My alarm went off at 4am. Ugh, tired. Drove to Greenville to load my bike and gear into Matt Longest's truck and from there pick up Remus in DeWitt. It seemed as if within minutes we were at the sign-in table at the Pinckney Rec Area. The ride was free with free chili and beer at the end from Arbor Brewing. Only catch was you had to buy either a pint glass or mug to put the beer in. No problem, pint glasses were $5. (I had a "Hoptoberfest" and a "Ypsi Gypsy". Mmmm....yummy.)
We started off, still very cold. Charging off right into the woods, I was gassed after only minutes on the trail. This trend would go on for the first 2+ hours. After being smoked by just about everyone out there that day and falling UPHILL twice (quite dramatically too, I actually have wounds to prove it), I knew it was going to be a long day for me and there was nothing anyone else could do about it. I couldn't catch my breath even on the downhills and my legs had NO power. I felt like I was in a fog most of the afternoon until after lunch. I'm not sure what my deal was, but it was angering me.
The only thing I could come up with later in the day was possibly the muscle relaxers I've been taking at night the previous 4 nights to help calm my lower back. I don't even take the full dose. I don't know what they do to muscles or lung function in the long-run, but I guess as long as I plan to ride in events and perform well, I'll be off those for days beforehand. I don't know...its only an assumption at this point. Bottom line was, I was excited to be there, riding with friends, and I couldn't even half-way ride to my fullest and keep up with them. I felt terrible from head to toe which made it not fun and spent a majority of my day riding by myself.
Boy, I don't ever remember the Potto being that rocky and rooty - lots of steep drops. Of course, I only rode it once, and that was back in 1997. This would have been the only trail I've ridden in years where full suspension would actually make sense.
We rolled in at 38 miles - the ride was advertised as 47. So that was a little disappointing, but I guess the condition I was in, probably a good thing.
Two best things of the day I saw: One was rolling into Remus' only to see him sitting on the concrete driveway with gear ready like a small child waiting for the school bus on his first day of school. So excited! The next was while waiting for traffic to clear at a street crossing, watching Longest fail to unclip and fall amazingly fast right to the ground. He jumps up and yells "Yup, my first day on a bike!" That's good stuff.
Little did anyone know, but Remus was holding a private Single Speed Rigid clinic that day. (That was also free. All you had to do was bring your own glasses to keep the dust and rocks out of your face.) He always led our group out and was not within sight many-a-times. He showed everyone on mountain bikes with gears and suspension that we're all a bunch of pussies. I don't know what you're problem is my friend, but well done. You're a crazy bastard.