First of all, thanks to Rick for his work in developing the “new look” for our site! It looks very professional! Great job, Rick!
With winter definitely in the air, Jeni and Dave took advantage of a clear afternoon to go out and hammer up a few hills.
We left FARTquarters at about 1:30, with a long workout planned, and a few extra layers on our backpacks… it was about 43 degrees when we left, and we knew it would be a bit cooler up on top of the mountains. It has been hanging around 10 or 15 degrees cooler than normal this past week, and with darkness coming at about 6:00, it was a concern.
We headed up for Chilco, and practiced our towing up the mountain. Jeni hadn’t had much chance for any long rides in the past couple of weeks, and we were both starting back in on developing our aerobic base again, so while we kept the pace solid, but weren’t trying to set any records. I think she had “forgotten” how “fun” the first 7 miles up the hill are!
One of the interesting things we discovered is that there are both good and bad about knowing a good climb well: The good news is you know what’s coming, the bad is, yes, you guessed it; you know what’s coming, and the mountain never seems to get any shorter.
Once over the top, we raced down the far side to the Chilco trailhead, parked the bikes, unhooked our trekking poles and “jiked” up to the North Chilco summit; about 2 miles stright up. We made great time up, actually running longer and steeper portions than in the past. The method of bungeeing our poles to our bike cross bars is great, and will become a “mandatory” technique for racing next year, I think… they make such a difference on the hills, and by using the bike instead of a pack, they don’t take up space or time.
We paused briefly at the top for a quick snack and to enjoy the marvelous scenery (Rick has photos posted of our hike up there earlier this summer) and headed down. The temp was in the mid 30s, I would say, as all of the puddles along the way were frozen over! If there had been any rain, it for sure would have been snow.
We headed back up to the Chilco saddle, and then hit the Bernard Peak road, climbing up for an additional 45 minutes or so, including the first hill, which is a monster.
After summitting both peaks, we headed down on the Bernard Peak single track as the sun started to dip to the horizon.
Now, it really started getting chilly, and Jeni was pretty happy Dave had thrown in an extra pair of ski gloves in his pack! The temp was probably about 29 or 30.
This track is NARROW, being maybe 12 inches wide in spots, with the mountain on one side, and the cliff on the other, and the descent wasn’t without incident: Jeni took her first ever “header” as her bike hit a root and stopped dead, launching her over the top onto (luckliy!) a pine needle-covered, soft part of the path.
Not to be outdone, Dave hit a tight switchback, was leaning the wrong way, tried to step on a log to save himself, didn’t, and flipped off sideways, down a hill, into a creek, landing, with some authority, on a couple of logs on his back and head, bike on top. It was actually fairly fortuitious that I was wearing a pack, which certainly cushioned the blow, and a helmet, as my head hit one of the trees with an audible thunk.
After climbing back out of the ditch, we finished our trek, arriving back exactly as darkness hit! Perfect timing!
We sat in a (very hot!) hottub to relax, had some dinner and hit the hay.
Sunday morning dawned clear and “brisk,” to say the least: it was about 22 degrees at breakfast. It warmed up to about 30 or so, and we headed out to run the Loop, and then finished it up by biking the Loop right after.
All in all, it was an enjoyable couple of workouts, and we’re looking forward to the weather warming up a bit later this week back in to the 60s, which is normal, so we can get a couple more good days in before the snow flies.
Hope everyone is getting in some quality time, no matter how small, and enjoying the autumn. Keep it up, everyone! I’d love to see how you’re doing, so please take a moment and post what you’re doing… it’s motivational for all of us!
Good Training to all!