Monday, May 23, 2011

Weekend Warrior

Having a full-time job makes finding time for riding and racing difficult at times. To maximize the amount of time I can spend on my bike, I often use my bike for commuting to work. When the weather is nice, riding my bike to work is a great thing. On the other hand, if it is raining the ride is usually not much fun. It seems for the past couple of months it has rained just about every day, so this has made finding time to ride even more difficult. Since I usually have a little more free time on the weekends, I usually do my long rides on Saturday or Sunday like most working folks, the weekend warriors. Now that racing season is in full-swing, however, finding time for long rides on the weekend is hard to do now, too.

This past Saturday was special because the weather was beautiful and I had plenty of time to ride. There have not been many nice days this year like this past Saturday, especially on a weekend when I could enjoy it the most. I took advantage of the opportunity by doing a 75 mile on/off road ride on my Selma Ti Single Speed. I could have very easily gone much further with it being so nice out, but I had already pre-registered for a race on Sunday and felt that anything more than 75 miles might slow me down for my race. I usually like to take it easy the day before a race, so my legs feel fresh. I am glad that I didn’t follow my normal game plan this weekend because I would have missed out on an incredible ride.

So, on Sunday, I traveled down to Boonsboro, MD for the Greenbrier AMBC Challenge. For those of you who don’t live in the Mid-Atlantic Region or are not aware of Greenbrier, it is a rocky, technical and multiple-lap course. There have been races held at Greenbrier off and on since the early 1990’s. I’ve raced on this course quite a few times over the years, but always find it to be a good test of my riding skills and a lot of fun to ride.

When I woke-up Sunday morning, I was glad that I chose to only do the XC race instead of the four hour long marathon race also being held at Greenbrier. Not only were my legs a little tired on Sunday Morning, but I would have also needed to leave my house by 5:30AM in order to get to the marathon race on time. Additionally, I think doing an occasional XC race is a nice break from the endurance racing I usually do. And, as much as I like riding at Greenbrier, I think doing a marathon race should NOT be held on a course that requires doing more than 3 or 4 laps at the most.

Even though my legs were a little tired from my ride on Saturday, my race went well on Sunday. After a little jostling during the first mile of the race, I was able to take the lead and hold on to it for the win. Other than doing the last couple of laps at the Baker’s Dozen on my Salsa Spearfish, this was the first race that I actually did start to finish on this incredible full suspension 29er. The bike handled the never ending rocks of Greenbrier very smoothly and made the course much more manageable for me. It was also nice to use gears for a change, especially when going up the steep rocky climbs this course has. I’m sure that my Selma Ti would have also given me a fast ride, but the Spearfish made going fast at Greenbrier much easier and more comfortable. Maybe I am getting old???

So, all in all, it was another good weekend to be in the trenches as a weekend warrior. Going to battle every weekend is not a bad thing. I can’t even compare riding and racing to war because I enjoy doing them both way too much, as I am sure most cyclists reading this do. I’m pretty sure that riding my bike will always be something fun and adventurous for me to do, even if finding the time to do it can be challenging at times.

Happy Trails, Gerry

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