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Couple new KOMs yesterday; Halo skull cap will be here today.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I had a brief, but intense, ride at the Mt. Dora MTB trails yesterday morning. It was pretty hot when I got to the trailhead, but the humidity was beyond belief. More on that in a minute.

While I was unloading my bike, another rider emerged from the trails on a very nice bright green FS Niner. As we chatted, the guy (I think he said his name was Willie) pulled a Gary Fisher 29er out of his truck that had a cracked frame. The frame cracked while he was riding the Mt. Dora trails, and he was doing nothing more than going down a fairly smooth hill. Wow. His next stop was the local bike shop, where hopefully the frame would be replaced under warranty.

I’ve got to add a 29er to my stable at some point. I have a feeling that on many of the trails I ride a 29er would provide exceptional performance.

Willie told me he’d just completed three laps, and I was surprised that he was barely sweating. When I asked him how on Earth he wasn’t drenched in sweat he replied that his heart rate never got above 130 BPM. I guess we ride the trails a little differently.

I knew I didn’t have time to do a very long ride, so I decided to rock and roll. 🙂 I had my eye on a segment that I’d never made any serious attempt at before: Gravity Destroyer up/down and Florida Flow Loop. Despite the name of the segment, when I examined the route that most of the riders on the leaderboard were taking I saw that that’s not how it’s actually run. The route, as actually ridden, starts off with a downhill on the bi-directional Bridge Trail, continues around the Florida Flow Loop and is competed with a difficult climb back out on a section of trail dubbed “Mini Destroyer”. “Mini Destroyer” is a rather ironic name for that climb, because I was fully destroyed after completing it at full speed.

It was no great shock when I saw that Michael Simmons was sitting at the top of the leaderboard on the segment I was gunning for. As you may already know, Michael and I have traded KOM (King Of the Mountain) bragging rights on several segments at Mt. Dora, including Gravity Destroyer Downhill, Gravity Destroyer up/down and Florida Flow Loop, Mt. Dora with Blue and The Loop. Michael’s KOM time of 10m02s was set three months ago, and even after hundreds of rides the closest anyone else had come to beating that time was a 10m39s run. I knew I was in for a challenge…

The trails had seen a considerable amount of rain the day before. There was no mud, but a few of the corners were slightly sketchy. I felt like I was riding fairly well, but the humidity made breathing difficult. By the time I arrived at the base of the final climb I was drenched in sweat and my heart rate was just under 190 BPM.

The climb out is pretty tough, especially after riding all-out for 9 minutes. It’s a ~60 foot climb spread over about .16 miles with a maximum grade of around 15%. By the time I crested the hill I was practically blind from sweat and pain.

I thought I was at the end of the segment (like I said, this was the first time I’d really taken a stab at it), and I tossed my bike aside and collapsed on the ground. As I sat in the dirt trying to breathe, I glanced to my left and realized that the segment didn’t end where I was sitting: it was another ~2/10ths of a mile to the west! Feeling like a total idiot, I scrambled back on to my bike and rode the remaining short distance.

Even though I wasted 20 seconds, based on the time shown on my Garmin Edge 500 I was still pretty sure I had the KOM. When I got home and uploaded the data to Strava, I was happy to see that I was correct. My time was 9m37s–a new KOM. This segment is similar to Mt. Dora with Blue, which I also have KOM on now.

Obviously with the ~20 second error I made I’m capable of a faster time than I rode yesterday. I’ll certainly need to do that, as I have no doubt Michael will be back out there on his carbon Mojo looking to take back his crown. I’ll be lucky if these records stand 24 hours, and that’s fine with me: I get off on the competition.

You can check out the complete ride on Strava and Garmin Connect.

Halo Protex skull cap with tie.

Halo Protex skull cap with tie.

With my newly shaved head the sweat pouring into my eyes has been a real problem. I was literally having trouble seeing the trail yesterday–not just from the sweat in my eyes and on my sunglasses, but also because my glasses were fogging up from the high humidity. Thankfully my Halo skull cap, which was recommended to me by JSF Member (and fellow shaved head mountain biker) Craig, will be here today. I have a feeling that’s going to make a world of difference.

My sunglasses are the excellent Ryders Eyewear 2012 Hex Polar/Photochromic. I really love those glasses. Not shown in the picture on Amazon are two small diagonal slits at the top of each lens. These slits help prevent fogging, but are still no match for the Florida humidity. The Mt. Dora trails are especially humid because they basically sit down in a pit, which has reduced air flow and really traps the humid air.

I am so looking forward to the cooler fall months ahead…

John Stone Fitness Comments

9 Responses to “Couple new KOMs yesterday; Halo skull cap will be here today.”
  1. I wish my head was shaved, that’s about all that grows on top anymore. I think a 29er would be good for your type of trails, just make sure its the same weight or a little lighter then your 26″ bike. Much easier to keep up momentum once you get going but steep, technical, granny gear climbing is where the 29er suffers.

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    • Thanks Andrew, that would be a treat. My Fuel EX is 18.5″, but I’ve often complained it’s a bit undersized for my liking. In fact, at one point I replaced the stem with a Thompson 110mm just to give me a little more room in the cockpit. The longer stem was too sketchy for my liking, so I swapped it out for a Truvativ 70mm (which is what I’m running now).

      What year is your Superfly? I see the 2011s and 2012s available in 19″, but not 19.5″?

      But yeah, I suspect a 19-19.5″ frame will actually fit me pretty well.

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  2. Cool. I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of the 29er vs 26er debate for a while. I’ve even done some mathematical modeling on the computer to see where the truth really lies. On paper, the 29er should outperform a comparable 26er in almost all areas, but my ‘seat of the pants’ impressions have changed so often that I’ve begun to doubt my objectivity. It will be interesting to hear your conclusion after you’ve ridden both. Are you by any chance planning another excursion to Mt. Dora this weekend?

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