It’s the end of an era. While our opportunities to ride together seemed to become fewer and farther between over the last year or so, I always knew the days I rode with Shawn would be just a little more fun than most others. But, alas, all things do in fact come to an end. Ok. It might not be completely coming to an end, but with Mr Dingman moving away for bigger and better things (new riding adventures included), I’m left with a little bit of sadness and emptiness in my riding soul.
But, it wasn’t over this last weekend yet, so let’s talk about that!!
As a farewell ride, it was mutually agreed upon by the powers that be, that we should put on the Fall Ball 2017 ride in Shawn’s honor. Boy did we!
Sunday morning, a bunch of gravel starved crazies showed up at Cycle A ready to ride around the hills above Jacksonville. Most were on mtb’s. Some were on cx bikes. It didn’t matter as long as everyone was on something with 2 wheels that could go up some steep mountains!
The group I was with didn’t waste any time getting to the hills either as we headed straight up the Britt Trails to Cady Road and on to Poorman. From there, it was the nasty climb known as Griffin Lane. Thankfully, it still had enough of whatever that dust suppression stuff is called stuck to it that we may as well have been riding up pavement.
This was my second time riding the cx bike on the fairly new, and very bumpy trail. It was the only time on the whole ride I wished I’d had my mtb. Between my narrow tires being inflated to just below max pressure to avoid pinch flats, and my poor bike handling skills, my wrists felt like, well, like they weren’t attached to my arms anymore by the time I reached the end of the trail. Still fun though!
After crossing Hwy 238 at the bottom of the trail, we started the LOOOONNNNGGG climb up Forest Creek Road, and the clear cut at the upper end of it, that would add 2400 feet or so over the next 8ish miles. That may not sound like much, but along with some 4 and 5% stretches, there were plenty between 12 and 22%. Oof!
From that point, everything was a cake….ride? Ok. Maybe not. We still had a couple climbs ahead of us.
All in all, it truly was an awesome day. Close to 40 miles. Almost 7000′ of elevation gain. A bunch of the best people a guy could ask to ride with. Beautiful weather. Gorgeous scenery. What else is there??
Oh yeah. I guess I could say a few more words about Shawny-boy.
Local cyclist, crazy mofo, and good-natured masochist, Aaron Mock, is a Team Cycle Analysis rider with a penchant for taking the road less traveled. Sometimes, that isn't the best choice. Follow his weekly blog series for the latest on his never-ending escapades and exploits!