You would think by now I would know a thing or two about riding bikes for many hours. You would think I would know that in the first 3 hours of a 6+ hour ride it is very important to eat and drink. You would think I would know that race pace isn't sustainable for 6 hours, and that getting some dumb QOM on Strava isn't what makes riding mountain bikes fun (although it doesn't hurt :).
Well, I guess I need to make those mistakes more than once to learn all those lessons, because this past Saturday, there I was, in the Santa Ana Mountains, 3 hours into our ride having consumed almost no water and absolutely no food, with a solid 3 hours of riding ahead of me. I was hurting. I wasn't enjoying the climb up Trabuco trail. But I want to go back to the beginning.
When Carl and I met at the San Juan trail head at 7:30 I realized my rear thru axle wasn't in the car, and had to book it back towards home to grab it. When I started climbing San Juan trail, 30 minutes behind Carl, I was riding at a pretty quick pace, partly to catch up and partly because I wanted the QOM (queen of the mountain) for the trail really badly. I rode moderately hard the whole way up and made it to Cocktail rock in 50 minutes. I thought this was a decent effort, but Carl told me I was slow as crap and that def some other girl had posted a faster time. I was sad/frustrated, so I did the only thing I could think of, punish myself for not being faster by continuing to ride fast. We hit the trail head for Bell Ridge in just under 2 hours, and dropped in without so much as a brief pause. The descent/hike-a-bike/descent down to Trabuco wash was a blur of dragging a foot and chasing Carl because he decided to NEVER stop (punishment for my earlier climbing pace perhaps). My riding was a mess because I was trying to go really fast, which just meant messing up, crashing into bushes and loosing my balance in ruts that are normally fun to surf down. When I hit Ding Dong trail, I decided I was over the QOM thing, and just tried to slow down and find some flow. It worked like a charm, I rode all but one switchback on the SUPER steep and techy trail, and hit the bottom in what is the second fastest overall (men and women) time for the entire Bell Ridge plus Ding Dong time. Beautiful.
|The sando, when I finally got it, was AMAZING.|
Carl wouldn't give up so quickly though. He kept running around, searching every bush until he hit gold! A huge, old jug of water and a brand new gallon jug! We all drank greedily, ate sandwiches and drank some more. I started to feel better, and so did Brendan and Carl.
The three of us post no-water meltdown, feeling much happier.
I was stoked at the end to have spent another 6 hours in the mountains, riding on razor blade rocks, with NO FLAT tires, thanks to Stan's No Tubes :)
Absoulte highlight of the day, even better than actually getting the San Juan QOM, and second overall on Bell, was when Brendan said he was impressed I rode off this rock thing on Pinos.
And that is the almost as long as the actual ride, ride recap of the Lung Loop with lots of bad choices!