Monday, July 20

Bad Idea ORAMM Training

I knew when I left Colorado last week I would be getting one more weekend ride in before ORAMM reared it's ugly head. I decided to ship my bike back as opposed to flying with it to save some major dollars, so the fact that the Meatplow was still in transit meant I had three choices this weekend when it came to ride options:

Go for a TdF inspired road ride? Every year around this time I feel the urge to ride my road bike. I'm not sure if it's my recent lack of TdF viewing or the fact that my 8spd down tubed shifter 20lb SPD pedaled road bike is so far removed from anything I see at the TdF, but I just couldn't bring myself to hit the road looking for a field of sunflowers to ride through.

Grab my old Thylacine fixed gear urban assault vehicle and go explore? Nah, I wasn't in the mood for it, and since I ride the bike at work all the time I really have to be inspired (forced to ride it because of wet trails).

Take the yet to be named Zion to a local trail and ride twenty or so miles trying to forget how cool it was to ride the trails in Colordao for eight or nine days?

The last option seemed most viable, until The Pie told me that she had plans on Saturday. She was going to the pool at the YMCA to meet up with a friend so the kids could play and the women folk could talk about girl stuff... things like curtains, baking, and how stupid men are for not wanting to talk about curtains and baking. I was free for the whole day.

Bill Nye had called me earlier in the week and asked me if I wanted to go the mountains. "How could I even think about going to the mountains when I've been gone for thirteen days?" I replied. Well now I found myself calling Bill Nye back and suggesting a mountain trip, and not just any mountain trip. Why not go ride the two major loops that make up ORAMM, Kitsuma and Heartbreak Ridge?

Bill Nye was in, as was Leyonce and Skidaladophy. We were going to ride the Star Gap/Curtis Creek Road, Blue Ridge Parkway, Heartbreak loop, and if time allowed we would head over to Kitsuma. Everything was set, and apparently I forgot a bunch of stuff I would have wished I wouldn't have forgotten.

The last time I rode my yet to be named Zion I had a bad experience on Heartbreak Ridge. Soon after that ride I had the frame powder coated and built it up as a spare bike for just such an occasion... that occasion being my inability to put my hands on the Meatplow. I had forgotten how much I hate riding my suspension fork down the switchback laden, exposed, off camber trails. It had also slipped my mind that when I locked my Fox fjork out it was actually WAY STIFFER than my steel rigid fork, which means I have to grip the bars even harder to compress the way too squishy grips that are on the bike. So I can either ride a flexy, squishy front end or a solid unforgiving front end. My choice.

I had never really ridden the bike since I built it back up... just tooled around a little bit on the road to assure myself that it wouldn't fall apart. I never gave any thought to the condition the brakes were in when I installed them. Apparently it has been a long time since I've done anything to them, and they were pretty useless as a device which should serve the purpose of arresting my forward movement. The front 8" rotor should have been able to deliver massive amounts of stopping power, but it was actually slightly less effective than dragging my foot. If you've never ridden the long and sometimes steep descent down Heartbreak let me assure you that functional brakes are a must if you want to have a good (not scary) time.

Could I have made things worse for myself? Sure. Over the last three or four years the single speed class at ORAMM has been won on a 32X19 (on a 29'er of course). I figured why not turn it up to 11 and try it with a 32X18... and on a bike that weighs a bunch more than my normal bike... and I'll add on a hydration pack that I normally wouldn't carry... and I'll try to forget that I'm still not fully recovered from the Breck Epic.... and I'll underestimate the time I'll be out there and only bring three mini Cliff bars to eat...

Let's just say it was a long day in the woods. I would run the fjork locked out until my hands hurt and then run it unlocked until I shit my pants. Then I would repeat that process multiple times till I got to the bottom and emptied my bibs out. How did the 32X18 work out? That will be a secret until next weekend. Either way I've got a couple of the major climbs in my head, and that's gotta count for something, right?

Time to get that tracking number and see how close my MOOTS is to Charlotte.


Cycling to Fight Cancer said...

Will be my first time at ORAMM. Looking forward to it. Sounds like I have my desent work cut out for me. Running a fox like you did.

Leyonce said...

Thanks for the tour. It was quite the learning experience. Heartbreak was the most "interesting" descent I've ridden in a while.