We were happy to be back home for the weekend and get into some sort of normal training routine again. Since we didn't have much planned, and the mountain bikes were still packed up in the bike boxes or in pieces, we decided to hit the road.
Initially Justin and I were going to do an assault on Palomar, but a few hard days of training prior to the weekend shot that idea down, and instead we decided to hit up the local speed ride on Saturday morning with a road group.
Friday night we grilled up some veggies and ahi, and had some vino. So.Good.
The ride took off at 7:30, so I knew we needed to get up early to get some food in us; I made steel cut oats with peanut butter, honey, and sliced banana. I'd found that mix up at Windham since I got oatmeal a few mornings, but didn't have my normal "fixins" for it. I did have peanut butter and honey, so it's a nice mix of healthy fats, carbs, and a little protein. Sticks to the belly, but doesn't make you sick.
The sun was barely rising when we rode over to the shop, but the temperature was great, and the sky gorgeous.
Waiting to roll
The pace was civil for about 2/3 of the way "out", but once we got past the last real stop light the engines really turned on. I sort of got caught out after taking a paceline pull and was on the poor end of the way "back", so wound up doing about a 10 minute solo TT to try to catch the group. It was futile!
I hit the turn around, and Justin had been waiting up for me, so I grabbed onto him and we had a group of 4 doing a decent pace. The flyer stated that everyone re-grouped and rode back together, but it seemed like the pace was still flying! Everyone was surging on the few short hills all the way back, but it was good times. I pushed pretty hard a few times to keep up.
We did an easy spin after getting back to the starting point, and then went home for some post-ride cereal!!
Later that evening Luke came over for some carne asada tacos and since I'm trying to be good... we split a 6-pack... of mini-Corona's!
I was kind of itching to hit some dirt, so after dinner Justin put my bike back together. He let me try out the Crankbrothers Cobalt Wheels we'd picked up earlier this year, which he has raced and trained on quite a bit.
My legs had been pretty fatigued the night before, and I spent most of the morning yawning (one issue with training really hard is that I find it really hard to sleep, which unfortunately is bad for recovery!). I had no idea how the ride was going to go, but I knew that Luke and his buddy Chris would be pushing the pace, with Justin, Eric and I in tow!
Chris was running late after looking for an adventure pass, so when he pulled in, Eric, Justin and I decided to give ourselves a head start. The boys hesitated, so I went for the singletrack and decided to play rabbit. The climb starts out right away, so I just pushed the pace until I got out of active recovery, and when I felt okay and was nailing the switchbacks, I just kept pushing.
Justin was a bit back trying to take photos while riding (tough to do on singletrack, I might add!!), but held fast to my wheel the whole way up.
Anytime I pulled away he was right back on it. I tried to get through the tech stuff up top cleanly, and I think I only managed to mess him up probably 3-4 times instead of about 10. Yay!
When we got most of the way up I kept looking back expecting to see Luke charging, but for the first time ever I made it to Cocktail first! Course, Justin was literally a nano-second behind me, but still. Small victories!
We gnoshed on Odwalla Bars and I tried to suck up my drink mix, cause I hadn't had much to drink on the way up, and shortly after Luke, Chris, and Eric rolled in. Glad we got their first cause they didn't stop to eat at all! We continued up toward 4-corners, and for the first time ever I cleaned the short section after Cocktail with one minor dab! Awesome.
I focused on trying to stay with Luke for the climb up to Bluejay. Whether he was pushing or not was immaterial; I needed to push to keep up with the boys!
I felt great up at the top, and then we descended and hit the loop.
I started to feel a little fatigued after going through some of the techier climbing, and wound up caboose. I fell pretty good on a tough switchback on the loop and managed to jab my shoulder into a manzanita, and scrape up my knee on a rock. That made descending sketchy for a bit, but I mentally tried to move on and get back to it.
I slowed down a little, but had a blast descending back to the trailhead!
Great ride, and a killer way to re-integrate back into So Cal dirt.
As for the Cobalt's... I don't know if it was being back on my mountain bike, being back in California, or the wheels, but something just felt GOOD on that ride. Everything seemed to come together and as I told Justin up at Cocktail...I felt "unfettered". Looking forward to "borrowing" the Cobalt wheels more often!
This coming weekend is a bit up in the air, but I'm sure it'll be stellar no matter where we're riding!