Bluebonnets in Bloom

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Not withstanding the issues from a couple of days ago, I intend to keep training as if I’m still going to make races.

To that end, I managed to get in my long ride yesterday, putting in 26 miles over 2 and a half hours. Road Betty from the house to the Greenbelt for a good loop in the dirt and then the return ride home.

I could tell I didn’t ride much this past week as I was feeling particularly spry. I was feeling strong and decided to go for a few Strava PRs during the ride.

First up was Mulch Hill. The loose over loose, chunky bitch of a climb. I haven’t yet been able to clear the whole thing without dabbing, but I feel I am really close to reaching it. When I got to the hill, I let some air out of the tires to help give some grip and hopefully keep from spinning out too easily. I headed up the hill, but there were some hikers coming down. I stopped, went down the hill and waited for the trail to clear. I headed back up on a second attempt and got to my usual first stall point and did stall out as usual. I looked around to see if a better line was had and devised an alternate line strategy for my next attempt.

I rolled back to the bottom and prepared again.

I charged up the hill, in my 2nd to lowest gear, ass ‘on the rivets’ doing my best row boat impersonation. I cleared the first ledge/stall spot! This is the first time I’ve cleared right there so I was feeling pretty good. I’ve cleared the rest of the hill in the past so I felt a strong climb coming on. I climbed up and up, through the 2nd typical stall spot and kept going without any issues. As I neared the last little ledge, my legs were burning and I could tell I was fading out.

I got my wheel up the little ledge, and made the step up! I was going to make it! Except as I came up the ledge, a largish rock was in my path and in my tired state, that stupid little rock turned the wheel and stalled me out. OH MUH GARD! So close! I debated going back down for another attempt but decided to push on and at least get the PR that I was sure I had gotten.

I rode on and was riding strong. I cleared most everything I had cleared last time I rode with one little up. In any case, I was feeling good and not overly winded after the Fence climb.

I continued on with my next sights set on the Travis Country Pumphouse down segment. I opted to hit the road instead of Cheese Grater to stay fresh for my PR attempt. My goal for now on this segment is a top 10 finish, which I feel is within my reach.

I headed down the segment, feeling good. On this descent I felt almost like I could slow time to see the various lines. Lines were almost obvious to me and I was able to make really good time. I easily PR’d the segment, but still need another 16 seconds of improvement before I break into the top 10.

Next up was Sweet 16. Sweet 16 is one of my favorite segments. It is a fast, and challenging roughly 2 mile section that climbs almost 200 feet. It’s a great segment to test fitness and technical riding.

Again, I fairly easily PR’d the segment, beating my previous best by 20 seconds. I’d still like to shave another minute from my time and will be working towards that.

After Sweet 16, it was time for another PR attempt on Cheese Grater. My plan for Cheese Grater was to ride as fast as possible through the endless rock garden and try to look for more efficient lines through the larger rock piles.

11 minutes later and I had another PR!

I snapped the above pic at the clearing at the top of Sweet 16 leading into Travis Country. The bluebonnets are in full bloom!

I wasn’t done yet. I still had 1 more segment that I was going to go for a big PR on. Elastic is one that I have always enjoyed hammering. It is a quarter mile segment that has some good technical spots, as well as tight twisty turns. I hit it hard and managed clean clears on the technical areas and managed to bag a Top 3 finish. A 2 second improvement will get me the KOM on this segment and I’ll be gunning for that in the future.

After all that, I finished out my trail ride on another of my favorites in the area, Washtub and then headed home. I wasn’t shooting for a PR on Washtub, but still got it.

Even after a pretty hard 14 mile trails loop, I was feeling pretty good. Without even trying I managed to bag another PR on the road climb out of Lost Creek up to Bee Caves.

One thing I have noticed over the last 2-3 weeks is that my ‘diesel engine’ is really starting hum. I can get into a cadence and pace and just go, go, go. It isn’t a super fast pace, but I can pound it out, uphill or otherwise and feel like I could sustain that pace for quite a while.

While the diesel engine is running like a champ, I still feel the high octane race engine is still lagging somewhat. I’ll keep working towards improving both the race engine while keeping the diesel engine able to keep up the current output.

About TC

Long time mountain biker, recent mountain bike racer. Borderline unhealthy obsession with mountain biking, constantly drawn to hit the dirt and share my experiences.

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