Friday's post-work ride was spectacular. Dennis and I rode our single-speeds, indeed, this is all I have been riding for almost 2 years straight, and haven't dug the geared bike out since our 2008 trip out west to Tahoe, Fruita and Moab. My Gary Fisher Rig is totally broken in, dialed to fit me perfectly, and I have learned the nuances of SS riding on the local trails. 3 laps down the "switchbacks" and up " gun club" with a loop around the "farmstand" trails had me on the rivet, almost gagging, just like the good-ol' days of hard-core Cat 2 road and MTB racing. But I was flying. I actually felt like D-Lo and I were riding the same bike at times, pivoting around the trees in a sweaty swirl, popping over tree roots and baby head boulders in sync, heaving for air as we crested the hills, grinding the 32 x17 into the dusty, sandy trails. We slept like dogs in the warm summer night, and took a chill road ride the next morning, after helping out with some bridge construction on our local trails. Spokespeople and EHTPS have been building metaphorical and physical bridges together, one proverbially muddy hand washing the other as we try to have a sustainable trail system locally.
The Sunday came. Sunday Mass in Montauk means a 2-3 hour snotfest chasing Dan F., Craig D., usually Marty R., (currently laid up with a fractured femoral condyle..) and Dennis around the trails in Hither woods and Montauk. Not today. In the basement, I blew past the Rig and loaded the geared Gary Fisher Superfly into the car. Once in Montauk, I took off mid-pack, sandwiched as usual between the lads. Barely warmed up, I was paying attention to how my new favorite saddle wasn't quite adjusted, and how I missed the bar ends and grips from the Rig, and how the bars had too much sweep for me, and the seat height wasn't quite right and and and .. next thing I snag a tree on the left, spun hard to the right, losing contact with the front of my bike and BOOM, launched into the dirt, shoulder and elbow first ("tuck and roll") sliding towards the huge boulder at the end of Laurel Valley (aka Death Valley!). Thank god for helmets, my super comfy helmet squished nicely as it is designed to do, and saved my noggin from a kiss of granite. I lay underneath the bike, curled up in the dirt, and waited for the lads to extricate me..No real harm done, just stick and stones trying to break my bones, but ending up only with scratches and scrapes..
Back on the proverbial horse that threw me, I tried to befriend it, made nice relaxing thoughts flow and attempted to settle into the ride. 45' of so into my groove, I popped over a log I have cleared a hundred times on the Rig, but this time, dug in my unfamiliar large chain-ring, and while the bike came to a grinding halt on the log, I projected over the bars, superwoman style..Despite the lighter landing this time, I was fuming, furious and feeling like a total beginner..t I wanted to ride on my own, sulk a bit and get myself together, but instead got a big dose of NO sympathy, with barely even a dust-down from my fellow riders. Exactly what the doctor ordered. Back again on the bike, I chilled down, wiped the snot, sweat (and tear) away, and headed for the Powerlines..
Danny challenged us to a multi-bike duel at the top, and facing a 15' hammer down and up steep scrabbly hills, I wavered for a moment..sucked down some gel, tightened my helmet straps, then hit it hard..What a rush.. I was sucking the dusty dry Montauk dirt, forcing myself to relax on the steeps downhills and power into the climbs, trying to keep him in sight. I blasted by John V and Dennis, never saw Craig, and came to a halt a few sweaty miles later. Exhilarated, and upright. Turns out I still love this stuff..and look forward to many more miles on the way to TR2010..Just need to get more saddle time in on this beast, and tweak it to perfection for August.