September 2, 2018

Prescott: Rock Bottom

Ever since Mark and I rode up in Prescott, I've been wanting to get back up there to sample more of the Emmanuel Pines area. It's a smaller trail system within a system. The area has been getting a lot of trailwork, re-routes & new singletrack. Chuck and I set a meetup time & location and Joe would track us down about an hour after our start.

Chuck's been riding a lot, so I had to caution him re: my fitness level. It was low. These trails are fairly tame and no crazy climbing. Some of the trails do have rock features to play on, so it's not all buffed out singletrack.

We got going and kept a fairly consistent pace for the better part of an hour. On our loop back into the meat of the trails we met up with Joe.
It seems like I always ride past this fireplace when in Prescott.

Fun trail with some alt. rock lines.
We found one of the newer trails, complete with flagging, to explore. It had some rock face riding and was still very raw in sections.
Fantastic routing through the rock slabs.

Chuck hitting a roller.
Somewhere around 10 miles into the ride my legs began to feel heavy, energy waning. Five more miles ticked by slowly and I was about done, but knew we still had a few miles left. I wasn't bonking, I was simply out of shape. I could tell Chuck & Joe were riding a comfortable pace, meanwhile I was breathing hard on the slightest of inclines falling farther behind. I wanted to be at the car.
Tunnel Vision trail. My mantra for the remainder of 2018 & beyond, ride to the light!!

Joe showing the scale of the tiny tunnel.

Joe contemplating Lloyd's Drop. Nope.
We started a gradual climb back to the parking area, maybe two miles worth. The trail was a beginner grade, no technical skill required, yet I was barely able to maintain a 4.5 mph average. I had to stop twice to catch my breath. Ugh.
If I'm going to stop, might as well snap a pic.
It was demoralizing. Had I hit rock bottom fitness-wise? It sure felt that way. It was in that instant I vowed to get myself back to where I wanted to be. I have no desire to be a fast rider, rather a strong rider. My mind still thought I could do any route whenever I felt the urge, not so. Some things needed to change. For starters, staying healthy, 2018 has been a bit of a challenge due to a sinus infection, skin rash, Achilles tendonitis and a blood clot. Another item needing attention was our diet, namely cutting out unnecessary sugar. Some other factors attributed as well, I had put on 10-15lbs over the past year, while nursing my health I kept the riding minimal as the months passed. It all added up. I have big plans in 2019 and the Tally Tango 160 was only a few weeks away, I have to do something different. I drug myself back to the car where the fellas were waiting. I was so glad to be finished. This 20 mile ride felt like 60. (For reference, my average mountain bike ride the past three or so years has been around 40 miles, I don't own a road bike) I have some work to do and I'm up for the challenge.

Chuck suggested grabbing a brew and a quick bite down the road. The three of us sat at the bar at Mark's Beergarden in Prescott, cool little place with good eats. I told the guys to remember this ride when I cap off the Tour Divide in Antelope Wells next July. It will be a stark contrast in fitness and reminder of the work put in to attain it. I have a long way to go, let's get after it!!
Hmmm, that would've helped.

Old Man Mingus doesn't look so bad from this side.


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