365 Days Later

So I didn’t complete my biggest goal of the year. That doesn’t mean I’m done!  There’s still more than 2 months left before the ball drops and I’ve got other goals to reach! 

While the Toa brought me a HUGE amount of enjoyment this year, it has also had a hand in putting me behind in my mileage goal.  Mountain bike rides just don’t rack up the miles the same way a road ride can and I found myself going into October needing about 2400 miles to hit 9000 for the year.  Off the top of my head, I think I need to average just under 200 a week to hit that.  Better get riding!!

Tuesday, I carted all my gear to work with me and at 2:30 I started my afternoon trek up to the Siskiyou Summit.  I was still tired from the big ride on Saturday so I didn’t expect much, but I found myself pushing up to the top of the 7 mile climb where I finished with my second best time ever!   It was a fantastic day for a ride.

With 46 miles in on Tuesday, I was in good shape and, after a couple nice orchard rides around the valley Wednesday and Thursday, I had 100 miles for the week with 2 riding days to go.

There was no question what ride I was going to do Saturday morning.  One year ago, I was invited on a Conde Creek ride with a group of friends.  I decided to go to Weaverville, California and try out my first 4 hour mtb race instead.  I got 5 miles into the race before separating my shoulder and fracturing my collarbone. 

This year, I was gonna ride Conde.

The forecast the night before called for showers.  As I rolled out of my driveway at 7:20 the next morning, the roads were wet and I was pedaling into a light drizzle.

I worked my way Northwest toward Tolo Road before cutting back over to Highway 140.  After a few zigzags on some back roads I was at mile 40 by the time I approached the little town of Lake Creek.

Since I was by myself, in no real hurry, and not planning on pushing hard at all, I was feeling great as I neared the turn off to the long Conde Creek climb right around mile 48.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now, the Conde loop is one of my favorite rides.  I think this was the 3rd or 4th time I’d ridden it this year, but this go around may have been the most amazing time yet.  I’d never tried the ride in the rain before and I was rewarded with a completely different experience.  The light rain, slow trickle of water along the road, and scurrying sounds of squirrels and quail in the brush once again brought me that euphoric feeling I love to feel while riding.  Corny?  Whatever.  It’s my story so there!

Despite being soaked for most of the day, the only time I really felt a chill was when I hit the top of the main climb and the mountain was no longer shielding me form the wind.  Fortunately, I only had to deal with that for about a half hour and a couple miles down Dead Indian Memorial Road, the temps started rising back above 60 degrees and all was well!

I cruised the long, fun 13 miles down into Ashland before working my way home and ending with another 91 miles under my belt.

Sunday morning, I met up with a couple Unreal Cycles extended family members, Jonathan and Rob, in Jacksonville, for a ride out to the Red Lily Vineyards in the Applegate Valley so we could watch others suffer in the local cyclocross race.

The rain from the previous day was nowhere in sight and the ride out was fast and fun.  It’s always a good time just hanging out at a race, talking with lots of friends about bikes, the course, or nothing in particular.  This time was no different.  The Red Lily venue was gorgeous.

After a few goodbyes, the boys and I were back at it.  Through Ruch, up and over Jacksonville Hill, and home.  All in all, it was another 34 miles, bringing my total for the week to 226 and rolling past 7000 so far.

I’m not sure I will try and hold this pace the rest of the year.  I might just have to sacrifice my 9000 mile goal in order to keep what sanity I have left and to do some awesome, rainy gravel rides my buddies and I have planned for this Fall and Winter.

Who knows?!

Aaron

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