Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dirt Coaster

Group ride was out at Lewis & Clark this week, I hadn't ever been out there so I wasn't sure what to expect. The views from atop the monument are pretty spectacular even on a hazy, overcast day. 

Pretty good turn out considering that L&C is a good 20 minutes or better from Omaha and the warmer temps from earlier in the day were fading fast. I think Feagan is telling fish stories here or giving flamenco dance lessons... could go either way.


Not knowing what to really expect from this trail I was nowhere near prepared for it, the camera never does justice to just how steep or twisty the trails are but this trail is literally a roller coaster from start to finish, at no point in the entire trail can you just sit and coast. The down hills beg you to just let go of the brakes and fly...  the tight, tree lined corners that seem to crop up out of everywhere quickly put an end to that exuberance.

I am sure once you ride this trail a few dozen times and learn the flow of it, it would be a blast to ride but riding it for the first time it was a complete suffer-fest. Dug into the sides of the bluffs for most of it, you are never more than a few inches away from potential disaster but not to worry, all those cushy trees would surely slow you down before you made it all the way to the bottom, and the hills; some are short and steep, some are long and steep and then others you think are going to be short and steep only to find out it's a false peak and it's really long and steep. There are those who say that breathing is overrated, I'm not one of those and truly enjoy every breath, this trail makes you take lots of them, mostly wheezy, shallow ones but it's all about quantity and not quality right? 

This was my view for the entire ride, Feagan would let me get just close enough and then take off again like a sadistic leprechaun on a mountain bike, I swear a couple of times I even heard him say "you'll never get me gold" as he seemed to effortlessly fly over the trail. Super leprechauny powers of forest flight is the only explanation I can come up with as to how he made it look so easy. 
At the top of the trail was a pretty cool memorial to one of the founders of T.H.O.R., never met the guy myself but he sounded like he'd been a really cool guy to ride with. 

Officially met Randleman for the first time... on a singlespeed... seemed like a good enough guy or at least when you're not in his way, more on that in a bit. As I sat there trying not to cough up a lung the two of them chatted as if they'd just ran into each other in the grocery store, I suspect our levels of fitness and endurance were not quite the same. 
We took off just a bit before Randleman as he was waiting for someone else, which is the only way I was ahead of him because it didn't take him long to catch us, I pulled to the side to let him pass... and then he proceeded to sneak out an elbow and knock me over on his way past. Nah, not really, somehow I thought it'd be a good idea to pull over to the side and do some sort of track stand on the side of the trail while he passed, the side was much softer than I had anticipated and I lost all momentum and over I went. First day riding bikes, new shoes, just a gomer, whatever you want to call it I ended up not getting clipped out in time took the rookie tip of shame. I guess you don't really break in a new pair of kicks until you get them all muddy anyway so I guess I did that. 
On that note, shoes actually felt really good and performed awesomely even if they don't release as easily as my former shoes. As for L&C, I think it's a keeper, I'll need to visit it way more often to get to the point where I can use the downhills to my advantage for the uphills but even if it makes you pay for the slightest mistake it really is a fun trail. 

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