Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Illin' and the Mini Rando de Taco

The past weekend was spent visiting Frank’s family in Illinois, so not much progress was made in my mountain bike game. We did manage to sneak in a ride on Tussey Ridge on Thursday morning before we left. I was able to go teensy bit faster on the ridge even with the on-and-off rain that was making for slippery rocks. We also rode Upper Kistler, Leniency Trail, and the Tussey Ridge Extension, which are all add-on trails that are included in the TrailMix long course, but that don’t get a lot of use by people who are just out riding. It was my first time doing every single trail in that section of the forest at once, so now I have an idea of how long it takes. Usually I just try to kill it on the ridge and then take the shortest way down to the road.

We didn’t get much riding in during the first couple of days in Illinois, because the hip/body pain that I had last week flared up again very badly from the drive, the strange bed, the lack of sleep, or some combination thereof. We made up for it on Sunday, when we rode with my friend Isabel, who I hadn’t seen since the 2014 Barry-Roubaix. At the time she’s just found out she was pregnant, and I’d just accepted a job at Penn State. Now she has an 8-month-old and I have a wedding plan in progress, so we had a lot to catch up on.

The ride started out not-so-great, because my chain that had less than 600 miles on it decided to snap about 10 minutes into the ride. The upside of this early failure was that we were still close enough for Frank and Isabel’s husband, Brandon, to push me and my chainless bike to the nearest bike shop downtown. Unfortunately, they were closed for Father’s Day, so the guys had to ride back and get the car, then Frank and I had to drive to a further shop to get a quick link.

We did finally get going about an hour and a half late, but we were still motivated to ride. It turned out really awesome after that. The last couple of years some of our Illinois friends have gone a ride called the “Rando de Taco”, which is about 100k with five taco stops. I’ve always been a little bummed to not be able to make it, so I was pretty excited when Isabel said that we were doing a mini version that was about 35 miles with two taco stops. It was a fun, casual ride on mostly bike paths the entire time, and the tacos were tasty.

I also drank my first soda in nearly two years, which was surprisingly awesome and really has me thinking about adding a bit more gratuitous sugar back into my long rides. My rule of “a banana an hour if I’m going to be out more than two hours” gets me through, but it still might not be optimal, no matter how good I claim my fat metabolism to be. I’ve got a homemade maple-syrup-based sports drink recipe that I want to try this weekend to see how I do with a boost of sugar without the chemicals of soda.

Now we’re back home safely, and I’m trying to get back into my training rhythm as quickly as possible. We’ll have one more weekend away this summer when we go to New York to visit Frank’s friends (and hopefully buy my wedding dress!) in August. I’ve also committed to my first-ever night of tent camping in a couple of weeks, but that will just be a quick overnight trip to prove that I can sleep in a tent and then ride some trails to the south that we’ve never done before. Otherwise, I’ll just be trying to cram as much mountain biking advancement as I can into the 9 remaining free weekends before ‘cross begins.

No comments: