Occurring during a transition between seasons, any kind of weather can be expected. Over the dozen-plus years I've ridden the T-burner, we've had several nice years with dry conditions and temps above 50F, like today. 300+ riders can show up on a nice day. But I've also ridden in rain, on at least four occasions, including one year it poured the whole ride at 35F. Less than 50 riders showed that year. There were at least two years with snow on the ground, and one of those years the temp never got out of the teens. I'll take that over 35F rain any day. I've flatted only once, back before I converted to tubeless.
The FOMBA trail system is considerably bonier now than 10 years ago. Heavy usage has a way of bringing roots and rocks "up." My average speed hasn't dropped much though. Today the conditions weren't perfect, but close. Heavy fog in the morning left areas a tad greasy. Leaf drop is always a factor on this ride.
At registration, the usual suspects were chomping at the bit. I know I enter a risky realm when riding with RichB and DaveP on technical terrain. They ride FOMBA like brakes are optional. I burn through pads at FOMBA. The ride start was a bit chaotic, with SteveG arriving late and Rich and Dave heading out with another group. I wondered if I'd see them again. It didn't take long for Steve, Skogs and I to catch the group.
Large group rides aren't really my thing, as you invariably spend as much time regrouping, fixing flats and mechanicals and BSing as you do riding. Nothing wrong with that, just not my style. I rather push myself until I fade into an endorphin fog. Rich and Dave share similar ride values.
Unfortunately, when I came to the front of the pack to ratchet the pace up a bit heading to Battery Point, Steve and Skogs fell off. Before heading into the "hero" section, we debated whether to wait for a bit, but consensus was to stay ahead of the masses. FOMBA trails can really get gummed up with diversity of riders hitting the challenging terrain. I feared doom riding with these two without others to temper the pace just a bit. They give me no sympathy.
I nearly cleaned Fireline with one minor dab. I was glad to be alive coming out the other end of the peril filled three mile ribbon of death. The second longest trail in the system, the two mile long Long Trail, didn't treat me nearly as well with many dabs. I used to be able to clean these two trails regularly. The two biggest, chunkiest trails down, the rest should be easy as pie. Mmmm, already thinking about pie waiting for me at home.
The remaining nine FOMBA trails were a blur. Nobody hit the deck, but there were close calls. Having gotten through the hero section in good time, we decided to add a segment off the arrowed loop, adding about 4mi to the ride. Rich hadn't ridden this trail before, which hugs Old Candia and Hooksett roads. Nice flow and hillier than the rest of the FOMBA material.
Rich on bonus trail. Midday, long shadows, must be getting
close to December.
We finished with 31.6 miles and 3:15 hours on the Garmin. The parking lot was still full when we got back. Steve and Skogs had just finished too. They took a wrong turn, doubled back, then stopped and had some hot cocoa at the midpoint. Glad we didn't wait longer for them at the end of Fireline.
I made a huge dent in leftovers when I got home. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with the works (half pound of cream cheese, tub of sour cream and chives), gravy, and pie. Cathy baked two pies Thanksgiving morning, and 30hrs later, they are nearly gone. Cathy had only a small sliver each. Fat Doug ate the rest. Zero will-power when that kind of stuff is around. Now I have to recover for a 50+ miler planned on Sunday.
No way riding is cancelling out these calories!