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2013 Ride Of the Living Dead post-ride report

Monday, October 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


The Ocala Mountain Bike Association, the Ocala Bicycle Center and Greenway Bicycles sure know how to throw a party! The 4th annual Ride Of the Living Dead (ROLD) was another huge success…

More than 100 mountain bikers, many in full costume, participated in this year’s ROLD. The atmosphere before, during and after the ride was fun and energetic. I saw and rode with many of my friends, and I also made some new ones. Mike Simmons and I rode the entire 50 miles together; Daniel Cleaver, Jim Beyer, Mark Huff and Rob Ern also did the 50 mile route.

Pre-ride. That's Evan "Singletrack Messiah" Stalzer in the foreground. Mike Simmons and I are yacking in the background.

Pre-ride. That’s Evan "Singletrack Messiah" Stalzer in the foreground. Mike Simmons and I are yacking in the background.

When I arrived at the Santos trailhead my truck indicated the outside temperature was 49° (F). I decided to dress up as an XC mountain biker (yeah, I’m not much of a costume guy), and I didn’t have any cold weather clothing with me. I knew it would be a little chilly at the start, but I was okay with that. I knew I would warm up quickly.

Before the start of the ride, Mike and I hung out talking and checking out all the great costumes. I was really cold standing around, and anxious to get my blood pumping a little bit. Mike and I rolled out a little early, about 20 minutes before the official start time of 9:00 AM.

I got my first and only wreck of the day out of the way nice and early, flying over the bars on a big double root that I didn’t see until I was already on top of it. I was fine, but my rear brake lever took a hit and seemed to drag the brake for a short time after using it.

As we warmed up, so did the air. The weather was absolutely amazing: not a cloud in the sky, and cool. It really was perfect riding weather.

The pace, for the most part, was social. Mike and I rode along enjoying the trails (all of which, by the way, were in excellent shape) and the conversation. Most of the early trails on this route were non-technical, and didn’t require any aggression to ride properly. We were both feeling really good.

Thanks to the cool air our water consumption was relatively low, and so we only hit one SAG stop over the entire 50 mile ride.

We definitely picked the right SAG stop: the Ross Prairie trailhead SAG. This SAG was at the halfway point–about 25 miles in–and just before the two most technical trails, “Ern N Burn” and “Nayls Trail”. When we arrived at the SAG we were greeted by three lovely members of the “Dirty Divas” mountain biking group, and a full spread of various delicious snacks and beverages. I was looking over the table and figuring out what I wanted to eat, when the Divas asked, “Hey, you guys want a shot?”

I was cracking up. Halfway through a 50 mile mountain bike ride and the SAG had alcohol for the riders! That was definitely a first for me. I figured, oh why not? One shot isn’t going to put me into a tree. I hope.

Mike and I grabbed a shot of Pumpkin spice vodka (yeah, I broke my vodka rule–this is the first taste of vodka I’ve had in like 2 years) and tossed it back. We joked that we were going to blow off the rest of the ride, and do shots with the Divas for the rest of the day.

With the pleasant sting of alcohol still lingering in our throats, Mike and I headed out to tackle Ern N Burn and Nayls, and the remaining 25 miles.

I really felt great the entire ride. My legs felt super strong and my average heart rate over the entire 50 miles was just 150 BPM–that’s an all-day heart rate for me. Strava gave me a 172 “Extreme” suffer score for the ride (04:37:07 ride time @ 150 BPM), but there was no suffering. That was the easiest 50 miles I’ve ever mountain biked. When I finished I still felt relatively fresh.

Mike had been dealing with a pretty bad cold, and then went to Vegas for a week just before this ride. He was in Vegas for business, and didn’t get to ride his bike the entire time he was there. Kudos to Mike for doing this 50 mile ride like a boss. Jim Beyer has also not had much saddle time lately (work and family), and so it was great to see him tackle the 50 miles as well.

Post-ride burgers and beer!

Post-ride burgers and beer!

After the ride we enjoyed a complementary lunch of hamburgers and wonderful craft beer.

The course was well-marked, and the trails were all running extremely well. Many thanks to all the sponsors and the hard-working volunteers who made this event so much fun.

I’ve done the Ride Of the Living Dead twice now, and it’s been an amazing experience both times. If you missed this year’s ROLD, don’t make the same mistake next year!

I sort of wish I’d taken more photographs, but I wasn’t really thinking about that. You know what? That’s a good thing. It’s nice to ride and hang out with some great friends, enjoying the experience and not thinking about smartphones and Strava segments. 🙂

Here’s the course as I rode it. The entire ride with all data can be found here.

2013 Ride Of the Living Dead: 50 mile course, as ridden.

2013 Ride Of the Living Dead: 50 mile course, as ridden.

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