Never say “…one last time”

“As they speed thru the finish the flags go down.
The fans get up, and get out of town.
The arena is empty except for one man,
Still driving and striving as fast as he can”

CAKE – “Going the Distance”

I guess I’ll never learn – I told myself this would probably be the last Kettles ride of the year.  I also went for a muddy ride by myself with no tools.  That was about the stupidest thing I’ve done since I started at the back of the pack in my first Crit (Superweek), thinking I would work my way up to the front.  FAIL.

For those of us who don’t hunt (anymore), this was the perfect day for a ride.  45 and misty, the Kettles were a virtual ghost town this morning.  Everyone was either hunting, racing Cross or has already set up their trainers in the basement.  Too bad for you, the conditions were awesome. I jumped out of my truck and felt fast – WORS fast.  Slapped on a bright yellow helmet and even clipped on a little trail bell to let all the hung over hunters know that my brown bike with the white seat was NOT a deer.  I shot out of the parking lot and flew to the first wooden bridge, where I immediately slid sideways and ate mud.  Time to take it down about 4 notches.  The roll-in and all of the piney woods with gravel and sandy soil were super fast.  The light rain stuck everything together and it felt like riding on rails.  The rest of the trails (MOST of the trails) was like riding on Vaseline covered marble.  It’s been a dry Fall and the hard-pack trails roll super fast when it’s dry, but that little bit of rain just created a sheet of slime on the cement-like surface.  I think I was going faster up the hills than down on my first Blue Loop.

A quick stop in the parking lot to shed a few layers, still not a sole in sight aside from 3 runners, and it was back on the trails.  By now the ground had soaked up a lot of the moisture and the trails were rolling pretty fast again.  Just shy of 4 miles in, I blew the chain apart.  Tools?  You bet, back in my truck in the parking lot!  Time for the walk of shame.  Still an awesome way to spend my morning.  Made it back to the parking lot around 9:45, just as a few crews of weekend warriors on their reflectorized full-suspension rigs were about to roll in.

In just 24 hours I’ll be rollin’ down the road in Tampa, I’m guessing that when I get back in December the skinny skis will have taken over the Kettles.  So long John and Emma – see you in Spring!

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