Wednesday, April 20, 2005

And so it begins...

BrotherL, whether he knows it or not, has thrown down the gauntlet signifying the official start of RACE SEASON in these parts. I've always used the Fountainhead trail as a measure of my fitness level. It's a well marked, one-way course so every now and then I'll go there and time myself doing a couple of laps. Around 50 minutes per lap will put you somewhere in the middle of the local singlespeed class. Get it down under 40 and you have a shot at the podium. BrotherL went out a few days ago and posted his time. So today I distracted the kid long enough (hey, look over there!) to sneak out the door for a Fhead quickie.

I got to the park close to sunset so instead of the usual two laps, I only had time for one. I park the car outside the gate so I don't get locked in, gear up, and head out. As I pass the trailhead marker I hit my stopwatch and start cranking. Without any warmup, I'm seeing flickering purple spots as I hit the first climb 5 minutes into the ride. Not a good way to start, but I keep at it. I'm pretty familiar with this trail so I put myself on autopilot and proceed to zone out. Bad idea. I had forgotten that there was a trailwork session here a few days ago in which some parts of the trail were rerouted. Halfway into the ride I run into orange flags delineating the first unexpected detour. About two minutes later I'm lost and heading the wrong way on the trail. The clock is ticking. The doubling back costs me a couple of minutes but I eventually find my way. Another surprise about a mile later. A big tree is down on an uphill part of the trail. It's ramped so I try to ride it, but fail. "Next time," I think as I run my bike up the rest of the climb. The last mile or so goes without incident and I pull into the parking lot a bit under 51 minutes from when I started. This is about where I was in the middle of last season. Not my best effort, but not bad for a first try. I feel strong enough for another lap, but lo, I see the Ranger going out to lock the gate. Good night Ranger. Good night friends. I'll see you all on the starting line.


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