I had done a pretty good job of lining up back to back Epics… the Palm Springs and then the next weekend, San Diego MTB Association’s Archipelago Ride. Brilliant!
The “Arch” ride is billed as 50 miles, point to point, connecting SD’s major mountain bike trails, 5,000 ft of climbing and (most importantly) ending at Green Flash Brewery. 🙂 An epic day on the bike and a major fundraiser for the local IMBA chapter.
It was a rolling start, so we grabbed our wrist bands and shoved off. The first climb was immediately upon us (and I knew I was in trouble). The trail was a technical single track climb, I didn’t want to blow my legs in the first 10 miles of the ride plus I’m still dialing in the new bike (this part is taking longer than expected)… so I hiked A LOT more than I wanted. No beuno.
The good part is that all the climbing made for a great descent. The San Diego trails are a bit messed up from the heavy rains that we’ve gotten this spring – but it was still fun. The first part was the loose rocky stuff that I’m not 100% comfortable on… but it soon gives way to more forgiving trails (well, except for The Way Up trail).
I soon found myself separated from my guys and playing leap frog with my ‘pack’.
This was an important lesson that I’ve been skirting the edges of. I love my buddies. I love to hang out and ride with my buddies. But on some rides, it’s just better to not attempt to wait, be waited on, try to get the group back together. We’re all very capable riders – and our strengths are very different – which means when one person is going fast, someone else is going slow. Once I broke away from the guys, my stress level immediately went down. Lesson learned.
Back to the ride. Most of the ride was great. Not a lot of bottle necking except for one section where someone had taken a fairly significant fall at the bottom of a drop. There were fast people, there were slow people. For the most part, everyone was super friendly and happy to talk to a stranger.
The course was well marked with the typical “ribbon” format… although I did make a mistake once and wondered why there was a big fat rattlesnake was in the middle of the trail if hundreds of bikers were passing through the section. 😛
As typical, the end of the ride is a bit of a blur and getting to the finish line was sublime. Bike valet, food, beer and clean clothes awaited. 🙂 *Bliss*
The next day was XC racing in Orange County… then traveling for a week of diving, SUPing and rum drinking in Belize…