Thursday, December 31, 2009

Out with the old....

Cactus on Pemberton Trail

It's the last day of the year, which of course also means the last ride of the year. I had intended to do a nice and easy ride around work over lunch but they said they were going to let us out around 1 ish. This created quite a temptation. The little devil of cycling joy was on my right shoulder whispering words of encouragement to go ride the pemberton trail in McDowell Mtn regional park, he knew I wanted to do it and he kept egging me on. The angel of taper was on my right shoulder whispering that I had a 200k on Saturday and if I went out riding a 16 mile trail up through the mountains I would surely get carried away and goof up my taper. I listened to the devil.

The Pemberton Trailhead is awesome. It has a large parking lot, restrooms, and ....wait for it.... showers! The fee to get in was $6 but the fact they have showers makes up for that quite a bit. There were quite a few other Mtn bikers out there. A lot of the reviews say the Pemberton trail has been ruined since the county regraded it and took out all the hard stuff. I have to say, not having ridden it before, that the trail is pretty easy in point of fact, however, it is a really fast trail. I was over 20mph in many sections.

The Northern end of the McDowell Mtns.

So after changing I pull the bike out and the tire is flat. That makes it the last flat of 2009. My pump was goofing up since there was no lubrication left on the piston on the inside of the tube. Fortunately for me I had a drip on my jeeps oilpan so I opened the pump up and rubbed the rubber piston ring on the oil pan a few times and wa la! It was as good as new. By 2:30 I had the tire pumped up and I was out on the trail.

I'd told my wife I would be home between 4 and 5 and I had just under 16 miles of trail ahead of me. It made it real hard to listen to the angel of tapering reminding me to take it easy. For the most part I listened. It was a long gentle grade for the first 6 miles of the ride weaving in and out of bushes and cacti. Once on the top the trail turned into rollers and twists which were a lot of fun and fast. I'd hit the trailbars at 20mph and get air and once I almost shot over the side when the trail made a surprise turn.

Say goodbye to 2009 Paul

The desert was gorgeous. There was a carpet of green beneath all the desert scrub from the recent rains. Every now and again I would pass a cow pond with honest to goodness water in it. The top of the Pemberton trail was very scenic and though it wasn't very technical it did rank up there on the scenic scale.

What's left of the old Pemberton Ranch.

The descent was a beautiful thing. There were a few rocky sections that slowed me a bit but mostly it was pretty fast riding. I was glad I had followed the advice of the guy at the entrance booth and done it counterclockwise.

It's been a good year of riding for me. I missed the spring brevets due to a bad knee but the flip side is I got some good pedal stroke coaching and a good bike fit. This really made me into a completely different rider. I also got hit by a bus which did a number on my elbow but did not destroy my training completely. After riding Tom Baker's Mines to Pines Brevet which was the toughest climbing ride I had done to date (including the Mt. Lemmon Brevet), I set my sites on Cochise in October. I did numerous double centuries and 300ks over the summer to train and found creative ways to get the miles in over the summer. Bruce and I ran a good Cochise. I didn't do as well as I hoped but dehydration and the wind took it out of me. Lesson learned. I ended up with 7700 miles for the year. Not too shabby.

Say goodbye to the drab old year and ring in a newone!

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