Hit Santos with Mike yesterday.
Mike and I went up to Santos MTB park yesterday for a morning ride. We decided to hit mostly the Red (Advanced) trails, and focus on tech rather than speed. As hot as it has been, it was nice to head out there knowing we were not going to be doing 50 miles or riding all-out the entire time. I do enough of those rides already and, frankly, my bike handling skills need attention.
Between my injured lower back, my crazy work schedule and then not feeling too well last week, I have not been on my mountain bike since mid-July. Having done nothing but road rides and trainer rides for the past few weeks, I definitely felt rusty on my mountain bike when we set off from the Santos trailhead. My cardio felt off as well, as I’m still dealing with some congestion. As we made our way over to the Vortex trail, I hit a big root at a bad angle on “Dr. Ruth” and wiped out. I thought, “You better pull it together quick, Stone, or you’re going to die on the Vortex!”
Thankfully I quickly got my MTB legs back, and was feeling more at ease as we hit the Vortex. The Vortex trail is the longest Red at Santos and, arguably, the most difficult. It’s got a bit of everything: rock gardens, extremely steep grunt climbs littered with rocks and roots, steep and rocky descents, switchbacks, a few small drops and a couple “don’t look down” ridge riding sections. It’s a great technical challenge, and a crazy cardio workout.
Each time I ride the Vortex I get a little better at it, and yesterday was no exception. I definitely felt like I rode the trail as well as I ever had, but it was still far from elegant or smooth riding. It really helped to be riding behind Mike, who’s bike handling skills are light years beyond mine. Watching Mike’s lines and so forth was very educational. If you want to become a better rider, ride with people who are better than you are.
The funny thing is I set a new PR for the Vortex trail, and that was with Mike and stopping to work on some skills practice along the way, and re-doing sections. It was while we were doing some skills work that I had my worst wreck…
We stopped at a small log on the Vortex so Mike could demonstrate his technique for doing “log-overs”. The ability to do a log-over is very useful in situations where an obstacle is too big to bunny hop, or you lack the speed to do a bunny hop. Using the log-over technique a rider can get his bike over any obstacle that he can get his front wheel on–even at very slow speeds. Mike’s great at this skill, and watching him get his bike over big logs without hitting his chainring has always impressed me.
So the first part of a log-over is to lift the front tire and tap it on top of the obstacle. As I was practicing this my tire came down just a little short of the log. Of course physics, being the indifferent bastard that he is, was obligated to flip my bike and send me over the bars. Thankfully the K-edge Garmin mount took the majority the punishment, but something (judging from the shape of the bruise I think it was the handle bar ends) impacted my upper left quad giving me a hell of a charlie horse. My quad was hurting for the rest of the ride, but it is absolutely killing me this morning. Anyway, the metal K-edge sheered off the plastic tabs on the bottom of my Garmin, and now my Garmin is pretty much useless. My options are to pay Garmin 90 bucks for a refurbished exchange, or try a self-repair using epoxy and a Dremel.
Anyway, fantastic ride yesterday—had a blast, and learned a lot from Mike. Thanks, dude!