Friday, August 19, 2011

Lory State Park - Getting Ready for Next Weekend's Xterra

Today was my birthday so Jonny took the day off and we went for a ride up at Lory State Park. Jonny had bought me a lesson with former Olympic mountain biker Ann Trombley during the week and I was itching to try out my new found skilz. Which included how to go down a drop-off. It's sort of like riding a horse over a jump. Ann started out showing me some simple drills to do to feel what it's like to shift my weight around on my bike. She also showed me the 'Attack' position which is how I'm supposed to ride downhill from now on. In just over an hour she had me riding down a steep rocky hill into a ledge/drop off with a turn right after it. The trail is near my house and all these years I've always gotten off my bike and walked down that step/ledge because I never knew how to ride it and now it's no problemo. Plus I feel much more stable on the downhills since she showed me the proper position to be in so I can go faster and feel more in control. Very cool.

Anyway, I wasn't planning on going up to Lory to pre-ride the course again but I thought what the hey. Normally it's too hot this time of year, no shade at all and it's only at around 6600 ft. so it's not much cooler than in town which was supposed to be in the low 90's. However we had wonderful cloud cover and mid-70 degree temperatures - perfect for one more chance to check out the course.

And I'm glad I did because I found out that they've done a bunch of trail work and smoothed over a bunch of stuff including the only downhill portion that I couldn't ride so now with the exception of a very tiny piece of technical uphill I can easily ride the whole course now that I have my fancy new downhill skilz. Even some stuff that wasn't really technical but maybe bumpy/rocky or tight switchbacks or whatever has been smoothed out. It's going to be a fast and furious race for a lot of folks.

This is the one downhill part that used to be tricky, a drop-off on a switchback. I was so proud of myself riding down it using the skills Ann taught me then Jonny realized some trail work had been done and it was now much easier. But still, so happy I know how to ride it now even if it is easier.

Looking downhill

Looking uphill

Easy Peasy.  In fact I wonder if I could ride this part all the time and the part with the steep drop off is somewhere else and has been re-routed or somehow filled in.  I seem to remember it was rockier with a much steeper drop off.

This is the uphill that I can quite make it up.

It's hard to show the true steepness of it.  I can make it almost to the top then get stuck at that last ledge of rock.  It's sort of possible to go to the right to the smooth part to miss out the rock but it's a very tight turn and you need a lot of strength to have enough speed/momentum to carry you into the turn and I couldn't quite make it.  Riding over the rock at the top is also possible but I simply don't have enough leg strength.  Jonny can do it but he said it was a bit hard even for him.  He watched me trying to do it and said I was in too easy of a gear so couldn't get enough power going to make it up.  I don't have the leg strength to push much harder of a gear so this challenge will have to wait until I can build up more strength.  I'll only lose a few seconds having to get off for a few steps so no big deal.

Lovely singletrack heading into where the transition area will be.

Hello Eltuck Bay.  I'll see you next week.

Bike course felt fast and easy today, pace was 9.1 mph for the second loop.  The first loop I stopped several times to take pictures of parts of the course and re-ride the 'tricky' parts.  I rode this course at 9 mph during the race 2 years ago.  My goal is to be faster this year, maybe 9.4-9.6 mph.  Maybe even 10 mph!  That would be cool.  In any case I'm excited for the race next week.

Tomorrow I get up at some unspeakable hour to drive to Laramie, WY for one day of a USDAA trial.  The only reason I'm going is that there will be a measuring judge there so Strummy can finally get his very final measurement.  He has 3 measurements under 21" from regular judges and one just over and one just under from CMJ's so hopefully the CMJ tomorrow will measure him under.  If so I may do more USDAA in the future since I'm tiring of the 'sameness' of the DOCNA courses.  I signed up for 4 classes and I'm driving the 2 hours, 10 minutes back the same day so will be a long day.  I love this trial, the site, etc. but it's such a long drive.  Ah well, it'll be fun anyway.


  1. What a couple of perfect bday gifts--the lessons and the day off with a ride in the hills. I was just discussing my local park, where I hike often witht he dogs because it's close, with a friend who hikes & climbs & bikes and she pointed out that some of the trails are rated extremely difficult for biking (, and I had to blink and think about it a bit. Your post makes it a little clearer why.

  2. Maybe I should post some actual technical single track sometime. These trails are very easy, lots of beginners or people who don't ride trails a lot enter this race. The trails I ride up at West Mag are more difficult and some sections I get off and walk. I avoid super technical/rocky trails because I don't have the skills or nerve for those. I like nice smooth single track but the mountains aren't always obliging. It is the Rocky Mountains after all so sometimes I have to hike-a-bike for a little bit.