More snow and ice for the Wednesday night ride @ Gambrill. I brewed up some studded tires over the weekend and had to give them a go. Traction was excellent and really helped on the descents, however, the studs were like talons and held on to exposed trail debris. Cutting first tracks through Styrofoam snow wasn't a picnic either. Still, the 5 brave souls pick our way through the woods and had a great time. The Big Dog and Sweetcheeks were riding strong and made some nasty climbs.
Close to the finish Frank suggested the black trail and I was the only taker. The others made a bee line to the cars as we negotiated an exposed line on the top of the mountain being pummeled with high winds and low temps. First time I ever rode that section and hope to put it into regular rotation. PLB's were minimal as the temperature (13 degrees) did not encourage socializing.
M.O.R.E winter party was this past Saturday and (as always) it was a great time. Party organizer Liz did a fantastic job with the arrangements, JoeP produced another entertaining film and the beer selection grew with DFH stepping up as a new sponsor. Add the keg donations from Shenandoah Brewing and Outlaw sponsor Clipper City Brewing into the mix and it's no wonder my head hurt so much in the morning. There was also a short video produce by a couple young guys, like 17 years old. From the opening shot you knew these guys were talented. Everything from camera work to post production was phenomenal. Hell, they made Wakefield look good and that's no easy feat. I hear they are shooting in Gambrill and the Shed now. I can't wait to see that one.
More hungover than I have been in a long time, Sunday was slated to be a big, hard ride on the gravel roads of Frederick. I picked up DKEG about 8 and seriously thought about bailing, I was so bad off. I knew the group would show no mercy and I was looking at a painful day in the saddle. Cross bikes were the weapon of choice as the recent temps were sure to melt off all the snow we enjoyed just 4 days prior. All this melt-off was going to produce some sloppy trails. On the car ride up I labored to eat a banana and drink some Gatorade. Upon arrival RiderX takes one look at me and laughs as he says I have Ricky to blame. "For what?" I inquire. For the sufferfest he has planned as payback. Payback for Ricky's last minute ride bailout the day before, I'm told. Yeah, this is gonna suck.
As we ride, the pounding in my head starts to subside and the warm sun felt good on my face. Ricky flats twice before we get to any real climbs and we take the opportunity to drop a layer before the hard work ahead. As the grade increases, so does the mud. The gravel roads covered with ice the day before are now wet, soft and slow. After the first pitch my hangover is a distant memory and there is now work to be done. Joe and I pull away from the others and push the hill as it pushes back. At the top Joe comments how we should have packed some beers. I actually agreed with him. Some 43 miles and 4600 feet of climbing later, we did enjoy a couple cold ones at the Outlaws house.