I hate data. Riding has never been about numbers and following a structured program for me. I just ride. Strava isn't anything totally new to me. I had heard about it before it just never really resonated with me. Tim Johnson talked about it before the Ride on Washington and Rapha talked it up before the East Coast Gentleman's Ride but I just didn't get how easy it was to use and how hooked I would get on it. I have a soft addiction to the interwebs and twitter etc. But strava? Its like crack cocaine. It brings the virtual into the real world in ways I never would have thought would even remotely work for me. The first time I saw its potential was on a ride with Billy Campbell and Nick. Billy took off like a shot after the strava KOM on Strawberry Hill. Then Rosey signed me up. Now every segment of road is a townline sprint or a KOM. You can track how you do against other riders. It brings a focus to the ride that to me is perfect for the non-structured rider. It also keeps track of your mileage etc. My coach is awesome. But I swear he must be like "dude, if you kept track of your rides I could actually like do the job you pay me to do..." Well maybe he is too nice to go there but I wouldn't blame him if he did. With strava its all there. And yeah Tim Johnson gave me a kudo for Larz Worlds the other day. Pretty much made my day. God I am such a dork.
Worlds started this week. Dear god it was brutal. Is it "too early" to be doing cx practice? Laugh all you want we'll see who is laughing in September. But I digress. This wednesday at Larz was really just to shake off the cobwebs and see if we still remembered how to turn on grass. Umm its a lot harder than I remember. Rosey set up the traditional course. Including the nasty runnup and the grass climb of death. We had a small but solid crew. On the first lap I was so out of it I didn't recognize Mike Wissell without his beard. Seriously as I am running next to him my ADD brain is like why are all these Bolo Loco guys so damn tough. And they all just seem to be able to corner as smooth as Mike...he must coach them all up or something. This went on for a full lap until we stopped at the barriers and I woke up from not having any cofeets and being Hypoxic at 6:30 am and realized it was Mike afterall. Morning Mike. I only ended up doing 4 laps. Pretty pathetic. I got one good lap in where I was able to close the door on DJ Roberto when he was getting frisky. Good times. Rubbin is racing and its better to practice with teammates than getting all hot and bothered when some stranger tries to take you into the tape at Sucker Brook.
This last weekend I was also able to go up to Loon for a quick mini-vacation. I brought the road bike with visions of getting up early and riding the Kanc. A bunch of good friends gave me some riding ideas. I ended up going out towards Woodstock and over 118. It was amazing. I really fell in love with Loon. It is a beautiful area and has a lot of history for me personally that I won't bore you with. But suffice it to say it really was a bit of an epiphany ride. Not to rip off Gary Erickson but we all have epiphany rides. I just haven't had one in a long time.
Us flatlanders forget the power of the Mountains. We have hills, and bumps but no mountains. We say the Ocean has a pull and we want to be near it. Sure its pretty and I do love it but the mountains hold something very different. Maybe its because I haven't been around them in a long, long time. But as I was rolling down the Kanc my heart rate spiked. Like really spiked on a flat where it should be like 100-118 it jumped to 160 at the sight of another small group of riders. As I was rolling on the flat heading out to the mountains rearing up all around me I was nervous. Maybe a bit scared. Not scared of could I do it etc. But just awed by its power. This may sound lame but that is what surfing in big waves feels like. You sit on the beach and watch the waves. You feel the pounding of the surf on the beach. You see what the sets are doing and look for the channel.
Then you leap. You run in and dive into the water and commit. No turning back. You have to swim out past all the white water and then get out past the break. Then you sit on your board and wait for the horizon to get blotted out by the huge mountains of water moving towards you. I haven't had that feeling in ten years. It blew me away. As I climbed and climbed and climbed. I had to keep calming myself down. It was amazing to climb for what seemed forever. It was only about 50 minutes and probably 2,600 feet. But it felt like an eternity. When I got to the top I knew I had to turn back as I only had two hours. But the views and the excitement of the sick descent that was waiting for me was so similar to when you paddle in and then drop down the face of a heavy wave. I pushed the bike over the lip of the pass and dropped in. I haven't descended like that in so long. Felt amazing. As I rolled back into Woodstock and headed back towards Loon all I could think is I need more of that. And with friends.