Authors Note: I have a friend who does a lot of outdoor activities. Running, camping kayaking. He is pretty good about letting things be an adventure and adjusting to whatever happens. Sometimes, however, things happen and people need to be rescued (not him, usually he comes across people who need to be rescued). In one famous incident he had pie with him which the starving, cold, wet people really really appreciated. Its something of a joke in our group that you should have pie with you when embarking on a great outdoor adventure. Brian this is dedicated to you. I didn’t bring pie.
My training schedule is ramping up right now for Leadville. Today’s planned ride was a 6.5 hour endurance ride. I am in CT visiting family and have never really done a 6.5 hour ride here in CT, much less one on my mountain bike. Connecticut has these trails called the Blue Blazed Trails. They are multi-use trails that run long distances through the state. One close to where we are staying is the Shenipsit Trail. That trail is 40 miles long and runs through a couple of state forests. One of the forests is the Case Mountain Preserve. Case Mountain has been called one of the best mountain bike systems in CT.
OK, that’s a pretty long winded way of saying I thought that riding on this trail would be a fun way to do my endurance ride.
It was about a 40 minute ride over to the trail head on pretty typical CT roads: narrow, windy, short steep hills. The time passed quickly and before I knew it I was at the trail head. I got onto the trail to find that it was a steep rock garden. Humm. OK. It won’t all be that bad, right? Up I went pushing my bike up and over the rocks. When I got to the top of the hill that stuff continued. Onto the path for about a mile riding and walking. The was clearly not working.
The little voice was chiming in about how this was a bad idea, “No good can come from this.” Its not the kind of riding I needed to do (and I had no pie) so I bailed on that trail and on my way out I found a little easier a loose steep jeep trail. Much more like what I was looking for with a loose surface and good steep climbing. That was good for a little while. But….
I was only 1.5 hours into a 6.5 hour ride with my A plan gone. Again it was time for plan B which involved more road riding than expected. But here is where I do well making it up. Using my road experience, feeling my way along. Things like: spotting some roadies who looked a little out of breath coming up a road. Turn the way they had come. Descend about 3 miles. Get to the end of that road and go back up the climb just descended.
It wasn’t all road though. I came across “the Powerline”. A couple of miles of rough, loose, steep (but short) sort of jeep trails under some powerlines.
Definitely fit the bill. The little voice did definitely churp during this section of the ride. “Humm. How would you describe to Coreen where you are if something went amiss????” 🙂
At about 4 hours into the ride. I went past the local farmers market. Stopped to grab a glass of ice tea and refill the water bottles.
Two an a half hours later I got my 6.5 hours. A pretty decent profile. Nothing super long climb wise but lots and lots of short steep stuff. In the end I covered about 8000 ft of elevation gain in 80 miles (again the goal of 1k/10 miles). I found some hard technical single track, some pretty difficult fire road, and didn’t need the pie I didn’t have!