Monday, August 29, 2011

Tall Oaks 2011

Ethos 1... Possibly the lamest name ever. I'm going to have to make sure Trav doesn't get that luxury of team naming next year. But regardless, Ethos 1, which consisted of Travis Donn and myself, took it to the dirt yesterday for the annual Tall Oaks Challenge in Jeff City at a little gem of a trail called Binder Lake.

I cut my teeth riding these trails. Back when I had the Wal-Mart Mongoose, I used to go out from time to time and break things pretty much every ride. Then I got the GT Outpost, and continued to ride very rarely throughout the last few years of school. It wasn't till I graduated, that I decided to take up riding a little more seriously, and bought a Specialized Hardrock from Red Wheel. It was there that my addiction truely started. I rocked Binder daily for that first year. It was a year full of weezing and overall being a out of shape wannabe biker.

This was the 4th year that I've done Tall Oaks. I'm pretty sure I've done it every year since it started. This year was about like every year, with the same trail being used, the same format, but better competition and more racers overall.

There were 31 duo teams that took to the dusty trails. The trail was in major need of some rain, and I'm sure every racer who took to the trail yesterday is hacking up dirt flavored lung bunnies today. On one end you had to watch your speed around corners, but on the other end it was so dusty it always looked like there was a racer just up ahead so you seemingly always had it pinned trying to catch that next racer. I know more than one racer that took it to the earth hard on some of the loose corners. But you know who didn't? THIS GUY! I know right, holy shit, the king of wrecking didn't wreck all day long. That's a record I believe.

Big thanks to Nicole Stacey for taking pics. Find them here.

Fast recap...

Travis comes in with Chris Ploch after lap 1, who was racing with ancient but still fast as hell Bob Arnold. At this moment I realized we had already lost the bet of the day. Bob and Chris bet us a six pack a piece that we couldn't beat them by the difference in our combined age in minutes. Basically Bob and Chris's age together was like 90 something, and Travis and mine was like 50 or some shit. Ok, maybe Bob isn't that old, but it still ended up being a difference of 24 minutes (years) or something. We only took the bet because Chris was trying to play the "I'm hungover" card. Which I'm pretty sure turned out to be crap, as he continued to smash 32 minute laps. Anywho, we lost the bet, but back to the first lap handoff. Bob fumbles in his oldness during the handoff and I get out in front of him. I pin it, and put in the fastest lap of the day at 31:07. I felt like shit the first lap. My legs felt awesome, but my lungs were on fire. I have a few ideas why, mainly sleeping in a dungeon the night before. I was shooting for a sub 30 minute lap, but it eluded me again.

We have about a 3 minute lead on now 2nd place, Devin Clark and Rock Wamsley. There are close to 6 teams all within minutes of each other. These teams included pairs like Jeff Yeilding and Mark Gullet, JP Brocket and the Manimal, Andy Gibbs and Andrew Moorman, and Bryce Hylton and Corey Case.

Long story short, Travis continued to put down fast laps, and I did the same. My second lap was 32:02 and I felt like I was working 20% less than lap 1. Looking back I should have pinned it that lap and I probably could have hit that sub 30, but I still had 4 laps and I wasn't looking to loose it for us. So I rode fast but comfortably. Lap 3 for me was 32:35, lap 4 was 33:05, and my last lap was 34:49. I was feeling rough on the last lap, but overall I felt pretty great all day. My legs did what they were supposed to do, and that was crush the pedals for a total of 5 - 7 mile laps. A rough calculation shows I averaged about 12.8 mph overall. That's about what I need for the BT, and I'm figuring it's a fairly comparable course. Now I just have to string all of those laps together back to back, plus add about 3 more.

In the end they didn't recognize the fastest lap. That's a first. Apparently they didn't have time according to Nick. Travis also said he had 50 bucks more in his envelope than mine. Guess I caught that short end of the stick. No worries... Still gotta give a shout out to Nick and Jessica, all their fine volunteers, and Team Red Wheel for hosting this always sweet ass event.

Results here...

All in all, it was great riding against some fast dudes with lots of friends to hang with in between laps. Free PBR from the coolest dudes in black, and a frog leg fry immediately following at Pops. Strike it as a mark in the good day column.

Headed down South this weekend for the Slaughter Pen Jam. I'm ready to jam.


Dust and Summer

Dust & Summer from Harry Nesbitt on Vimeo.

Dust and Summer pretty much summed up Tall Oaks. I'll write more on that later. For now, waste some Monday morning time on this gem.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Bocce Ball, Prison Brews, and other News

I was fortunate enough to have another cherry popped last night. No not that cherry. My bocce ball cherry. I've never played, but have heard plenty of stories of the grand game from my Pops over the years. He's been playing it at Prison Brews in Jeff, and it just so happens the fall session just started last night. Conviently I had to be in Jeff anywho, so when he asked if I'd be his partner, I said sure. A harmless game of bocce ball couldn't hurt right?

Well long story short, we killed it. And it would have been a harmless night... But then again harmless nights suck. So interject a few drinks, and the night ended up being slightly more than harmless. Not by much, but a little. Deb treated me to one of their sampler packs. That sounded nice. Then they brought it out. Geezzus. The 7 house brews came out nicely postitioned in a wooden holder, each glass being roughly 8 ounces big. I happily destroyed every one of them, and then continued tasting more of my favorites throughout the night. The best was the Reformatory Rye Stout. Chocolatey goodness. And it'll get you drunk! I must say, if your in Jeff City anytime, stop by. You won't be disappointed.

I am properly carbo loaded for this weekends festivities.

News... Hmm...

GT is rolling out the stops for 012. The new Zaskar 100, the Sensor 120, and a trick titanium Xizang. The Zaskar looks pretty cool, although its a bit of a porker. The Sensor would be fun to bomb down hills with, but that Xizang is where it's at. It's simple, beautiful, and reminds me of the good old days on my first real mountain bike, the GT Outpost.

Niner is changing up things a bit for the new year.

Surly also has some big tire sweetness going down. I kind of miss my old KM. That steel tank was always a blast on the dirt.

I'm tired of typing... And I have work to do. Damn work.

Let it go down at TALL OAKS!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend Photos

Well last weekend went about nothing like planned... But that's the way it goes sometimes. It was a wild, crazy, and downright rough weekend that's still lingering even today. I remember why I don't party much. Two nights of late night fun, and I sure as hell don't feel normal still.

Friday I did manage to get in a solid 50 miler on the road. Went over to the new Missouri River bike bridge. Pretty sweet.
The bridge isn't tilted, but I took this pic riding and kinda liked the almost optical illusion.
The end of the trail that drops you down on the other side.
A nice view from mid-river.

Friday night was a late night with Pops and lil bro as we gigged even more frogs. We have quite a good mess by now, and you could have sworn these frogs were on roids. Some of the legs were chicken drumstick size. I meant to take a picture of some, but never got around to it.
I took a nice easy hour ride around Binder lake Saturday to flush out the system, and get a little blood flowing through the body. I had my fair share of BL's on Friday night, and wasn't feeling the freshest.

Saturday night was well... interesting. Probably leave it at that.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat though. I missed that chick.

Time to get ready for Tall Oaks this weekend. Trav and I will be duoing it up. From the sounds of it, Ethos will be in full force, with quite a few duo teams mashing it up.

Now where's my water...


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tale of Two Rides

I like road riding sometimes... But I love dirt riding. It's where the real shannagans of crazy train fun times go down. I've never had any road ride end up as fun as most mountain bike rides do. So much more adventure can be had in the woods.

Never the less, I did have a little excitement last night at the Spin Ride. Travis decided to drop the back of the pack early, so I ended up trying to make sure everyone stayed together in the back till we hit the loop. About halfway into the loop I tried to turn around and catch the fast boys, and in the mist of laying down the wood, I did this...
That's going straight up on the wall. I was suprised the chain was undamaged, having completly broke through the chainring.

DW and I finished off the ride, and then I followed his vehicle straight over to Burnsey's where the real fun of the night would be had.

Photo evidence was had...
DW, Burnsey, The Manimal, and JJeffries.

The OGs. That's orginal gansta's... Or more like slightly less than middle aged men with weird lights strapped to their heads, playing around in the woods way past bed time. Oh, plus me, the kid.

Fun is never in low supply around these dudes. So to that, I welcome the weekly Pirate Ride into my schedule. Sure I get home at 12:30 AM, and I drag ass the next day, but it's way too rad to miss.

That and soon as Spin Rides are done, we can get to the madness earlier! Oh, and of course there's that whole time change.

Get ready... Not long till 5pm dark rides. Ughhh....

But it's great out now! Go getcha some.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Broke Poney and SS Champs!

As anyone in the know knows, last weekend all sorts of shannanagans went down at Swope Park as the Spoke Poney proved to be another top notch Heartland event. Those guys know how to throw a race like the Chiefs know how to throw a game.

My race went something like this...

3...2...1... GO! Sprint up the hill, take the lead and begin to wonder what the hell I was doing. Most of you know how I ride wet rocks. Kind of like trying to drive square pegs in round holes. It's almost impossible. So it became apparent not long after hitting the singletrack that I shouldn't be leading. I was sliding, and skipping my bike and body all over the place. Somewhere in the mix, I sent my bike into a tree and told Aaron that it was time for me to take second wheel. He quickly took off, and I busted tail to keep up.

I'll also go on record saying that it wasn't just my bad luck that day that lead to me pulling out of the race. Hitting Phase 4 during the first lap, I noticed that my body wasn't doing well. I was having an off day, and I was wasting way to much energy for as slow as I was going. Not sure what the deal was but my HR was sky high, and I felt like I was creeping along.

Aaron came in a minute ahead of me after the first lap, and at that point Travis was just behind me by 30 seconds or so. Not long into the second lap I took a hard over the bars, and sent my bike end over end on one of the armored creek crossings. I was pretty pissed at this point, as I always get when it comes to me and wet rocks. Travis passed me just like he did at State this year, and I'm pretty sure I said the same thing I did back then. He asked if I was ok, and I replied it was just another great fucking day riding! I was pretty tired of my rear tire sliding all over the place, and seeing a big galge/crack/whatever it is on the rear end of my bike didn't make matters any better.

The crack in question... More on this to come.

The rest of the race was pretty much a joke. I started riding a bit better, mainly because I slowed way down on the rocks, but my luck never got better. I had my first flat on lap two, fixed it on the trail, and then had to stop at our pit to air up and get more tube/air supplies. Coming into lap 3, I was down by 10 minutes on Aaron, with 3rd being a few minutes behind me, and a pretty huge gap over the rest of the field. I figured I'd just play it safe, ride slow and smart, and try to finish at least 4 laps. Lap three was rough to start, and I even had to take a quick breather. Mark G asked what the hell was wrong, and I told him I was being a Sally. I started to feel better, but in the mist of flossing 8 pins, I caught flat number two. Not only did that suck, but my hands and jersey was so wet and slick that I couldn't get my small 16 ounce air canister properly installed on my inflater head, and lost pretty much all of the air that was in the canister. Not to mention the inflater head was acting up, and kept jamming up on me.

Oh well, I was done at that point. No air, no more tubes, and tired of dealing with everything. I hiked my bike out, and called it a day. It was a pretty damn long hike out too...

I left early due to not feeling the greatest, and wanting to get home to rest and get my bike for the next day dialed in. I wanted to stay and party, but the SS Championships were the next day, and I wanted to do well at it more than I did at Spoke Poney so it made sense to jet out early to get ready for round 2.

I was pretty beat up, not really from the race, but more from the wrecking. I decided to go out for another hour ride with some friends later in the afternoon, not only to get a sense of what I needed to do with Kevins bike to get it race ready, but also to get some blood flowing through my beat up legs.

After some major changes to Kevins bike, I was happy with how it felt, and felt good about racing it the next day. I wanted to race my SS, but it's in pretty rough shape right now. It needs a new rear wheel, but more importantly it needs a new tensioner. I have it magic geared at 32x18 which is a great gear, but the chain was a little loose and I didn't feel like risking dropped chains all race long.

I woke up at the crack of dawn again on Sunday, and made the hour trip down to Warsaw for what I expected was a 9am start time. Turns out they moved it back to 10, which sucked because I had to waste more time, and that time would have been nicely spent sleeping in a bit more.

Warming up I knew I was feeling a little rough, but my HR was steady and felt better than the day prior. I did a little warm up, and eventually lined up with the 20 or so other single speeders that came out to fight for the title of SS Champ. It was actually pretty disappointing to see such a small turnout, but at least there were some pretty decent riders who showed up. Turbo from Jeff who took 2nd last year, beating me on my rough day, the other Jeff crew, Dan Furhman, some Springfield boys, some Seagal boys, some Colorado dudes, and a few other randoms who could always turn out to be fast.

We took off up the long wide open double track, and to my suprise, I was able to keep my 32x18 up front until the end when Dan took the lead. He was running something like a 33x17 which was ridiculous. I knew that if he could turn that gear well all race, he would win, but it was a tough course and turning that hard of a gear wasn't going to be easy.

I rode behind Dan until I noticed Turbo working his way up, and about halfway through lap 1 of 3, I took off and for the most part never looked back. I was getting time splits from the Lake boys, and it was never enough to rest easy and spin lazily. I had to pretty much ride fast the whole time, knowing that second was only a few minutes back.

I rode well, and just tried to ride smart and not flat. Flats come easy at Warsaw, but I was running some pretty stout tires. I didn't even take a tube or air with me. I just figured flatting wasn't an option. Sometimes it's best to think it into reality.

I won in the end, with a time of 2 hours and 11 minutes. Turbo put on another impressive SS show, only coming in a minute or so behind me. He had a strong last lap, but I wasn't about to let another SS Championship slip through my hands. I pinned it in the last section, and came across the line in the only position I was after, 1st.

All in all, Mac did a good job of puttin on the SS race. The course was about as good as it could have been, and he kept the price at a nice cool 10 bucks. More racers would have been better, but looking at this year vs last, the competition was about the same. Maybe a few less heavy hitters, but it made winning still worth it.

Aaron finally sent me pics from Nationals. His gal is quite impressive behind the lens of a camera. Here's some for your viewing pleasure.

Spin Pizza ride tonight, followed directly by a night ride with Burnsey and some others! Oh ya, good times are sure to be had...


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why I ride reason #312...

Post ride gluten free pancake packed with cinnamon, peanut butter, home made blackberry jelly, and honey. Usually use local honey but ran out.

I plan on doing a recap of last weekend tommorow. I've been busy, and last weekend was crazy.

Spin Ride tommorow night!


Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Rain

Will lead to Saturday tackyness that will lead to some Spoke Pony awesomeness! Now if we can keep those rocks dry.

Rest week has went well. Alot of sleep, not much riding, and just a little core work to keep everything fresh for this weekend. SpinPizza ride went well Wednesday. Good size group, and it felt good opening the legs up a bit.

I have to put a 36 tooth front ring on the Epic tonight, along with the new XT ten speed cassette I purchased for my Flow wheelset. I got tired of switching the XX cassette everytime I wanted to switch from my race wheelset to the training set. The XT is almost a quarter pound heavier, but that's why they're called training wheels. I went with a 36 tooth ring over my current 34 due to the fact that I was in my lower gears too much, and none of the races moving forward have any major climbing that warrent the 34. Still loving the 1x10. Simple, light, and effecient.

Of course tommorow is Spoke Pony, and then Sunday is the Midwest Single Speed Championships. It's going to be a tough weekend. I have high expectations for both races, and I'm still not sure which one I want to expend more energy at. Spoke Pony is going to be hard regardless, due to the length of 3 hours. No way am I doing 6... BT needs to be finished in a little over 4 hours, so 6 hours would be overkill. 3 hours at 12mph is the goal. BT will need to be 4 hours at 12.5-13 mph average. Ya, killing it...

Some happenings on the 29er front this week...

Trek is coming out with a 140mm 29er full squish. Apparently they put in in the catalogue this year, only to find out they won't be able to produce it in time, so looks like it's a 2013 model. Not really sure why they went with this certain design. Not only is the main triangle tight, but they have a dropper seatpost leaving only the downtube for any bottle mounts. They should know that most people would like some bottle mounts on this all day type of steed.

G-Ted had a pretty sweet blog about the state of 29ers in 2012 and beyond. Pretty spot on.

Europe is rolling out all sorts of new 29ers for 2012. While we don't see a whole lot of them around here, it goes to show that 29ers will see the biggest boom in the coming years. I mean those crazy Europeans are even adopting them, so the platform is obviously not going anywhere but up.

Who's got some cordless hair dyers we can take out to Swope tonight? I forsee the dirt being in amazing shape, and hopefully we can get enough dry time to dry the rocks. The last few races at Swope have been brutal. Wet rocks suck, and Swope has no shortage of them...

It'll be all good though, so get those chicken legs ready. The pain train will be blowing through in full force tommorow!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ear Muffs

Hide your children, and put on the headphones if you're at work. If you haven't yet seen this video, then be prepared for some F-bomb droppin awesomness. Almost makes me wanna go out and buy some K-Swiss's. Pretty unique marketing though...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


It's the best part of a rest week. I get a lot of it, no matter what the week but on a rest week I get an extra dose of it. I think sleep is the number one overlooked recovery tool. I like to get at least 10 hours a day, and on recovery days 12 is great. Usually this means getting home and taking a 2-3 hour nap, waking up for 3-4, and then falling back asleep for the night. I can do that now that I'm single. It's very nice.

For most people though, that's out of the question. For those like you, I suggest learning the power of the power nap. 30 minutes will still do wonders for you. Find a quiet place, and learn to relax and dose off for a short period. I'm not very good about the short nap. I always tend to sleep at least and hour or more. As we loose daylight, I'll have to mix it up in order to still get rides in.

But for now, nap time is a plenty, and I never have a problem taking advantage of it.

See you all Saturday! Spoke Poney!!!!


Monday, August 8, 2011

Show Me State Games

Well, I guess everyone had other shit to do yesterday. At least judging by the no shows I assume that was the case. No big boys from the Lou, and none of the CoMo heavy hitters showed. I remember back in the day this used to be a very hard fought out race. All the big boys showed up, and it was something to actually win it.

Not to take away from the guys that did show up yesterday, but it was a pretty small expert field none the less. I rode a pretty consistant race, not really pushing it too hard and just trying to stay steady. Ended up coming through about 15 minutes in first after three 7.5 mile loops. Good ride through the woods no doubt.

So where was everyone? I was really looking forward to racing Dan and Best, but neither of them showed. I know Shot is in Colorado, and I haven't heard what Elwell has been up to.

No worries, this weekend will be full of some heavy racing. First Saturday, and then Sunday. My first double header!

Rest week this week... Minus some easy riding, and Spin Wednesday. Oh, and those two races this weekend. Anyways, it'll be nice to take it easy for the most part, and try to get some stuff I've been putting off at the house done. Like cleaning and laundry. I haven't spent a full weekend at home since early Spring. Go, go, go I tell ya.

Oh, I almost forgot about the frog giggin on Friday night. It was AWESOME! It was good to spend some time with the Pops and lil Bro. It was a new experience together, and it was very successful. 86 legs when it was all said and done. Definently a good night with gigs, and even better was the frog fry we had last night.

Don't knock it till you try it...

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and had some good riding. This week looks to be much much better temp wise!

Now if we can just keep this rain away for the weekend festivities...


Friday, August 5, 2011

Rainy Friday

Man, I'm going to be pissed if this rain cancels our race this weekend. We go over a month without rain and then get dumped on just days leading up to the Show Me State Games. Not to worried, it was crazy dry last weekend, and I'm sure any bit of rain will actually help.

What's been happening on the 29er front this week?

Rolf Prima came out with their first mountain bike wheelset, bot in a 26 and 29er version. I have to say, it's pretty lame. Nothing great on the weight front, and a pretty heafty $850 bucks. They remind me of the Ellsworth wheels, but they don't have the width that the Ellsworth's had. 24 spoke just like Ellsworth, and about the same price and weigh. Even worse is their product launch video. Check it all out here...

Raleigh has a new carbon 29er coming out, just like everyone else this year. It's called the Talus and it looks pretty sweet. Not as sweet as that carbon cross bike though...

Jamis is adding to their carbon 29er lineup with a new Dakar. It looks cool, but nothing stands out really.

Tubulars are the new thing in mountain bike wheels now days. Take these bad boys. 1100 grams for a 29er wheelset? Yes sir, and how I just found out about them I have no idea. I sooo need to win the lottery. With new tubular tires coming out every year, I forsee more and more racers going the way of glue on's in the future. Your hardcore racers at least. I'm sure I'll be rolling something like those in a few years. After I rob a bank.

Pops invited me out to a nice boys night out. Something like two gig sticks, three ponds, and two burlap gunny sacks. Oh ya, more froggin baby! Oh to be a hillbilly. You all have no idea...

Then some pre-riding at Rockbridge tommorow, and then race on Sunday!

Come get your race on...


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Too Many Races?

Okay, so this whole Cross thing has gotten outta hand. Really though, why in the hell would anyone want to race cross starting in September? I've yet to come across anyone that truely wants too... In fact most of the racers I come into contact with seem to bitch about it like I do and seem to want to race later, like in winter when the conditions are favorable for what is supposed to be cross racing. Not hot, dry, and boring. Make it wet, make it cold, and make the course real! Not some roadie straight, turn, straight, turn drag race.

Why do I bring up this? Because I just found out Manions cross is the same weekend as RIM. Which is also the same weekend as the Knob Noster MTB race. With cross racing starting in September, there will be even few racers at ALL races due to the fact that you'll have some mountain bikers who want to cross it up, and you'll have cross racers that still want to race mountain bikes. It makes for less attendance in both arenas, and an overall less fun race scene all around.

I want to race cross this year, but I sure as hell won't be racing in September. My mountain bike calendar goes right up to November, and mid to late November is when I'll start racing cross. I was hoping to race Manions as I've heard great things about it, but no way in September. Sorry dudes.

Of course I won't even go into the mountain bike scene. It's so great around here that we now have too many races. You heard that right, too many races, and not enough racers in my opinion. I think it's awesome that we have all of these race promoters who are willing to step up and give us something to do on a weekend, but when you have multiple overlapping weekends, along with races every single weekend, it gets a bit much. Take the Mid West SS Championships, which is the day after Spoke Poney race. And then RIM and Knob Noster on the same weekend. Both Knob and SS champs will suffer greatly due to their day after placement of such largely attended endurance races. Not many people will double up like I will, and most will be too spent from Saturday to even want to race on Sunday.

AND NOW CROSS! Common now, someone tell these diehards like Yielding and such to start racing later in the year. I know that they'll bitch about there being to many weekends taken, and they have to race earlier to get an open weekend, but really though. There are always open weekends January and February. If you start the season later, you'll have racers who race later. Now it seems like everyone is so gun ho at the beginning of season, and by late November everyone is burned out.

Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe I just don't know how to build a successful race scene. Maybe you need too many races, overlapping weekends, and a 6 month long cross season.

I'd be interested to hear you all chime in... Public opinion is always welcome at the Riding Dirty household.

Rant over... Sorry.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Mondays Lesson

Today I'd like to teach you a very valuable lesson. Sometimes even when you have all the neccassary tools and supplies you would need to complete a successfull ride, it's still not enough. That's what I learned yesterday.

I've been very fortunate not to have hardly any flats this year. Then again, I change my tires out more frequently, which probably helps in keeping that from happening as much. Yesterday I had a flat, and normally it would be no big deal to fix it, but as it turned out, the ride resulted in me hike a biking for 2 hours in the hot, humid, stuffy jungle that's known as 4 Winds.

I got a good ride in at Rockbridge on Friday, and cooked myself pretty well since it was the last day in a 4 day riding block. I then had every intention of getting in a nice long ride down at the Lake of the Ozarks, at a trail called Honey Run. Well, as my luck would play out for the day, I got lost trying to get to Honey Run, and eventually wasted an hour driving back country roads, and ending up being overall pretty pissed. I don't know what happend, I've been to the that trail dozens of times, but it's been a few years, and for some reason everything seemed differnt. Add on the fact that I had no cell phone coverage, and it pretty much led me to fly blind. And blind I was... I had no idea where I was.

Being frustrated and in the same neighborhood as 4 Winds, I made a decision. I was going to tackle what is known as the manliest trail around. It's everything mountain biking should be. Loose, rocky, and knarly as hell in spots. 4 Winds is the kind of place that when you finish riding it, you feel like you've actaully accomplished sometime. It's not a groomed out, run of the mill kind of trail. Normally it's mostly overgrown, and they've even gone as far as to close the roughest of sections now. I had the Epic, and I was ready to tackle this beast, and conquer it in it's entirety.

Well everything was going well, until about 3 miles in I noticed my rear tire going soft. Knowing I just re-Stansd it, I grabbed my co2, and pumped the tire full of air. It sealed, and I was off and going... For awhile.

Roughly 2-3 miles later, I was picking my way up a rough and rocky incline when I hear the undeniable hiss that was a slit sidewall. No amount of Stans was sealing this one. Damn. Luckily I always carry a spare tube, and I hoped that I had enough air in my BigAir to get it pumped up enough to limp back. So I take off the spare tube that's been fixed to my bike, unmoved since I put it there back in March. Like I said, I've been lucky this year.

I slowly started the fix a flat procedure, but in the back of my head I knew that if I didn't have enough air, or the tube had somehow developed a leak, I would have one hellava long hike out. I was halfway through this 12 or so mile loop, and there was no easy way back.

I hook up the co2, and use every last bit of air it had to give. Only to hear the still undeniable slight hiss that was air escaping out of the sidewall slit. At first I figured it was the air between the tube and tire escaping, but moments later I noticed the tire getting ever so softer.

Damn. Damn. Damn. It's time to walk.

2 hours, 100 seedticks, and a pair of skinned up legs later, and I was at my car. It was a long hike indeed, and anyone of you all know that hiking in biking shoes is no fun. Toss in the fact that the trail is all loose rock, and major overgrown in spots, and you have the makings for what was one rough day in the woods.

I took some pictures of the trail, but on my old Iphone that no longer has service and I can't figure out how to upload them. The trail was beautiful in spots as I hiked back, and horrible in others. I hiked up and down the hills, crunching my cleats against rocks for what felt like a million steps.

I could have been even more pissed at the end of my day. It was a pretty much wasted ride, and it was a rough hike, but luckily I did have the right supplies as far as water and nutrition. When I flatted I still had one and a half water bottles full of EFS, and a pack of GU Chomps and a Honey Stinger Waffle. That made the hike easier. Without any of the above, especially water, the hike could have been very much worse.

I've been going sans Camelback all year, and loving it. I put everything in my jersey pockets, and it seems to make my back happy. Until I run out of supplies and I have to hike 6 miles out. You see, with the camelback, I would have had a hand pump, patches, and another tube. I would have been able to ride on. But I didn't, and I remembered why sometimes it's neccessary to overdo it, just in case.

Anywhere else and I would have been able to hike out in 20 minutes. But as it would have it, 4 Winds made for an interesting day, and in the end it conquered me more than I conquered it.

No worries though, I lived to fight another day.

Another day that will come sooner than later, and will include 4 Winds again, but this time with a much different outcome.

If first you don't succeed, try, try again...