Monday, May 18, 2009

Base with the Mannimals

After all the racing in March and April we felt like taking a bit of a break, but it seemed imprudent to do so with big races in June and July so instead of time off the bike we decided to work on some aerobic base fitness.

So with that in mind we set out for some long days in the saddle and maximized the time by riding with friends (which we hadn't ridden with in a long time due to training requirements).

Last Saturday we rode Noble...

So much fun! It was an amazing day!

I hadn't ridden my Lenz in a long time. It had sat in pieces in the garage due to my frustration with the fork. Lack of options on longer travel 29er forks really reduces this bike's appeal.

It was a lot of fun to play on some obstacles and challenge myself technically again. I don't do that often on the Sworks HT, on that bike it is all about picking the fastest, smoothest lines.

Although I don't have many pictures of me riding on logs and rocks and stuff, I do have a picture just after one of my crashes. Since I haven't been challenging myself technically I seem to have gone quite a long ways toward perfecting the art of crashing...

No worries though, a few crashes can't deter me from having fun!

On Sunday we were riding the Double Traverse on Palomar and I was glad! My body was feeling the effects of the previous day's crashes and the crappy Lenz derailer hanger was bent and causing shifting issues. I really need to get one made out of steel or something, the aluminum is soft like butter and is poorly designed with a huge stress riser and very little support. Maxle on the rear is good, hanger design not so good.

Palomar is a great climb and it was a beautiful day. Steph and Dan got a head start on us at the bottom as we headed up to South Grade.

But it all came together for a short period before Allison went off the front.

Allison was kind enough to stand around at the top and take a picture of my KOM sprint.

After refilling our water bottles we headed down the East Grade and then U-turned to climb back up. East Grade starts out steeper and then levels off some.

I spend a lot of time looking at this view, but can you blame me?? :)

I put in some hard efforts on the second trip up the mountain so I figured I earned myself a brownie and some milk. SO GOOD!!!

Just a quick break between weekends, but I felt it necessary to mention that it was National Bike to Work week and we participated on Friday.

So what does one do to follow that up? Another great weekend!!!!!

This past weekend we hit up a great ride on SART. I used my derailer hanger straightener on the Lenz so that I could ride it again. I am actually leaning toward using this bike in Downieville. I just can't justify building another bike and since the Canzo is trash it would cost a bunch of money to get a new frame up and running. At first I had some hope of someone offering up a "one race" sponsorship where I would race their bike and write about the experience but it doesn't look like it is going to work out.

The bugs were out on the climbs, but I have a very effective way of combating that...

It was a spectacular day though!

There were quite a few downed trees across the trail, but it was a great day for a long ride with good friends. Everyone rode really strong!

Due to some uncertainty for the coming months of training and racing it was decided that we would set aside the XTR drivetrain that came on my Sworks HT as spares while they are still fairly fresh. Luckily we had the funds earlier this year to purchase some SRAM components and I was able to slap those on my bike.

I also went by Rock N Road and bought a sweet new handlebar.

I didn't quite like the way my trusty Ergon grips felt with the gripshift so I am trying out the ESI Chunky grips with them.

Sunday we rode up at Cuyamaca. I wanted to try out my new setup and make sure I start getting used to the changes so I rode the Sworks.

After doing a bunch of riding on the Lenz it was quite a shock at how fast the Sworks is! It was a lot of fun blasting up hills and zipping along on the trail!

The last time we had ridden in this area was right after it burned. It is quite a lot greener now but still sad to see all the burned and dead trees. We took a group photo by a burned out tree and I am pretty sure we took a similar photo three years ago. :)

I am stoked on so many fronts right now. My fitness is great, my bike is great, life is really good! Time to rest for a few days before slamming myself with intensity in preparation for the races in June and July...

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Watching you on the Stumpy was like night and day. I mean, you fly on the Lenz, too, but the hardtail was crazy fast!

Great riding with you both, as always. Looking forward to more fun weekends ahead!