Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Crossing the Shed

"Cyclocross at the Shed, Ride Time: 3 - 3.5 hrs, Pace: non slacker speed," is what the MORE ride calendar said. How could I refuse? While cyclocross isn't the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the Watershed, I had to try it. The night before the ride, I take my fixie road bike in her most stripped down form and dress her up for a little action in the rough. Off come the skinny road tires, moustache bars, and big chainring. On go the WTB dirt drops, rear brake, freewheel, small ring, and fat rubber. I wake up early next morning, throw the bike on the car, and head out to the nearest MickyD's for grub (a ritual for me before any long ride). I arrive at the Shed an hour later and see Crashmore, Chance, BobC, and a few others gearing up for a ride. One by one, the crossers show up. Out of the 6 of us on the ride, 4 are on cross bikes, 2 on mtbs. I'm the only dork on a singlespeed. Erin, the ride leader, is recovering from being sick and has opted to be a gearie for the day. The group looks fast and I start to worry about being able to keep up. So, hoping for some company at the back of the pack, I call up rickyd (heh heh). Turns out he's about 10 minutes away but this does me no good since he opts to do his own ride anyways. After the usual greetings and introductions, the ride is off. As advertised, we stick mostly to roads and fireroads with an occasional stretch of easy singletrack. Erin leads the charge on the first snaky downhill, steep, long, and twisty. At the bottom of the hill, my worst fear materializes- someone has flatted somewhere far back and we have to ride up what we just rode down. As we get into the thick of the climb, my fear of getting dropped by the gearies vanishes. From here on the ride is a series of long superfast downhills, long but gradual climbs, and twisting flat singletrack. The downhills had me hitting 35mph as I followed Erin, who was in his big gear and steadily pulling away. At these speeds, there is almost no time to react to the sudden appearance of potholes and rocks in the road. You just have to flex your ankles and hope that the tire bounce is enough to carry you over the obstacle. Lotsa fun. Eventually, we hit the big climb of the day, up Fishing Creek Rd. to Gambrill Park Rd. and back to the cars. It's long, but not too difficult. The climb up Hamburg Rd. would have been more of a challenge. Even though I was kinda bummed that Erin wasn't his usual monster self leaving death and destruction in his wake, it was a good ride all in all. I'm hoping to do more of this kind of riding in the winter months to come.


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