Weekends like this one past will be hard to top. It was pretty much one of the best weekend's I've had all year. I think my body was doubly stoked to not have to be racing! I enjoy the races, but they take a toll physically, and 5 out of 6 weekends was really wearing on my body, which isn't yet used to this kind of training and racing.
I had a huge weekend on tap, and after last week's volume increase I was worried if I'd pull through it. Friday I felt horrible on the bike. We did an easy lunch spin over to our local shop to pick up some road tubes and bars for the weekend, and my legs never opened up. They felt like soaked, pummelled, rotten driftwood laying lifeless on a rocky sandy beach. I even started to BONK near the end of a 45 minute spin. It was hot out, and I hadn't really eaten properly the morning before we rode, so that all contributed. No worries - a quick stop in at Wahoo's for two tacos cured THAT problem right up.
We got all packed up and ready to head out Saturday morning for a full day at Noble Canyon with some good people. It was a small group, as they are lately, and I hoped it'd be a fun day. I had no idea what was in store for me. I've decided to train on the Epic pretty exclusively so that everytime I ride it after training on something else it doesn't feel like a foreign object that I have to re-learn how to use. The Dos is a really different bike with very different handling characteristics, and I don't ride them the same way at all. So, I was also somewhat apprehensive about the rocks, crashing, etc.
My descending has NOT been up to par lately. I've been pretty disappointed by my lack of skill on the trails. I finally decided to bite the bullet and have Justin put the stock low-rise bars back on there in place of the uber-narrow XC narrow-shouldered girly bars I've been running. I LOVE my Noir bars. They are awesome for climbing. They look pimp.
The updated front end
The other side
I still can't believe I rode this at Noble…
Heading up the bottom of the trail
First descent, woohoooooooo
I think we were all feeling pretty good and moving along. There were a few other small groups out there, but not a ton of people otherwise. The trails were quiet. It felt great to be back, actually. The Epic took the trail like a champ. I'm still learning to get the feel of singletrack and techy riding back, but I was having a blast. The Captains were rolling great!
Steph and I took off to chat
Refill point! I heart E2 in the mountains
It worked great all day as a supplement to the H20 in my pack. Kept me going strong, and tasted great even once it was hot. NO cottonmouth! Yay!
The group - couldn't ask for better ride partners
My AnthonyS moment
Glad I took this shot… I waited a bit at the final road crossing so the dust could settle. This was it: the moment of truth.
The descent down Noble is one of my favorites, and has been for a few years now. I've had sooo much fun railing this descent on the Enduro. I rode it on my Canzo once last year, and it was a bit more rough of a ride, but still fun. I didn't know how the bike (or I) would respond today. Happily enough, we both fared really well! I had a blast descending the upper portion, and once into the trees was having serious fun. I didn't get to hit the log jump, and pulled up on widowmaker halfway through, but no regrets. I "railed" the rocky section following, and only had one near death experience (and no off the bike excursions!). I have never in my life descended this trail with an ear to ear grin bouncing on the pedals going "So much fun so much fun". This ride solidified my love of my bike, my love of riding bikes, and my love of riding my bike with great people.
Everyone was riding strong and we were having a blast.
Regroup before the next techy portion
Parting is such sweet sorrow…
We finished up, did some recovery chatting at the trailhead, and headed south to stop at Henry's for some grub. Stephanie cooked up a superb meal for the rest of us!
Salmon and chicken on the stove, along with quinoa, roasted veggies, and complete with Smoked Porter.
It was such a great day! How could we possibly do a repeat?
Sunday was up and at'em too early for a Palomar double traverse.
We wound up getting a later start than planned, but no problem with me. Temps were great.
Making the catch
Soloing off the front
I wasn't sure how I'd feel on Sunday after a massive day on Saturday. I hadn't put that much time on my bike in one day in a very very long time. My legs came back feeling strong, so I wound up riding off the front up South grade.
At the turn I took my leave of the group and did a solid effort up the hill, but never putting in a big effort. It was KILLER. Legs felt great, and I just felt like I was motoring. I had to back off a few times as I didn't want to blow up before the top and our second ascent.
The group approaches
Fueling at the top - I was looking forward to these!
After a short break we headed down East grade
The turn around. Nowhere to go but up!
Climbing back out
The legs felt pretty good again, so off I went doing some steady state efforts. Justin stopped at the first overlook. I felt pretty good, and wasn't sure he'd catch me. A little overhalf way up he came TEARING by. I struggled to keep with him the remainder of the climb, and eventually was feeling the efforts of the weekend. It'd be just over 8 hours of ride time. That was more in 2 days than I'd had any of the previous 4-5 weeks TOTAL. I was loving every minute of it, though.
Nearing the top now!
My body was loving the easier efforts this weekend.
I had an ABJ sandwich and ProCharge mixed with Recoverite and milk, and then we stopped at Chipotle. I was pretty full from my post-ride food, but enjoyed a chicken taco. Now the big debate: Wahoo's or Chipotle? I really have been digging Wahoo's Bonzai veggies, but Chipotle's chicken is NOT to be beat.
On the way home Justin and I stopped off to pick up a few things and got dinner - massive amounts of roasted veggies, small batch of quinoa, and chicken breasts mixed on a bed of salad greens.
Oh ya. I'm obsessed with quinoa. We had the leftovers from last night as lunch today. I'm STILL full!