Pine Flat Grasshopper
Sometimes I don’t know which ends up and nothing makes sense until I get on my bike. Then it all just flows, makes sense, less thinking. After an indulgent bike week in Costa Rica I hit the ground full speed. All good stuff but not much time for riding. At least I was rested, sort of, going into the day. I remembered two years ago doing this route that the pace was pretty furious heading up West Dry Creek and Dutcher and this year was the same. When Taylor and Sneddon went off the front folks got a bit worked up and made some efforts but nothing organized and soon they were let slip away. Many never realized, nor cared, as thoughts of self preservation manifested in controlled efforts until we reached Geysers road. With the absence of Dr. Todd the pace was fast but there were no heavy attacks and I managed to stick to the back of the lead group. Funny how this is often where I find myself. Grappling between digging deep to hang and slipping into no-man’s land to save some energy. I hung on until just before the steeps of the Geyesers and then spent some quiet solo time. George had popped off and I knew he’d be looking for me on the steeps of Pine Flat. I suffered from miscalculating my hydration at Old Caz and would not make the same mistake on Hopper #4. I carried 3 bottles of Osmo and took on 3 atop the Geysers. If I was going to come undone it would not be due to cramping. I ate as many GUs and GU Chomps as I could manage and enjoyed the solo descent to the valley floor where I happily picked up Justin Herrell who was looking for some guidance as he’d never climbed Pine Flat. We exchanged pulls and little by little began picking up riders on Pine Flat. It’s always motivating to move forward but I kept my enthusiasm in check as I knew what awaited me on the steeps. The top was veiled in fog and as I paper-boyed my way to the top I managed to squeak out a top 20. Satisfied. Good finish for a mountain biker Kris Snedon and Taylor Bertrand Barrett managed to stay away but only just. In the women’s field it was Kristen Vetterlein who took the overall followed by Kelly Farnham and Catherine Mattis who will retain the leaders jersey. Not sure about the men’s, I’ll need to recalculate. Just over 60 miles and more than 8000 ft of climbing. Epic! At least I’ll have some climbing in my legs if I don’t get much in before King Ridge; but at least we’ll have some dirt to play in. Huge thanks to Lisa and Osmo for the hydration and recovery and Frank and Norcal for the support. We are lucky as without them thou pockets would be severely bulging! Thanks to P for the help at reg and the finish and to Cathy and Fritz at the start. Thanks to Arnot Roberts, GU, Ibis and all the killer local support. Just one more and we’ll be at Lake Sonoma for the weekend where we’ll have our grand prize raffle. If you’ve done them all so far don’t stop now! See you in two weeks and remember to pre-reg as it helps us get ready!
MigPine Flat Grasshopper