Turning up onto some of the trails higher up on the mountain my lungs are burning and I can hear my heartbeat in my ears. I am working hard and for the most part I nail every ascent getting tripped up on only one. It never ceases to amaze me how you can work so hard and spend so much time and yet not have ridden many miles when you are riding single track. Of course many of the grades go up over 20% at times and hopping over piles of rocks and crags can slow you down as well, especially without suspension.
I want to ride the saddle trail today but I take a wrong turn and take the long way up to it. I remember this trail from many years ago when I first rode out here. I am happy to report I made it up the hill that gave me trouble last time. This time I also decided to ride the mine trail on my way back.
Of all the trails I near had a cactus lunch more times on this trail than any of the others. The trail switchbacked up over the hill and the back side was steep with switchbacks and the trail though steep had a funny habit of launching you off knee sized cliffs so you had to sit way back to avoid doing an endo. Many time I was unseated but there was only once I had to stop and walk down one spot. If I had had suspension I might have been able to pull it off. Anyway, that's another topic entirely. At the end of the mine trail I looked up and saw I had to climb all the way back up to the car. The bright side was that some of the hills I had never climbed without putting a foot down I was able to pull off today. It was a good ride. 7 miles, 950 feet of climbing.
On a side note, I am happy to report that I have gotten my weekly mileage up above 100 miles and the knee is holding out. Saturday I want to ride a 40+ mile ride. I am being careful to follow the 10% rule even if it is annoying. I want to be all set for the 300k they are doing in May from Miami to Payson and back.