Just starting to roll into a regular ride routine with da' Sarge. We rolled out for a night ride last night out at Ave P land (or what's left of it, after the stucco rapist razed about a third of it). There's still enough left for a good workout and that was the motive. The old route had a nice gentle incline for the first mile or so and that made for a good warmup. The new route is way harder and you're immediately climbing sick steep stuff and there just ain't no warmup. They're short hills, but man, are they brutal. We're barely into the ride and we're already hitting the hard stuff and then you've got a mile-long grinder that's non-stop hurting.
Sarge dropped my ass on the Grinder, while sweat poured off've me in the darkness. At the top, he was kind enough to wait about 10-30 seconds, while I caught up and then we're off again. I keep up on the way to the 'white-house' climb on the descent and then as we're climbing again, I get dropped. Doing my best and running just about all out. The short little beyatch hills take it out of me, but I keep pushing. Sarge is nice enough to slow down at the turn-around spot, while I catch up again. Descending is not even easy tonight. You'd think we'd slow down because it's dark? Hell no! We've got near maximum velocity on the downhill, with very little holding me back. The front wheel does some heart-skip action on the way down, but I catch it and continue.
I can't keep up as we crest the hill at the T intersection on the way to Coyote Creek. Sarge gaps me good going over the top and it's downhill from there. He's out of sight as I hit the super-rough creekbed and am slamming through large embedded rocks on a hardtail Stumpjumper. No rest for the wicked and I've got to hand it to him at the turn-around spot. He's hauling and doing well. I take the lead heading up the way we came. Instead of a rough technical descent, it's a rough technical climb. I get my second wind and keep Sarge behind me. Still running hard as we stopped for less than a minute at the bottom.
Up and over and I'm still in front. Sarge hasn't passed me yet and I put the flog on. I've been running at or nearly my max heartrate for 40 minutes now. Just can't believe I'm still holding on. Up the long valley climb out of Lost Vegas and I'm in front. The long sandy downhill we call Betty is coming up and Sarge's HID's push my shadow around in front of me. I flail the descent and nail it into the Pinky Ridge climb. Up and over the rocks and descend with Sarge right on my ass. Don't stop, turn it around and go right back up with him right behind me. Steep bitch and my heart feels like it's ready to explode. I'm just about ready to puke and Sarge is still on my ass. We're approaching the crest and suddenly he tries to pass and he's alongside of me trying to take the top of the hill away from me. No, I'm not having that and I slam the last of what I have into the cranks and narrowly beat him to it, taking away the singletrack descent. Total toe-to-toe battle, but it cost me.
I am bbq'd and now we're climbing Betty. Sarge passes me and I'm toast. The last part of Betty is sick steep and it's usually bottom of the cassette and barely able to make it in the middle ring. Might as well make it a learning experience. I'm hurting and I focus on breathing, focus on the pedal stroke as I go up and over. Suffer and suffer well. Sarge is out of sight as I crest the top feeling like my heart is going to exit my rib cage, but the most important part is I kept the mental under control. Didn't freak, didn't crumble. Took it like a man and kept pushing. I continue to chase him for the last third of the ride, treating it like an XC race.
We get back to the cars and warm down alongside the aquaduct. Sarge admitted that he hadn't pushed that hard, since we last rode together almost a year and a half ago. I didn't know if I even had it in me anymore, since I didn't race last year. It was good to know that it was still there. Maybe not as good as it was, but for a guy approaching 50 and riding with someone who's only 37, I ain't doing too bad. BTW, the warm-down was an exercise in control. Old habits stuck as we rode alongside and kept having to back it down to avoid going into the flog mode.
Looking forward to the next flog for sure. Just maybe, I can get it back, as he dominated two-thirds of the ride (beginning and end) and I controlled the middle third. We'll see...
Posted by STP a 48 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Hardtail Stumpy from P'Dale on 01/24/07