New chain in hand, the plan today was to finish what I started yesterday and then some. Plan accomplished. A beautiful day. Sun shining, blue sky.
Walk along the river, sweet lullaby, it just keeps on flowing,
It don't worry 'bout where it's going, no, no.
Don't fly, mister blue bird, I'm just walking down the road,
Early morning sunshine tell me all I need to know
You're my blue sky, you're my sunny day.
Lord, you know it makes me high when you turn your love my way,
Turn your love my way, yeah.
Blue Sky, Allman Brothers
Left out at about 7:15 a.m. to get to Tipperary. Tammi would drop Elora off at daycare at 8 and meet me at the bottom of Spruce Creek.
So, 7 - 8 miles on forest roads to the trail head. There's a lot of logging/dead tree clearing going on in WP. The pines have been infested with a beetle that is devastating the forests in this area. This scenery will be drastically different next year.
The Tipperary trailhead.
The Tipperary trailhead.
Tipperary is about 3.2 miles up. I have used this climb to gauge my overall fitness year to year for about 7 years. My PR up this climb is about 30 minutes. To equal that I would have to average over 6 mph. The bottom 2 miles is the toughest: switchbacks, tight path, 2 creek crossings and much steeper than the top mile. I started up at an even pace. Had to walk the first creek crossing as the exit was too sketchy, passed the spot of the chain snap and dug in. Hit the first switchback, only averaging 5 mph. Need to go. Have to keep telling myself: pedal circles, pedal circles. Next switchback and the next and the next, I stop counting them and listen to the tires rolling on dirt.
Check my HR and I'm at 171. Check my breathing, slow it down. Some parts of the first 2 miles I can get into the middle chain ring, but have to drop it in the granny to keep the quick cadence that I am used to from so many road miles.
It is in these moments that I experience the most spiritual moments ever on the bike. Just me, my bike and the mountain. I channel the energy I feel from the mountain and into the bike. I hit 2 miles and I am at 24 minutes, too slow, but the 2 mile mark is the last creek crossing and now the switchbacks are over and the track widens. The slope also lessens and I can add some speed. I blast through the crossing. Middle chain ring now, 12 mph, click a gear, 15, click a gear, 17, 18. My HR is in the 180s, but I have to push. There is no more tomorrow, we leave Winter Park at dawn.
I start telling myself: Go Faster, Go Faster, damn it Jim, hardman the fuck up and GO FASTER. I hit the end of the climb and stop my watch: 32 minutes. Not a PR, but within range.
I take stock: I am strong and I feel good.
I roll down Spruce Creek. 2.5 miles down in 12 minutes. Tammi is at the bottom.Spruce Creek to my left.
Spruce Creek to my right.
Now we search for Aiko. I got a little more info as to exactly where it starts yesterday.
We climbed up the forest road and after walking around a little. GOT IT!
The mother lode! This is the holy grail of single track. To quote Tammi: tight and twisty! Shoulder width in many spots. I am giddy. So much damn fun that we climbed back up and did again!
Tight and Twisty, just enough room for the bars to fit.
28 miles in just under 4 hours. Capping off a great week of riding and my re-connection with my cycling roots on the kind of trails that make you drool.