February 12, 2005: Maltodextrose de azul rides again
The trails are looking pretty good right now and the first race of the season is coming up in about one month, so its time to put Blue Sugar back into the mix. I haven't ridden her since November for a combination of reasons. Most recently, it was unrideable because the rear tire was with Rich, who was fixing a problem with the axle cones.
To get Blue ready, I pumped up the tires, inflated the forks to 80 PSI, inflated the rear suspension to 135 PSI, adjusted the front brake, wiped down the drive train and the rims, and lubed her up. I have to admit to a certain amount of anxiety. Would she run well? Will there be problems? Will she be as good as I remembered?
The bike felt great. I had hoped that the work Rich did on the rear axle would solve the clunking sound I've always associated with the rear wheel, but it didn't. Upon further review, I think that the clunking is coming from the bottom bracket. Who the hell knows. Other than the clunking, the thing rides a like a dream. It is noticeably lighter and more nimble than the Hoo-E, and with that buttery full suspension, we just glide over the trail.
Emboldened, I decided to try the Crack. No go. I didn't make it past the first large landslide across the original trail. A new trail has been stamped into the landslide by hikers, and it is doable on the bike, but it's a very difficult piece of technical riding to pull off. Further up the trail, winter storm runoff has gauged large, new ruts that obliterate any hope for a clear line. Another bail out. Eventually, I made it to the staging area at the top.
I completed a full Inspiration Point loop and then headed over to the Fitz for a full Pillar Point loop, including Bonzai's Bane (See January 22, 2004: Hoo-Koo-E Koo boo-boos). I haven't done it since Bonzai left, but today, I just rolled up on it, glanced at the ruttage and picked a line during the approach, and dropped in. No hesitation, no problem. That gave me a nice lift of confidence for the rest of the ride.
As the ride progressed, I did not feel completely comfortable with the geometry of Blue as compared to that of the Hoo-E. Blue has a longer profile than the Hoo-E, and this puts different stresses at different angles on different microclimates of my muscle groups. By the end of the ride, I was completely exhausted.
The climb up to the San Pedro saddle was tough, but I maintained a decent pace. Over the course of the 3.5-mile climb, I did 95 percent of it sitting down and 100 percent of it in the middle ring. Now that I've spent the winter building up some low-end power and torque with my seated climbing regimen, I can work on hitting high enough RPMs to use the middle ring on tough climbs. Such an ability would really add another dimension to my game.
From the saddle, I admired the verdant San Pedro Valley and Sweeney Ridge, both so lush from the strong winter rainfall. The ocean, in contrast, glowed a bright blue, illuminated as it was by a massive shaft of sunlight breaking through the clouds. Spectacular.
I nimbly zigged and zagged my way back down the hill and then out to Gray Whale Cove. After some tourist-watching, I returned to McNee and hit the McNee-Post cutaway into Montara, down through Moss Beach County, and into the Fitz. I wanted to make 30 miles for this ride, so I decided to add Mavericks and La Mirada to the itinerary. It was beautiful out at Mavericks, sunny, warm, no wind. Sweet, sweet California.
The Mermen are playing at the Old Princeton Landing tonight so there was a lot of activity in Princeton, including a kegger party on the beach, a barbeque in the Maverick's surf shop parking lot, and lots of surfer types hanging around.
I hit the wall at mile 25. From there, it was an eight-mile-per-hour Bataan back to the house. With a little creative noodling, I hit my numbers. Shower, food, sloth, here I come!
While I was at the staging area near Inspiration Point, a gaggle of crows was circling above it and cawing excitedly, maybe 25 of them. In the marshland lagoon near the Maverick's parking lot, there were several large wading birds strutting around, including two great egrets and two great blue herons.
|Mileage: 30.02||Time: 2:53:26||Avg: 10.3||Max: 28.0||Weight: 172|
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