Temperatures only hit about 48-50 today for a high with sunshine and the wind out of the north. I decided to wait and do my training ride in the afternoon, rather than morning, to give Banner Pits time to dry out from yesterday's rain and let the wind do its magic blowing from the north.
I dressed up in layers and the ride to Banner was downhill and against the wind which made for a nice warm-up. I turned into the singletrack starting with Riverside and was pleasantly surprised to find it even drier than earlier this week. I stopped here and there to use my favorite golf club (the foot wedge) to move limbs and branches off of the trail. I hit the north side and found my stride as I was making my way around the loop with improved fitness from all these weeks of base training. I saw Bob Matthews and Elaine Kaye removing a fallen tree and stopped to visit with them. They were both on their fat bikes. I put my Sinatra back in my ears with the iPod and headed off to finish the loop. Riverside, northside, Corner Pocket were all in good dirt shape. Tacky would be the word and ready to ride. Nude Beach was just like plastilina clay and although it is good to ride, it's going to take some warm weather, sunshine and wind to dry that out a bit more.
I will hit Banner again tomorrow and Saturday (group ride planned at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Banner) before the rain hits on Sunday. Temperatures climbing into the 70's next week as we head into the final week of "official winter".
It feels good to be out on the dirt again with the mountain bike! 9+ hours this week so far and I have started to ramp up the intensity to force more of the training effect to make sure I am not stuck in a plateau and build for the XC racing that is coming. The loop itself at Banner adds all of those power climbs which helped, as did the tacky conditions which meant more power was required to keep moving. I did various intervals on the way home to round out my 2:20 on the bike. Legs are starting to feel cooked which is good - I want fatigue build up by the end of the week to let me know I am not stuck in a plateau. I'll probably take Sunday off and hit it hard again Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to Boulder, CO on Thursday.
I just finished watching my college roomate's son play in the Class 2A semi-final basketball game (Clarinda vs. St. Edmond). Clarinda tied the game with 3 seconds to go in the 4th quarter which forced an overtime. Unfortunately for Clarinda, St. Edmond took control in OT and won by 14 points to advance to the finals against Mt. Vernon. Well done to Brandon Sweet and his team on making it to the semi-finals and for a good season!
Now, off to Des Moines to meet up with Tara and Alexa for dinner...