Derik posted an impromptu gravel ride last night for today, Sunday. I thought, "Heck yeah! I wanna go!" The meeting time was 9:00 at McLane Elem. That's about 10 miles from my house. I got up at 6:30, and left the house at 7:45. Could have slept until 7:00, and left at 8:00. Mama Cass moves faster than you think (or, at least, I thought).
I had no idea, besides Derik, who was coming. Turned out it was just Derik, DJ, Trisha, and I. I was fine with that, as I really like riding with all three of them (and they never get impatient with my slowness). I hadn't seen Trisha since the Minot Peak ride (aka Minot Make It). It was great to ride with her again. Sergio caught up to us partway through, but turned around later on.
We did the route that a bunch of us had done in early Spring. The one where it rained, and we cut it short because we were all freezing. The one where I was scared to death coming down in the rain and mud. The one where I did a lot of walking because the ups were so steep.
Today was a different story--TOTALLY different story! First of all, the first climb that I walked up most of the way last time? Yeah, I rode that sucker all the way to the top! Still wheezing like a donkey, BUT NO WALKING!
At the top of that first climb, Derik let a bunch of air out of MC's tires. That was better for the rest of the ride. We did a bit of downhill, then more climbing. This time, we went all the way to the top of Rock Candy Mountain.
Rock Candy Summit. Most excellent view!
Today's posse--Derik, DJ, and Trisha.
Coming down was a blast! I was still a little scared, but I was going about 5 times faster than on Stella. The others still are more fearless and faster than me. DJ has no fear whatsoever! There was a couple of times where I thought he was gonna die, and we would have to somehow transport his lifeless body the rest of the way down the mountain! Fortunately, that didn't happen. However, Derik did get a flat, which allowed me to catch up (even though they always wait for me).
We came down the long 7 mile descent, and came to a spot where the bridge was gone. We had to walk across a log that spanned a small stream. DJ was kind enough to take MC for me (it was enough of a challenge for me to just walk myself across the log). Then, we found some thimble berries and blackberries, and ate a handful or two.
This time, after a short bit on the road, we took the road we had wanted to take last time (I think B9000). It was more climbing. Trisha and I commented that we could tell we were getting tired. She loses her form, and me, having no form to start with, just go slower. DJ and Derik were watching for a trail we would take to come out at Alpine Dr. WAIT...trail? As in singletrack? For real mountain biking? YIKES!!!
Yes, I even did a bit of singletrack! It had its fun moments, and its terrifying moments. I kept up a running commentary through the terrifying moments telling myself it was okay with an occasional (maybe more than "occasional"), "OH CRAP!" I managed to survive my first mountain biking experience. I might even do it again!
The rest of the ride was on the pavement. I left the Posse at 62nd to ride home. Oh, and Trisha was giving me some pointers on how to ride the descents fast, yet safely. I tried it, and it was better (still not so fast in the corners). I will soak up any wisdom they want to share with me!
Total miles for me from home to home: 54
Mama Cass is definately a worthy steed for the gravel rides. It was really fun!