Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sometimes you've gotta go out and flog yourself...

For me that day was today. It wasn't even that I really felt like I needed to make up the pain and suffering that I missed out on yesterday. I actually thought today's ride would be easier (and shorter) than it really was. But, a cold day in the "hills" is a cold day in the hills no matter how you cut it.

Old faithful

I can't remember the last time I was out there...but, for $&*#'s and giggles, I'll look it up. Jan 19, 2008. Yup, almost an entire year since I climbed this one.

I started out overheating and wondering why I had on so many layers. I figured that climbing up Holy Jim would be painfully hot. I was wondering why I'd brought extra socks and more wool. It was really hot, needless to say.

Justin began pulling away. Everytime I looked up the fire road he was further away. I maintained my endurance pace.

It started to get a tad bit colder as we reached the pines. Then we hit the shade. Time to pull up the arm warmers before the short descent.

The first real "downed" tree.

I'd seen a FS ranger truck heading down the fire road, so I assumed it was all clear.

After the short descent it was just downright frigid. My hands hurt. My feet hurt. There were small bits of snow here and there, and the ground was frozen.

It couldn't have been more than 38-40F.

Eventually we hit the "real" downed tree. But, two moto's had also gotten through it, so I knew it couldn't be that bad. There were about 3-4 big trunks blocking the road, but it was easy enough to walk under/over/around them and get back on the bikes.

The "other" side

We got to the gate and basked in the sunlight. It was still cold, but at least the air felt warmer.

Next up was the traverse...

I had been looking forward to climbing up the wall. Mostly because I figured a Z4 climb would warm me up. Wrong!

Just as we started the ascent I couldn't even hold onto my Ergon barends. They were just too cold to the touch (through my normal thin gloves). It was so cold I could barely get out of Zone 3, no matter how hard I was climbing. It was cold and more of it, almost all in the shade.

I reached a bit of sunlight and my lower back gave out. I pulled over to warm my hands and stretch my back, and got back to moving again, hoping to thaw out. Eventually it felt a bit warmer, since we were mostly in the sunlight.

Idiotically we'd left extra layers/shells at home, but I did have one rain jacket (wind proof at least), and one l/s wool jersey (warmer, at least).

Once at Trabuco we put on whatever warm gear we had for the descent, and headed down. It was cold, but warmed slightly as we got lower. We eventually got to the bottom of Holy Jim for a snack and to warm up. It felt pretty good there in the sun.

It was time for more climbing...

It was somewhat difficult to keep it endurance-paced, but I went slow and was able to maintain a lower HR than my last time up the hill. It wasn't even very warm climbing up (a first). Temps were kept to a minimum, and it was pretty chilly near the top.

Almost there and we got to the big downed tree.

The roots I think were about 5' tall, but there had already been a "go-around" cut in to the left.

Eventually we were back up on the divide and it was time for the final descent back to the car. It was time to suit up in the extra "gear" we had brought along.

Parting shot

The descent was cold and painful - it always is in the winter.

For anyone wondering, no, I didn't take the "pimp" bike out today. Probably would've been okay (only one rock strike on Trabuco, one on HJ, and a bit of flora in the drivetrain, but otherwise ok - no flats or mechanicals), but no sense in "breaking it in" on a 4.5+ hour ride with no bail out.

However, halfway up ITT I was thinking about my new "pimp" bike sitting alone at home... then it occurred to me that I was on a pimp bike. The parts were basically the best we could get at the time. Basically full X.0, 240 hubs on 355 rims (bladed spokes), Juicy Ultimates, etc. It's a sweet-azz bike in its own right, and I'm super stoked the good 'ole Dos Niner has held up this well. Same fork since its inception in November 2006. The frame was used in 2006 (not by me), but I got it in April ~ 2007 and it's been going strong ever since. The Reba 29 needed to have the lockout fixed after my first 12-hour solo attempt in June, but aside from that and typical drivetrain replacement, this bike has been super reliable and a great weapon for XC and endurance for over 2 years. Can't ask for much more than that.

So, while I'm sad the new rig is still sitting pretty IN THE HOUSE (that never happens), I'm also stoked that I have such a bitching "back up" bike on the shelf.

Hope everyone else had just as good a Sunday as I did. I'll be feeling it tomorrow, but what fun is a day on the bike if you aren't?

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