Doing it all the hard way...

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pavement Ends Fun Begins

As expected my Dolomite build up was especially road-centric.  Although there were some gravel rides and a good bit of mountain biking the majority of my miles were road miles.  With the first rule of riding during the first six months of 2016 being “Don’t get hurt before Italy” I was deliberately cautious both on and off road.

Upon my return I cleaned and reassembled my road bike and hung it in the garage.  I excitedly returned to my Tallboy and gravel bike and turned up the sound so to speak.  I ripped down the Winthrop Trail on the Tallboy and attacked the dirt sections of Wolf Creek on the B2 Bomber like I was invincible.  
Hottie daring me to try and keep up
Getting off the paved roads releases my inner child.  Suddenly I’m twelve years old and I’m flying.  I get a shot of adrenaline now and then when I lose traction for a millisecond or get some unexpected air and it feels good.  
 Just try and keep up.....
Letting the Tallboy fly I was once again speechless that the bike seems to simultaneously make the trail easier while making me a better rider.  The terrain that bike can handle is amazing.  I have some pretty sweet bikes but this one is the most impressive to me.  I throw more at it than all the other bikes combined and it doesn’t even blink.
On a post Italy gravel ride the following day I climbed Rendezvous Pass on a whim and turned up a road near the top that I thought might climb a hundred meters to the top of the closest knob.  After a loose and steep start the grade lessened to single digits in steepness and the road kept going northwest.  It seemed to arch north and run into the ridge so I kept going expecting it to double back and go to the top of something.  Then when I rounded a corner I see the road turn west then north again intersecting the now even higher ridge line. 
The “What’s around the next bend?” repeated a few more times which only served to heighten my curiosity.

The road kept going and I looked at my computer to check the time.  I was climbing steadily but I didn’t know where the road was headed. Would it end at a summit or pour down into the Cub Creek drainage? It was close to my turn around time but I was more than two hours out and I didn’t want to leave this road as unfinished business.  I pushed harder to go faster as my eyes darted between my ride time and looking ahead to see what the road did. 

The air smelled of pine and some merciful clouds kept the temperatures moderate.  The trail was a mix of duff and gravel with a couple of muddy crossings that necessitated use of my Cyclocross navigation skills. 
Finally about a minute or two past my turn around time just as I was resigning myself to leaving this an unanswered question the road just ended.  No hiking trail or lookout or any significant landmark that would justify the end of the road.  It just ended.  The typical burned rocks of a redneck fire ring was the only confirmation that this was any kind of destination.

I stopped and it was silent aside from my heavy breathing and pounding heart.  I took a couple pictures, ate and drank then pointed my machine toward home.

The descent was fun and reminded me what a capable machine the Boone is. The Tallboy rules all single track but the Boone can roll on the roads that make cars cry.

When Hottie and I top off our long weekend with a road ride it seems a very distant cousin to the fun we had off road.

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