It was the worst of times. Ya, I know, stealing other peoples work, isn't cool, but as you could read from my last post, I had a pretty crappy turn of events after a killer ride. I'll detail the ride here so it can get as far away from that turd laden punchbowl as possible. For anyone that has been on the Center Trails in the past few days, you know how absolutely primo the conditions have been. The line is clear, you can see for miles, the weather is crisp, and the dirt is "tacky, yet refined".
I burned some serious wife points last night and got the pass to go riding again before the conditions were lost. I tried playing it cool, but I think my giddiness to go riding again probably wasn't well hidden in the face of a mountain of dishes and other household chores I really should've been helping out on. I'm sure I'll be making up for that tonight! In any case, I raced home as soon as I could escape the grip of the "Man" and ripped through getting changed and back out the door. I parked at the shop so I could say hello to the boys and have a few minutes spin via the levee trail to warm things up.
Feeling a bit spunky I decided to see where I was in comparison to last years Quarter Rage efforts. I ripped off a 22:40 something on my first pass through. Not blazing by any means, but a good start considering I've still got the tubes in and slower rubber mounted. I'm hoping to get much closer to 20 flat by the end of the year. Judging by my pace and comfort level on my final lap (in reverse) of the night, I don't think it's too far out of the question.
I met up with Kyle, Taylor, and Rick Noyce for some more fun at 5:45. We headed back down for my 2nd lap through Denman's where I chased Kyle pretty much all the way through. I felt like I was hammering the trail and wasn't having any problems with the various log-overs or even the tractor tire. All was good and right. We headed through Squirrel's nest where I washed out in some sand as did Taylor right before I got there. Once through that, both Kyle and Taylor gave pause to the gnarly looking drop through the wash by the river while I plowed through it. They had enough of the sand though and headed back for more flatlanding in Denmans while I opted to stress the legs on Hillside and Rollercoaster.
I ran Hillside about every way I could think of back and forth and I'm pretty certain I rode about 99% of the track up there including one dead end washout. I rode a few of the trails a couple times just linking things together and even road some backwards. I even cleared the angled log that always makes me pause and did it pretty much at speed. Nary a bump felt on the chain ring as I sailed my happy ass over it and carved my way down the hill beyond. After that, it was time for a requisite lap of Rollercoaster. I blasted everything and had a chain skip cause me to stop at the bottom of the switchback, but that was the only hiccup on that trail. I even cleared a nice rock at the entrance by the pond that I'd previously only been eyeballing. Something was just clicking with my ability to hop obstacles for sure.
I finally turned back as it would soon be dusk and I hoped to make it in time to the shop for a post ride brew. I attacked Denmans in reverse and everything fell into place. The flow just seemed even better that I ever remembered it. Logs barely made bumps as I cleared them with ease. I cleaned one new (for me) log out by the firepit that I hadn't attempted before and I had my eye on the prize. The entrance log to Denmans has amazed me from the get go. Watching the good riders hop it like it was nothing more than a twig put me in awe. As I rode, I was determined to give it a go tonight. At the worst, I'd be at the end of my ride and have a nice little crash to laugh at, but maybe just maybe things would be right and I'd clear it too.
I'll have to admit, as I approached it from the back side, I chickened out and went around. The angle just didn't seem right and the approach to steep. I circled through and came out of the woods headed towards home. Then, I circled back, eyed the target and cleared it with ease. Shoot, I don't know that I've ever cleaned anything quite that easy. I'm sure I let out a whoop of jubilation and then just to make it official I went ahead and hit it from the back too. It wasn't quite as clean as I made it over and then had to push off the tree on the far side after I was over it, but I made it.
Of course, you know the rest of the story....