Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Girl gets owned by South Mountain National Trail

A quick break from my Utah trip to bring you this breaking story of my past weekend. Your welcome.

Last weekend I was told to take my "training wheels off" and just shut up and join some friends in a bike trip to finally go up the mountain I usually ride around. South Mountain is a known downhiller's paradise with tons of trails rated at expert death level. I ride this range all the time on the Desert Classic trail, a cross country trail that winds around the base and smaller adjoining hills but have yet to had the guts to ride the famous National Trail.

I met Jack and Sarah at the trail head of Desert Classic at 6am and we started on a loop which would take us 11 miles on Desert Classic to the base of the Telegraph Pass trail and then upward. This first part is nothing too technical and I have ridden it many times, but Jack was in a "hurry" and I was told I wasn't allowed to stop until we reached Telegraph Pass. Umm not quite awake yet there buddy, but we sucked it up and made it to the other end in 1:15 for a pretty good time on this ride. We did have a quick stop when Jack ran over this little guy and he got a little pissed. We stopped to throw some rocks to move him off the trail.

By the time we started up Telegraph pass it was nearing 8 am and already felt hot as hell. I have hiked this trail many times and usually consider it a steep but short climb. Doing it with a 30 pound bike on my back really sucked. I have learned that I am very bad at hike a bike hell in hot weather and it usually doesn't take me very much time to fall apart. I didn't dissapoint. Jack and Sarah were faster than me and sat at the top laughing at me and taking pictures. They were not in my good book until Jack came down the last 30 meters and took my bike. That means he is 1/10th gentlemen. Nah, we all know he isn't.

This isn't the way that bikes are supposed to be used.

My incredibly nice friends laugh and watch me struggle up the hill.

Ahh, I am not even sure why I am posting this it is so bad, but hey, I don't believe in censorship. I look like I am hating life don't I. Man I hate these mandatory torture sessions. Oh wait, I did this for fun. Right...

Once at the top, we had to climb another 4 miles up to the top of the mountain on a road. Did I mention that I hate biking on blacktop in heat without water with all the roadies blowing by me? It wasn't that bad actually and we had a good view at least.

Finally we got to the start of the National Trail where Jack had told me "it is all downhill from here". I know better than that. Actually it was pretty much all down hill from there, except for those places where I had to climb up giant rocks or down giant rocks that I wasn't quite ready to bomb off of.

All down hill from here, right Jack?

I was relatively happy with the fact that most of it wasn't too technical for me to ride and I only got off and walked down some of the really big drops. Towards the end though, I was so thirsty and bonking that I just couldn't keep it together. I endoed down a steep hill and then somehow got a large piece of cactus attached to my leg. Sarah stayed with me to keep me together and only hours after I was home did I remember that right after a big crash while I was laying there, a dude carrying a unicycle was walking up the mountain. I don't know where he was going but he must have been crazy.

We finally got down National back to the easy fireroad leading to the car. I was soo happy to be almost done. Bottom line is, I have got to figure out the hydration/nutrition thing. I am bonking almost every time I get to around 2.5 hours when it is hot out and my grab a banana and some water thing really isn't working so well. I know most racers have entire "nutritional strategies" figured out and I guess I need to start trying to develop one. I swear Sarah doesn't eat or drink ever and seems just fine, but I realize that I am a delicate flower compared to her and I need to put more effort into planning ahead. All told, the loop took us 3:15 for ~19 miles and I only had water for 2 of it on a very hot 110 degree day. Bad bad me.

At least Jack is happy. He did endo onto his head though so it could be head trauma.

I want to do this loop again, if only to prove to myself that it can't be as hard as it was last time. But maybe I will wait until it is slightly cooler out, like in December. We'll see. They want to do it again this weekend those crazy kids. I guess my training wheels did come off, along with a whole bunch of other nuts and bolts that I think I might need. Thanks guys for the awesome sufferfest and breaking my "Expert Trail" virginity.

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