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Here we are riding our way into the summer and full into the race season.
Hopefully all of you put in lots of base (and fun) miles during the spring months and now those miles and hours of training are paying off with good race results and personal bests.
Because our Colorado winter and spring were very mild, I was actually able to put in close to 1,000 extra training miles before my first mountain bike race.
I April, I went on a 10 day mountain bike riding vacation with my ace mechanic and husband, Steve. We headed for Moab, Utah and Grand Junction, Colorado.
Going on a trip like this is a good way to test out new equipment and clothing on great single track and technical trails. Too, it is just plain fun to go somewhere different and meet new people to ride.
Here’s what I packed:
My new full suspension bike, equipped with the new Grip Shift 9.0 Half Pipe shifters and 9.0 rear derailleur, a Rock Shox SID SL, new tires to test out and various other bells and whistles that look really cool on a new bike.
My two duffle bags were full of cool new swag. Several pairs of the new Performance Elite-Y- Short, Y2K Kokopelli Women’s Jersey and matching bra top, a couple of Performance Century gloves, arm, knee, and leg warmers (be prepared for all types of weather), and the Performance Ultrex Jacket, which I ended up wearing all of the time in the cool desert evenings.
Also packed away was a helmet, a pair of mountain bike shoes, several pairs of Smartwool socks, a couple of pairs of Rudy Project glasses. I forgot my Performance Trophy ATB shoes at home so I will have to test them out on another trip or training ride. Also stuffed away were many spare tires, tubes, chains, tools, and bolts were added to the pile that looked like we were going away for months.
You can always pop into the local shop and buy something that you forgot or broke but I always prefer to bring extras of everything, as I do not like to buy something that I probably have 3 of at home.
Our adventure started on a Saturday with a one day ride on the infamous White Rim Trail in Moab, Utah. We have always wanted to ride this beautiful trail in one day. The next eight days were spent goofing off in the grand Junction and Fruita Colorado area.
I had planned to end the trip with the Fruita Mountain Bike race but ended up way too tired to race and bagged that idea. Not that I enjoy missing a great race but sometimes my sponsors can get as much exposure in a group ride with a bunch of friends and new acquaintances and save racing for when I will be able to give it 100%.
The most memorable part of the trip had to be the White Rim Trail ride. Not because we would begin our trip with a 103 mile mountain bike ride. Not because we were riding with great friends. Not because it had some of the best scenery of the trip. It was the most memorable part of the trip because I was able to ride on brand new equipment and in brand new clothing and the whole ride went off with out a problem.
As a coach and racer, I would advise against testing out a new bike and especially new shorts on a 9-10 hour mountain bike ride. You never test new equipment out before a big event or a super long ride. Too much can go wrong. Knee problems, a bazillion seat adjustments, saddle sores, cranky attitudes…
Well, nothing went wrong. I tell you, Performance really has a winner with their new Y-Short. It really is a fantastic short! The longer I was in that pair of shorts, the more comfortable they were. Really! That short is a winner.
The new bike rode like a dream. No problems and only about 5 seat adjustments, which made my friends happy because they thought I was crazy for showing up with new equipment. They wanted to see how consistently we could ride the whole loop. There is nothing worse you can do to your friends than slow them down on a ride with bike problems. They were happy with the 9-9 and ½ hours it took to finish the loop, as was I.
The next stop on the adventure was Grand Junction and Fruita Colorado. We rode all of the new trails we could find and several of our favorites. Favorites like the Mack, Mary’s, and Troy Built Loops. These trails are primarily fast, exposed, and moderately technical. They have fantastic views to knock your socks off!
We were invited with the locals to try some of their riding trails where I really got my you-know-what kicked riding some of the most technical terrain I have been on in some time.
It is always a pleasure to learn new tricks, test your technical skills out on new trails and gain a little endurance in the process.
I think the only thing I would change about this trip, for next year, is doing the 103 mile day at the beginning of the trip. It really made me tired for the first several days of the vacation. I would add it into the third day of the trip with an easy day afterwards.
Otherwise, this was the perfect vacation and a good way to kick off the mountain bike season knowing the skill level is there and the equipment and clothing will be great for the 2000 race season.
Once again, Live your passion of cycling and get out there. Michelle Grainger