Wednesday, June 13, 2007


My game face for the Cowbell, a self portrait from a week ago:

Last night was supposed to be a hard effort. Less than two weeks till race time means nice short strong efforts. If I don’t have my miles in by now, it is too late.

Driving home I could see the thunder heads building and I wondered how I was going to get this crucial ride in. As soon as I pulled into the driveway, big drops were smacking the windshield, one about every four seconds.

I walked upstairs and started changing my back tire and tube. I had a mess of mysterious flats this last Saturday. Then the sky opened up for the first time this year. All of our surrounding area is around 10” short on rainfall for the year. I was multi-tasking between the computer, staring at the radar and working on the bike. It was 5:30 by the time I finished with the bike and still raining. I figured I would give it until 6:30 before I had to find an alternate medium for my workout.

Then I heard ting, ting on my roof. It was hailing. Eventually it stopped raining and the sky’s looked like they were opening up in the direction I wanted to head, toward Paris Mountain. I geared up and off out the door. I figured I could ride the pavement out to Paris and if the trails were too muddy I would just ride back. If I put in a hard enough effort, it would be plenty for the day.

I love cool weather and my legs always seem to be on par with that. I was strong out to Paris, pushing a strong clip over the top of the steep road pitches instead of struggling to the top like I had in prior weeks.

I stopped at the gas station at the base of Paris Mountain and Altamont road for a red bull. As I was walking by the beer cooler a PBR tall boy called out to me “Jonathon, I am tall and tasty.” it said. With such a desperate tone of voice, I had to buy her. I walked up to the counter with my PBR and my red bull. The guy at the register responded with “I have never seen a biker buy a beer before.” Since I know this is the spot for a lot of roadies climbing Paris I said “Well, you haven’t been dealing with the right kind of bikers.”

When I arrived at the front gate, I noticed that the ground was still dusty. It had hardly even rained out here. Sweet, that meant I was going to tear up some dirt. Again, I felt incredible flying up Mountain Creek. Up to the top parking lot and I stopped for a quick look at the time on my phone. It was 7:40, I had a little over an hour before it got dark so I figured flying down Brissy ridge and the road back up should put me back at the top by 8:05 then I can cruise back down Mountain Creek and still have enough time to make it back home before dark.

Brissy was ripping fast and I felt great on the downhill. I had two Nevegal’s back on and they were showing the trail who’s boss. At the bottom of Brissy, I celebrated with my peanut butter and honey sandwich and my PBR.

I knew it was time to rip, so I could make it home in time. I flew up the backside and then up to the top of the techy section of Mountain Creek. I was going to skip this section due to time but I had felt so good I wanted to see how I would fair. I was ripping the trail faster than I had in a long time. Weight back, let the front bob and weave, off a ledge, off another ledge, tight switchback corner, nailing it. I hadn’t hit this trail this hard since I rode my full suspension. Then the snake jumped out of my tire, sssssssssssssssss, SHIT! The air came out so fast that I knew it was pinched.

I had one 16 gram Co2, one tube and my mini pump. I changed the flat while watching the sun set over the mountain. The Co2 filled it up decent but not enough. After a quick, chest and tricep workout, I was ready to roll.

I didn’t miss a beat, back on the bike I was still ready to carve hard. I knew I should be taking it easy but that was impossible at this moment in time.

Swooping, leaning, weight back again, manual over some roots, my smile was bigger than the State Park. At one point I felt both tires mash against the rim, I prayed.

Back out on the roads I knew it wasn’t long before the night would try to swallow me up. Luckily I was smart enough to bring my super bright blinky. Going back home was just like on the way out, I was mashing the pedals hard and my last tube never let me down.



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