Sunday, May 1, 2011

First Spokejunkie Ride is in the books- Mohican

The first ride of the season is now in the books.  Estimates are between 50 and 75 riders showed up at Mohican State Park for the first Spokejunkie ride of the season.  This picture above is only  a sample of those that attended.  Many were still getting geared up, while others had already left for the trail.  This was my first ride with the group, so I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into.   As it turned out, a very nice day, interrupted by a tough ride.  

As for the ride itself, it started out a little rough.  50 people out of the gate starting out on a trail that begins with a  mile and a half climb was a little interesting.  Lot of slow traffic, and some frustrated riders who were looking for a little quicker pace (not me, by the way).  This can create a little challenge when you are clipped in and someone stops dead in their tracks right in front of you.  This is what happened to me, as I had my first and only crash about 3 and half miles in when someone stopped quickly on a short uphill (rocky burst).  Needless to say, couldn't get out of clips, fell over and banged my elbow hard on the rocks.
The next 4 miles were pretty smooth as things opened up a bit.   People started to speed up, slow down, and generally group together in skill set.   I got separated from my riding partner, as he had to double back to get his dog.  I basically cruised at a decent pace from 3-7 miles, until the first major climb since the first mile.  This climb takes you to a peek with an awesome view, and quite frankly a great place to rest ( which I did).   I sat around for a good 15 minutes to allow Marc to catch up, and we moved on.  We rolled forward another half a mile and found our third rider who was waiting for us and trying to work out some cramps.

We rode together again until we hit the covered bridge at mile 12 and took a brief rest.  The downhill was awesome, but all I kept thinking about was the climb that was to follow.  Many of the other riders bailed out the bridge, that would have been the smart thing to do.  Unfortunately, we were not smart yesterday, and we labored on.  Big elevation change, as we climbed for the next two miles from miles 12-14.  I would like to say I made the entire climb, I didn't.  Cramps had settled in by now, and I was struggling mightily on the hill.  Eventually completed the climb, only to get a nice short ridge ride, and then you guessed it, more climbing up to 15.

At 15, we did group up again, and determine our next plan of attack.  For those of you who do not know, 15 is one of the first major bail out points that would enable us to at least ride the road the rest of the way back.  That would have been the smart thing to do.  We were not smart, and we soldiered on.  15-19 is some of my favorite segments at MSP so I was looking forward to the next 4.  Cramps actually started to go away a bit, as I controlled my pace a bit as we rode through a really nice pine forest, followed by some nice ridge riding, with just a few little climbs layered in.  Unfortunately, this section also had some of the worst storm damage, and there were many trees down which ruined the nice flow sections of the trail.  The sweet downhill at 19 was blocked by an enormous tree down which really ruined the segment as this was the best part.  At 19 1/2, we hit the next bail out point, and we split up.   Marc continued on, Steve and I called it a day and rode the road the 3 miles to the campground.  The nice part about the road, is that it is mostly downhill and you can really fly which is a nice way to end a ride.  Unfortunately you also have to dodge automobiles, but it is definitely worth it if you are tired. 

Arrived back to campground where I waited for Marc to finish the last 6. Unfortunately he had some mechanical issues with his derailleur, but was able to get back to the campground and join the rest of us for a nice cookout and raffle.  2 fat double cheeseburgers each with a potato salad chaser and we had all the fuel we needed to make the 1 1/2 hour ride home to Columbus. Also picked up a couple nice prizes at the raffle, which rounded out a great day.

My first junkie ride completed, and I truly realized, I am old and out of shape.  Although I went further than a lot of people, I still struggled mightily.  Cramping seemed to be the major challenge and I just suck at hills! Time to start training a little bit more before I try that again.

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