Shnikes! Every Sunday, in preparation for my bloggage, I look back through all the photos I’ve taken from the previous week. It wasn’t until I was in the middle of the process this week that I realized all four rides I had done were group rides. Having spent most of 2015 training for, or participating in double centuries, I estimate I spent a good 80% of my saddle time riding by myself or with people I didn’t know. 2016 is already way different. And way more awesome.
This week it all began on Tuesday with our road ride starting at Cycle Analysis. The turnout wasn’t huge and I attribute that to the beginning of the crit season. People don’t want to waste their legs on scenic rides when racing on a track is more their thing. Thankfully, I was joined by a few guys that wanted to drop the hammer on the Woodrat Loop. And, we did. Jared, Destry, and Jonathan, pushed me to new, if painful, PR’s on a lot of the segments we endured. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Dead legs (barely) still attached, I was back at Cycle A again Wednesday night for another round of John’s Peak goodness. On a normal night, the group of 15-20 mountain bikers will eventually split into two groups. One will choose to do a more aggressive ride, while the other tends to hit some of the fun, lower trails. My plan was to chill out and stick with the less strenuous ride. That, however, quickly went out the window when I was asked to lead the “other” group. C’est La Vie. Without hesitation, or a sane thought, 8 of us were off and riding up to the top of Jackson Ridge. That trail often goes by another name. To put it politely, it’s usually referred to as MoFo. Because it isn’t very rider friendly.
Thanks to Destry planting the seed Tuesday night, I decided Saturday would be a good time for my annual Carberry Loop ride. Neither of us had ridden the loop in reverse so he and I met up with four other riders at the top of Jville Hill and headed for the town of Applegate and Thompson Creek Road.
Three of our group had to get back to town soon, leaving Destry, Rick, and I to tackle the climb up to the top of Thompson Creek.
We knew the road was closed 7 miles ahead due to a landslide, but we took our chances thinking we could carry our bikes around debri if necessary. Until then, we planned on enjoying one of the lesser known roads in our area. Dropping from the top of Thompson Creek, we cruised along a well maintained gravel road at a pretty good clip.
About 3 miles from Applegate Lake we finally encountered the slide. The road was definitely closed, but there was a clear path which we were able to navigate while carrying our bikes.
It was nice to see the lake full. It seems like it’s been a number of years since I’ve seen it that high. Maybe I just don’t remember. What I do remember is from there, it was nothing but headwinds all the way back to Jacksonville. Suffice it to say we were all happy there was a couple other guys to share the pulling duties. The wind was no joke!
As Sunday approached, the weather wasn’t looking too great for a group ride that Ruth was putting together. Despite that, a good 20+ riders showed up for a climb up the Greensprings. The plan was to cross over past Hyatt and Howard’s Prairie Lakes before heading down Dead Indian Memorial and completing the Lakes Loop.
The weather in the valley was perfect, but by the time we were 3/4 of the way to the top, that had changed and we were riding in a rainy 50 degrees. While most of the crew (faster and cooler than us) carried on and finished the loop, some of us (less cool and more wise) decided a hot cup of coffee at the Greensprings Inn sounded more enticing. What started out as a 60 mile ride turned into a 35 mile Sunday coffee ride. With 3500 feet of climbing. I guess if I had to do my first coffee ride, there could have been worse places to do it.
So, there you have it. Four rides, four groups, lots of fun. I’m really enjoying taking the year off from putting in a bunch of miles. Things could change, but for now I’m gonna roll with it.