Monday, June 2, 2008

Itching to Race Again

Got in some fantastic riding over my three day weekend. After riding 100mi/13,000ft with Dave on Friday (prior post), Saturday was recovery day. Just as well. Weather-wise things were quite unpredictable. Cathy and I did a 25 mile tandem recovery (for me) ride on the Nashua River Rail Trail. She pretty much pushed my sorry carcass along.

A couple of teammates raced Auburn on Saturday. It seemed like a long drive for a race that didn't interest me that much. There were only 35 finishers in a combined 35+/45+ field. It sounds like the real racing took place on Sunday. I regret not doing the EFTA Bear Brook MTB race. That was one of my favorite courses, and now it's back after a hiatus. Dave Penney raced in a sizable singlespeed field. Conditions were great. Colin R also raced at Pats Peak in warm, dry conditions. Two missed opportunities.

Birch Hill with descent to Rocky Pond in wee distance

Instead, I slept in, then hit Beaver Brook in Hollis, NH. I rode there only once last year. Used to hit it frequently. The deal with the place is most of the legal trails are not singletrack and don't make loops. I had reservations about riding in there on such a nice day, as there would be many hikers. I do poach a few goodies.

I used my Ellsworth dualie. Beaver Brook is quite brutal on a hardtail, as it is about as rock and root infested as any New England trail system can be. I started my normal loop which hits the north side first, then continuing out of Beaver Brook for the climb over Birch Hill. This gains 450ft on very steep gravel service road to communication tower up top. The ATV trail down to Rocky Pond is a riotous descent, downright scary on a dualie riding solo. The urge to really rip is strong.

Birch Hill across Rocky Pond. Tower at top is 200ft tall for scaling

Back in Beaver Brook, I hit many of my favorites. On one particular trail (I can't name without incriminating myself), I encountered group of hikers. I was ready to get yelled at. Instead, they screamed at their loose, young blonde Labrador. I like dogs. Apparently the lab thought my pale legs were salt licks.

It was a great ride. Logged 20 miles, 2150ft climbing, in 2:08 hrs. Legs definitely came through with some hammering. Could have raced, but wouldn't have been in peak form.

Typical terrain in Beaver Brook

Next weekend will be a race weekend. I just don't know where yet. Choices are Balloon Festival in NY or Waterville Valley TT much closer to home in NH. I'm leaning towards the TT. The Balloon Festival race is logistically challenging, 3+ hours away and starts early. An overnight stay is probably required. WV is close and the TT is short. There'd be time to do a real ride afterwards in the Whites and explore some more dirt notches. Only downside is I don't own one iota of TT equipment. I would go in commando cannibal, probably the only rider to do so there. I see at Charlie Baker riders regularly go commando cannibal in the results. My goal would not to be competitive in my class, but see how I do against a few people I know with TT gear. I've never ridden the course but have driven it a hundred times. Should be an excellent ~45 minute interval.

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