Not Solavaca

Another race is in the books, and another race I was forced to miss. It’s not a huge surprise and was expected although I had been hoping for some miracle to manage to make the race.

I did however manage to get away for a long, local ride. I again headed for Barton Creek Greenbelt, riding to the trail from the house to get some added miles in.

We had gotten some rain this week, but it had been a few days so I expected the trails to be in pristine, ‘hero dirt’ shape. Unfortunately, I was a little wrong and in for some mud, downed trees and sometimes slippery conditions.

This was bone dry a week ago

This was bone dry a week ago

Whatever it was that I had last week, I definitely did NOT have it this week. I could tell within 10 minutes of starting my ride that my legs were not feeling great and that it was going to be a little bit of an off ride. This week has been very stressful with some work projects and other stresses, leading to a few nights of much less sleep. Additionally, I put in 2 good, hard interval road rides this week so that likely impacted my ‘freshness’.

Once I hit the trailhead, I again lowered tire pressure in anticipation of going for a dab free Mulch Hill climb and a PR. My first approach stalled out rather quickly as my line from last week had been obliterated in the hard rains earlier this week. The heavy rain had really impacted this portion of the hill so I had to re-strategize.

My next attempt didn’t fare much better, but I did get further than the first attempt. I rolled back to the bottom and gave it a 3rd try. While I made it above my usual stall out point, I did stall out again. I waved the white flag for today and carried on.

This would be the first of several areas that I saw that the heavy rains had washed/changed the lines. Much of the skree/light chunder was washed from the trails and could be found in a nice soft and loose pile at the bottom of segments. The edges were still soft, the valleys were overly tacky/squishy. Realistically, the trails needed probably 1 more day to dry out to ‘Hero Dirt’ status and it’ll be several days if not weeks before the newly displaced skree and chunder is packed in and/or pushed to the outside of bottoms.

It became pretty apparent that any PRs were going to be unlikely for the day due to the changed trail conditions, and the fact that I wasn’t quite feeling 100%.

At any rate, I had decent times up to Travis Country and headed into Cheese Grater. Just past the short cut, there was a large oak that had fallen across the trail. There won’t be any PRs on full Cheese Grater in either direction until the tree is cleared. I suppose you could take the short cut to avoid the downed tree, but where’s the challenge it that?!

Downed Tree on Cheese Grater

Downed Tree on Cheese Grater

Next up was Pump House Down. I did go for a PR on this part and did manage to improve my best time by about 6 seconds. It’ll take another 8 second improvement to break top 10 and a full minute for KOM! There’s a low leaning tree in this segment which has nearly jerked me off of my bike on multiple occasions as it has a knack of grabbing my backpack as I try to squeeze by.

After Pump House, I headed over to Sweet 16, with plans of trying to improve my personal best on this segment, but that was shot down rather quickly. There were numerous walkers (and dogs), not to mention a fair bit of mud and a few water crossings. I ended up over 4 minutes longer than my personal best due to the obstacles.

I then hit Cheese Grater and headed onward to Elastic and Washtub and finally up and out to back home. 27 miles at right at 3 hours. A good ride, just a little messy! It’s also starting to warm up out there and I’m going to have to start carrying more water.

On deck for this week is another couple of high intensity interval days, although I may skip Thursday’s to do a race pace loop at Pace Bend, if the rain holds off.

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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