October 25, 2013

Osprey Rev 12

Filed under: Product Reviews,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 7:36 am

I mentioned back during my Colorado trip that I’d stopped by Osprey headquarters while I was hanging out at Lauren Hall’s place in Dolores. While I was there, I got one of their brand-new Rev 12 packs (which will also come in two smaller sizes). I used it once in the Breck Epic (during a stage that had a long gap between aid stations), and, since then, I’ve used it for 3-4 hour mountain bike rides, trail runs, an adventure race, and lots of trail work. So far, I’ve been very happy with it…

I’ll admit, I’m a fan of racing without a pack whenever possible. It’s lighter, bottles are faster to refill, and, especially in the summer, you can off-load heat from your back when you’re not wearing one. However, if you’re gonna ride a long way without opportunity to refill on water, or if you just need to carry stuff, you gotta have a good pack.

While the shape may look a little like the Camelbak LR packs that are made to be worn low around the hips, this one is made to be worn higher up like a traditional pack. I’ll admit, I was a little wary of that, because I’ve had my share of neck & shoulder pain from that style of pack. I became a fan, though, because if you take a close look at all the straps, you’ll see they’re all stretchy and form fitting. The result is a much closer, “part of you” ‘fit than any other packs I’ve worn. Since it really hugs your body, it doesn’t budge when you ride/run, and its weight it diffused to more than just your shoulders.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a Camelback LR pack rest on the back of your head while you’re going down a steep hill…




I’ve always liked getting a pack with a little extra storage/water space. Materials are so light now that the weight penalty is usually small, and it gives you the option of running light or packing for an all-day adventure. This pack has some good easy-access pockets on the hip belt and shoulder straps. I keep my food and anything else I may need to get to while riding in the hip pockets and use the shoulder pockets to hold trash. The left shoulder pocket has a buckle that lets it flip down (if you’ve got your phone in it, the plastic is touch-screen compatible), and the inner right pocket can unzip and expand to hold a water bottle (I’ve found it more helpful for holding my glasses when they fog up and I take them off). I use the outer elastic cord to hold my Silky Sugoi saw (in its scabbard) when I’m doing trail work.




There are three pockets in the main part of the pack. One holds a 2.5L/85oz reservoir- the newest style one that came in this pack is baffled so that it stays flat instead of teardrop-shaped. It’s also got a quick-disconnect hose at the top so it’s really easy to refill (I’ve found it to be fastest if I hang it off of a chair like in the first photos).


There’s also a small middle pocket, which I keep a spare tube in, and a large outer pocket, where my pump lives. At the TNAC adventure race, I carried my running shoes in there with room to spare (the baffles in the new reservoir make the outer pocket super roomy all the way down).

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Oh yeah, the bite valve is pretty trick, too. If you turn it straight out (like in the photo) or back, it’s “off,” and when you turn it 90 degrees, it’s “on.” It also has a strong magnet that attracts cats and holds it to the chest strap.


If I could change anything about the pack, it’d be to tighten up the two mesh angled pockets between the body and the hip straps (you can kinda see them in the top 2 photos). They’re easy to get to when you’re riding, but they’re pretty loose, so small stuff can fall out of them. If you stuffed a jacket or a bulky pair of gloves in them, you’d be fine, but they don’t securely hold on to things like gel flasks or big air cartridges. If I’m trail riding, I’d tend to stop and take that stuff off, anyway, so it’s not a big deal to stuff them into the outer pocket.

Of the packs I’ve used, this one definitely fits the best. Once it’s on, it fits like another piece of clothing and doesn’t shift or jostle or bother me like anything else I’ve worn. It’s just “there” with all the stuff you want right where you need it.

Anyone want a cat?

October 21, 2013

Cyclocross and Hard Labor

Filed under: Bike Racing,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 11:06 am

My weekend consisted of about 1.5 hours of riding, but left me sore and tired nonetheless.

Saturday morning, I packed up and drove to nearby Shelby Farms Park to race our newest local cyclocross series- Crossroads Clash. It was fun, though I don’t have much of a report for it- one other local gal showed up, and she’s pretty new to CX, so there wasn’t much of a “Clash” to speak of. She is, however, very enthusiastic and starting out on a steel singlespeed, very much like I did. I concentrated on pacing myself since I tend to go to plaid for the first 10 minutes and then fade. It worked well, and, despite an early washout/chain drop on a greasy turn, I ended up 3rd overall in the “B” race.



After the race, I watched Ryan, who had a decent go despite his increase in work/decrease in training in the past few months. Matt showed up on his mountain bike with a noise-maker and some dollar bills, and a good time was had by all…


Afterward, we cleaned up, ate some lunch, and packed up to do a little trail work. Matt and I ended up pruning privet off of the Wolf River Trail for about 3 hours before hiking back to the car. We decided that that the hiking in/out thing was the only bad part about trail work, so Matt devised a solution for our “long haul” on Sunday:


My original plan for the weekend was to drive to Land Between the Lakes, KY after the CX race for Sunday morning’s Race to the Canal. Unfortunately, a bunch of asshole, sleazebag politicians with only their own self interests in mind screwed that up for everyone. So, Matt had the idea to do hours of trail work equal to the number of hours we would have raced/driven. Ryan, unfortunately, had to leave for a 2-3 week work venture, so he was unable to attend the trail party.

Sunday morning, after large quantities of coffee, eggs, and uncured-organic bacon, Matt and I loaded shovels, bikes, a rake, saw, and loppers then drove out to the Greenline trailhead to ride in and tackle some of the worst mudholes on the Yellow Trail of the Wolf River Trail System. Since the yellow trail is the sandiest and fastest-draining of all the trails nearby, it sees the most abuse in the winter time (when we tend to see more rain & less trail-drying warmth). The places that do hold water have turned in to 10-15ft wide mud pits as trail traffic rides around the outsides of them, continually eroding the edges and making them larger. Trails in many other areas of the U.S. have been shut down for less…

…but here, it’s considered “the usual spots,” and people ride anyway. My stance isn’t popular with a large portion of the MTB community, but it’s one I stand by, given the eyesore that mudholes create and the amount of effort it takes to fix them.

Matt and I used our previously successful “divide and conquer” strategy. We scouted out the high side of the holes then set off into the woods to find an appropriately sized piece of wood to create an “edge” for our dirt. The other side of the hole gets filled with privet clippings and branches in order to close it off and allow the woods to grow back in to the area. We then fill the high size with enough dirt to bring it up to the level of the surrounding trail. The two spots we fixed yesterday took about 5 hours worth of shoveling…

Sorry ahead of time for the lack of before shots, but if you just look for the piles of privet in the shots below, you can see the extent of the holes we filled in.

This one was the deepest, and will require the most upkeep because the hill on one side of the trail drains straight into it. We sunk in a couple of large limbs on that side to act as a water bar and diffuse some of the runoff. If you look at the 1st photo, you’ll see that the hole spans from the left side of the frame to the large tree on the right:



This second one was as big as the edge of our dirt to the other side of the pile of privet you can see in most of the photos. Our work also included the cleaning off of a conveniently-placed roller on one side…





Of course, neither one of these fixes is a perfect 12″ wide ribbon of singletrack, but, given the expanse of the existing holes, they’re a step in the right direction. Our prolific spring/summer growing season will take them both in a few inches every year. There are several more almost as bad holes/wide spots very close to those, and each one will likely take a couple hours’ worth of digging and engineering. However, it was a huge step towards getting the yellow trail fortified for the upcoming winter.


October 3, 2013

Simmer Down

Filed under: Bike Racing,Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 7:27 am

Since returning from Interbike, I’ve given myself a little bit of leeway to act more like a normal person who rides bikes than a full-time bike racer. In the past couple of years, I’ve gone to either extreme- either taking a full-on break from the bike for a week-ish, or, in the last year, since I did a good job of pacing my schedule, didn’t feel the need to take much of a break at all. Though I am “training” for the Tennessee Adventure Challenge race, it’s basically a fun thing that gives me a laid-back, low-expectation “goal” to keep me from going nuts while I take a rest from being hyper-focused on my usual races.

How’s that different? Well, Sunday, I had a 4.5 hour tempo ride on my training schedule. I wanted to do a specific ride on my mountain bike, but then it rained. So, instead of doing the ride on my road bike, in the rain, I just blew it off and went for a run/yoga class. I’m also doing other fun stuff, like stopping to take photos:

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Wearing baggy shorts:


And meeting up with the Ladies Only ride last weekend:




Part of my aversion to the 4 hours of road riding last Sunday was my lack of a road bike. I finally sent all of the defective Cannondale frames back and asked for a refund of my money. The final tally? 5 frames in the last year- every single one of them with the same defective bottom bracket shell. Number 5 was actually promised to be a 2014 bike from the new mold (the only reason why I rode a defective one with an adapter for months), but all that waiting, and they just sent me another one of the 2013 defective ones. They’ve got the bikes, and I’m still waiting for them to get their shit together and give me my money back so I can buy something else.

In the meantime, I’ve got my Scott CX bike overhauled and set back up as a road bike:



In non-bike goings-on, I decided to try an Aerial Yoga class. It’s a ton of fun:


Also, here’s a random photo of Indy, getting a bath:


I know that my “less serious riding” time is serving its purpose, because I’m already starting to look at early season races to get on the schedule so my fall/winter training has a tangible goal. For now, I’m excited about trying some new-ish stuff and relaxing a little.


August 28, 2013

A well-recovered weekend

Filed under: Bike Racing,Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 7:42 am

After taking it easy for a week following the trip back from Breck, my legs were feeling good, and I was ready to get some structure back in to life. Time off following a hard race is great at first, but always makes me feel lost and floaty after a couple of days. I have a hard time getting anything done because the lack of structure makes organizing tasks feel like a game of 52 card pickup.

So, on Saturday, I set out with Matt on a ride to the Stanky Creek trails and back via the Wolf River trails. I felt fine, and had enough fun that I did it again on Sunday with Ryan. We rode to meet some of his teammates at Stanky Creek for a hot lap before heading home. Nearly 8 hours of riding for the weekend followed up with some H.A.M. intervals on Tuesday felt like a nice trip back to normalcy. To polish off a fun few days, I went to No Regrets yesterday to get part of my left arm half sleeve colored in with World Championship Colors…



I’ll post tattoo photos once it’s all healed.

This weekend, I’m off to Ackerman, MS for the Skool of Hard Nox 50 miler. I’ve never ridden in that area, so it should be fun to get out and discover some new trails. Speaking of discovering new trails- I’ve been in talks with David Wilson from Nuclear Sunrise. He’s going to help get me set up for some bikepacking adventures this fall. I’ve spent the last two winters dead set on racing Worlds. This year, I’m not discounting the fun of cyclocross, but I do plan on diversifying my fun into the “go to the woods for a few days” category.

August 9, 2013

Road Trip #3: Dolores

Filed under: Out West Trip,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 4:45 pm

My next stop after Salida was the teeny little town of Dolores.


I stayed with my friend Lauren Hall, who, before she moved off to Colorado to become a world famous sprinter, used to live/race in Mississippi.


(no, she didn’t get that kit from

When I arrived there on Monday, Lauren was out running errands. Being a little stir crazy from the 4 hour drive, I decided to ride up to the local trail system, Boggy Draw.


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The scenery out there is gorgeous, of course, and, when I arrived back at the house, Lauren was home and getting prepped to make dinner, which was equally as amazing as the riding:


She had a dog stuff catalog on her coffee table. I ordered three of these:


Staying with a pro is always fun. On her recommendation, I started a daily beet juice regimen. She made it the first day, and it was yummy (I think it involved pretty much every fruit and vegetable in her fridge). My recipe the next day (2 beets, 4 carrots, 1 apple) was not nearly as good. Beets are kinda rough, but rumor (actually, lots of research) has it that they’ll make you faster

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I took tuesday as my one day off the bike for the trip. That morning, I drove to nearby Cortez for yoga (here’s the sky, looking angry, on the way home)


…and played around with her Compex EMS on “active recovery” mode just before bed.


Wednesday, I went back for more yoga, then hung around the house in anticipation of the afternoon group ride at Boggy Draw. Unfortunately, some afternoon rain moved in, and only a couple of people showed. The rain quickly soaked the trail, so we only made it around a small loop before bailing out. I only took a couple of photos:

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Wednesday night, we went to the Dolores River Brewery and saw a really cool band. Highlight of the night? A few people from Osprey were there, too. Lauren introduced us, we chatted about Breck Epic and whatnot, and Jeff Fox, the head marketing guy, offered to let me try one of their newest packs. It’s amazing who you can meet in a tiny bar in the middle of nowhere:

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Thursday morning, Lauren and I went to Cortez to take a tour and meet people at the Osprey headquarters:




The pack is a new one they’ve been working on. I’m looking forward to trying it out, because they’ve gone to great lengths to give it pockets that are very on-bike accessible. I’ll post some pics and info once I’ve had a chance to ride with it a few times.

After the tour, Lauren and I said our goodbyes and I headed off to Breckenridge.



August 6, 2013

Road Trip: #2

Filed under: Out West Trip,Trail Riding,Trails — Andrea @ 10:18 am

Sunday morning, I planned out a nice-sized ride from the hostel. The main goal was to ride ~10miles of the Rainbow Trail and then a lower-elevation, shorter trail called Little Rainbow back towards town. First, I walked to a local place for breakfast.


Yard art from the trip:


The route (ridden clockwise):


I rode the singlespeed, and the 32×21 was great until the very top of the initial climb up Bear Creek Rd, where I started to feel low on oxygen and had to hike a little. The first 6 miles or so were gorgeous and flowy bench-cut singletrack with occasional open overlooks before intersecting another forest road at a trailhead:



At that point, the trail jogged down the road a little (you can see on my route where there’s an “up” in the blue line where I thought incorrectly that maybe it jogged uphill). The next 3-4 miles of trail were much steeper and gravelly. I did a little more hike-a-bike before getting to the next intersection where I’d turn off to go to the Lower Rainbow trails:


After a slightly hairy jeep road descent, I found the trail intersection and started down the next portion of trail. The lower rainbow was super flowy and nice as well. My only interruption was a heard of elk that exploded up the side of the mountain as I rounded a corner. As the retreated, they kicked rocks at me. No photos of the elk, but I got one of the “elk were here” sign:


The rest of the trail was great, and, being mostly downhill, went by almost too quickly. Once I’d descended back into Salida, I stopped at the SubCulture bike shop to talk to the mechanic who’d given me some trail advice when I’d stopped by before. Over the past few rides, I’d determined that I didn’t want to keep the Niner Low-Top bars at their full 720mm width. Since I didn’t bring a saw guide and saw with me, I asked him to cut them down just a little (they’re about 705mm wide now). He did the most perfect on-bike cutting job I’ve seen, ever.

When I asked how much I owed him, he kinda shrugged his shoulders, so I told him I’d bring beer back after I cleaned up and got out to find lunch. Just my luck- the owner of the food truck parked next to the shop was in the store, and he’d mentioned some sort of amazing concoction of a chicken tamale, fried egg, and turkey chili (the mechanic, Raphael, said that the food was amazing, and that the guy fed the shop every day). Perfect timing, because about the time I was back with a 12-er of PBR (yes, even in the land of incredible microbrews, mechanics request PBR), I was hungry enough to gnaw my bars shorter.

And, the food was incredibly amazing, and perfectly satisfying for post-ride hunger:


Raphael and his dog (not pictured- his girlfriend, Claire, also a singlespeeder. She was closing up shop and came over to give him ribbing about it later):



Random photo: desert was overpriced single-serve Haagen Dazs ice cream- For those of us with no self-control when it comes to ice-cream portion control…


The next morning, I went and flat wore myself out on the city pump track. It’s likely the best-built one I’ve ever ridden. If you go to Salida, definitely don’t skip it.



Once I was tired and sweaty, I headed back to pack up and get moving to Dolores. The verdict on Salida? I’ll definitely be back. I only scratched the surface of riding there, so I will have to visit again in the future (of great interest- an 80something mile trail ride that includes riding to the Monarch Crest trail on 4th of July).





August 3, 2013

Road Trip: #1

Filed under: Out West Trip,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 6:23 pm

After a fairly uneventful drive across several states, I arrived in Salida, CO yesterday afternoon. Yes, I’m going to Dolores also, but I had to make a pit stop and check out some extra trails before I settled in to my “chill out” spot. First order of business was lunch and stopping by some local shops for trail info and essentials, like hot pink/rhinestone gloves.



I got a bunk at the local hostel. If you’ve never stayed in a hostel, I highly recommend it. Bring an open mind, though, because a lot of the people you meet will be “weird” in some of the most fascinating and awesome ways. It’s an interesting mix of hikers, bikers (this particular time, a guy riding the continental divide trail and a woman road riding down the pacific coast before heading east), and all sorts of travelers from all over the place. Usually a cute dog or two, also.

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After I unpacked, I went out for a quick ride around the Arkansas Hills trails. Included were plenty of scenery, as well as the first of likely many hike-a-bikes of my trip (first photo).

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Soon after I arrived back from riding, I went to dinner with a group from the hostel. WTF moment of the day occurred when a sketchy van pulled up with four fat bikes on the back and four middle-aged women inside. Whoa.

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Back at the hostel, a group of three guys showed up to stay the night and ride the Monarch Crest trail in the morning. I’d researched the Monarch Crest trail before I left Memphis, and had made tentative plans to ride it on Sunday.

Side note- the Monarch Trail starts just off the road that goes up & over the Monarch Pass. You can ride to the start, but there’s also a park & ride shuttle that will take you up there. The ride up is pretty hairy with truck/RV/car traffic, etc.

I figured it’d be more fun to ride with the smaller group, so I went with the new plan. The trail is absolutely gorgeous. I don’t think I could ever get tired of the view from on top of a 12k foot mountain pass.

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If I ever met the person who thought up the idea of this trail, I’d open mouth kiss him/her.


July 15, 2013

Mountain Stuff

Filed under: Bike Racing,Trail Riding,Trails,Training — Andrea @ 12:37 pm

Like I promised, I made my decision as to whether or not I’d go to XC Nationals based on my feelings in the drive home from Marathon Nationals. I’m 100% not feeling it. I want to focus my efforts on tuning back up for Breck Epic, which starts August 11th. After a little post-Natz break, I got back into some intervals today, and, even though they weren’t my best, they were promising, and it felt good to be getting back into a training groove after all the tapering/traveling associated with going to Idaho.

In random “badasses of Memphis” news, Billy Simpson, a local ultramarathon runner, finished the Hardrock 100 over the weekend – 18th place with a time of 33 hours, 14 minutes, and 47 seconds. As an occasionally vocal trail advocate, Billy has had his disagreements with the local 2-wheeled community in the past (some of which I’m more on his side than on others’), but, in the end, we’re all just looking for the next adventure. So, to Billy…

I can barely contain my Breck Epic excitement. To add to it, I’m leaving a week early and staying with another (formerly) local badass, Lauren Hall. I’m going to hide out in her basement and ride trails in her little corner of Colorado while I get through my initial throes of altitude adjustment. I always have a bad day about 2-3 days after getting up high before leveling off to just “more out of breath than usual,” so 5 or 6 days at 7,000ft should get me through that in preparation for Breck.

Motivation for things like Breck Epic is essentially what’s getting me through some of my rides right now. I’m still scared of being hit by a car on a regular basis… a fear reinforced by what seems like a rise in frequency of drivers being incredibly careless, reckless, and/or flat-out mean. I’ve been able to get it down to about 1 during-ride anxiety attack per week. Though I occasionally find myself feeling like I want to collapse in on myself like a black hole, it’s a combination of both my desire to be excellent and of sheer stubbornness that I won’t quit training on the road.

Can't Stop

June 10, 2013

Recovery Week

Filed under: Bike Racing,Trail Riding,Trails — Andrea @ 7:41 am

The thing about a recovery week is that there’s not always a lot to blog about. Unlike Dicky, I made audio race reports while I was out at TSE, so I didn’t have to remember the fine details of each stage so that I might blog about them once I was home. I did have a few nice recovery rides which allowed me to get cool photos like this:


I’ve also been gathering the necessary parts needed to re-assemble the Jet9 with some nice upgrades. I know I’ve said in the past that I wouldn’t get XX1 until the cassette options improved, but I realized at TSE that if I’m only going to ride it on the trail (vs. doing some road & trail training like I do on the Air9 RDO), the current offering should suit my needs. So, all I lack now is the XX1 driver for my wheelsets. Re-assembly starts today…


Over the weekend, I made an impromptu trip to the Syllamo Trails for a last bit of relaxation before getting back into my normal training schedule. I wasn’t sure how the trails would be since they tend to get grown over this time of year, so I stuck to the orange and blue since they tend to be the shadiest parts of the system. Matt came along. He went Strava-poaching on the road while I was in the woods. It just so happened that I caught up to him on my way back to the cabin:

Before that, I realized something really cool while I was on the blue trail-
A couple of years ago, a group of people (I have no idea who- all I know is that it was some sort of large, organized effort) went through one of the most notoriously technical and hike-a-bikey sections of the blue trail (the couple of miles on the “other” side of highway 5, for those of you familiar with the area), and made a bunch of smooth, easier re-routes to large sections of the trail, as well as removing all rocks and obstacles from the path. The trail resembled a nerf football in the coming winter (not that didn’t remain a very difficult ride- there’s a b*tch of a steep climb out there, and lots of super steep stuff that’s barely rideable even to someone who is very good at riding super loose/steep stuff).
Despite someone’s best laid plans to make the trail more accessible to more people, through the process of wind, weather, and mischievous Indian ghosts, the Proterozoic mountain is growing out from under the dirt, and the trail is once again becoming a rocky limestone beast. The trail still seems to be growing and changing all over, which makes it a slightly different challenge every time I make the trip out.


After riding and dinner, I decided on a spontaneous fishing trip down to the boat ramp on the White River. I didn’t catch anything, but the water felt nice.


Sunday, in lieu of riding, we went out to explore the southern end of the Sylamore Creek hiking trail. It’s closed to bikes, and, in the words of one of the older MTB guys here in town when someone was talking about poaching it… “Good luck with that”








Yes, Poolboy Matt was wearing short jorts, which he rolled up to “daisy duke” length at some point while fording the creek to get to the trail.

On the trip back, we discussed the gaping holes in my riding abilities. Namely, my inability to get a bike off the ground without the aid of clipless pedals. Matt decided I should learn on his BMX bike. So, last night, I donned the shin guards and launched off of a sweet ramp into the yard. It was pretty bad… but you gotta start somewhere.



My week of TSE reflection has drawn to a close. I promise I’ll stop talking about it, though, I have come away with one realization. I learned somewhere around stage 5 that my body was reacting to the repeated efforts with deep-seated exhaustion. However, if you were following Twitter during stage 6, you would have seen this progression:

Amanda Carey, Sue Haywood, and Andrea Wilson are wheel-to-wheel!

Women’s leader Carey is sitting on second place overall and current Bear Creek SRAM Enduro jersey wearer Wilson.

After a detour in yesterday’s stage by the entire NoTubes team Wilson is pushing the pace to try to solidify her position.

Carey and Haywood have opened a gap on Wilson

Sarah Kaufman next through. Taking time back from Wilson too.

I essentially went out kinda hard, knowing that there was about a 5% chance of success, and was eventually caught off guard by the sudden tech of the initial singletrack, resulting in my wrecking and going backwards through the field, followed closely by my body calling it quits for the week- 1.5 hours in to nearly 4 hours of riding with one more defensively hard stage looming the next day. I knew, in the first hour of “pushing the pace” that I was being a little reckless with my energy. I didn’t care. I didn’t like dying off half an hour later, but the awesome feeling of the first hour made the entire week worthwhile. The “not dying” part will come with more fitness and experience. I keep getting this movie scene in my head when I think about it…

I mean, I don’t really have any ominous messages to send, other than, “I’m not afraid to see what will happen if I burn my legs up climbing this hill.”


March 4, 2013


Filed under: Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 8:50 am

First off, just as a quick update, there’s more bad juju going on with the EVO. I’m just waiting to work things out with C’Dale before I give a full report, because I want my next report to be my last one.

Now that’s out of the way, I can talk about my own screw-up that kept me from riding in a group MTB ride in Oxford on Saturday. As a little change of pace, Poolboy Matt and I decided that we’d go down to Oxford for the “Tuff Guy” ride- a group ride starting at one trail system, taking a road/bike path route to trails on the other side of town, then coming back to the starting trail system. The weather was pretty dismal- temps hung in the low 30′s, cloud cover was thick, and the humidity was so high that the moisture in the air was turning into snow-ish ice pellets that’d pelt you in the face and collect in your collar. We figured it’d be more fun to suffer bad weather with a group on new trails instead of suffering alone in Memphis.

So, Saturday morning, we got into a breakfast time-vacuum of some sort, and ended up rushing a little to leave. I backed the car out of the garage to pack and realized that the roads were slimy, so I decided to stick the bikes inside the Element rather than on the rear rack. I removed the front wheels, and they fit in perfectly with our bags & other riding stuff. We were off & running, and made the drive down with 20 minutes to spare before the ride start.

As soon as we arrived, Matt took his bike out & rode off to look for a bathroom. I got my bike out and it immediately hit me- I had no thru axle for my front wheel. I didn’t even have to look around in the car to make sure. I clearly remembered wrestling with it a little to get it out of the front wheel, then tossing it on the ground in the driveway before installing the bike and front wheel into the back of the Element without retrieving the thru axle. I flagged down Matt. We made a few hail-mary efforts to look for someone with a spare bike that may have one, but it wasn’t happening. I knew Matt was really looking forward to the ride, so I offered to be a crew person for the group then do my workout on the trainer once we were home. However, he decided he’d rather go back and ride in Memphis.

The ride back home was very quiet.


Back home, we hit the reset button- eating lunch, prepping bikes, and deciding on a route. Given the rain we’ve been having, we chose on an out & back route that included the driest of the nearby trails as well as some of the Memphis Greenline. Pace would range from spirited to “hammertime.”

We ended up having a great, exhausting ride. Matt installed a rigid fork on his bike a few days ago and decided to celebrate by riding cross-country pace+ on the inbound portion of our route. The combination of pace and lack of trail traffic (due to weather than was better suited to staying inside with a hot toddy) made for some serious Strava terrorism. We may not have done the planned group ride, but we got in one helluva workout.

Day = salvaged

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