5 trailhead, I forged on. The climb back up from highway level to the orange trail is a bear. It’s super rocky, and very steep. I ended up getting off to walk. Then I wandered off of the trail when it switchbacked right and I kept pushing my bike straight with my head down. When I realized that I wasn’t on the trail, my initial reaction was panic. For a brief few seconds, my heart raced, and I had thoughts of impending doom. Then, I realized that I was only about 15 feet from the trail.
Wandering and panic? Really?
It was at that point that I realized that sticking to my original plan and pushing through the fatigue was probably a dumb idea from a personal safety standpoint. I continued up the orange trail (and up a couple more climbs), but when it finally reached Green Mountain Road, I abandoned the course and climbed back to my car.
Failure? Eh, not really. I still ended up with 5 hours of (mostly) saddle time, and obtained my training camp goal of “dig yourself into a hole, then go a little deeper.” I was happy to return to the cabin, eat no fewer than two dinners, and watch the sunset in the process (something that had eluded me the other nights because of the constant cloudiness). Fifteen and a half hours of rigid singlespeeding in 5 days will make you feel sore in places you were previously unaware of. I can’t remember the last time I slept as hard as last night (though tonight could come in a close 2nd).