Kevin and I got two good mountain bike rides in over the weekend. Saturday we started out on the FOMBA single track in Allanstown, New Hampshire. These trails are challenging for me, with lots of rocks and roots, tight squeezes between trees, short steep technical climbs, and sharp curves and corners. With the addition of a sprinkling of rain to make all those rocks and roots slippery, I was barely creeping along. But I was happy that I was getting through the trails and was enjoying the challenge despite my slow progress. It was very humid with very little air movement on the single track, and I was going so slow I wasn't making much air movement with the bike. So after an hour of those trails, Kevin suggested a change of scenery and we road the fire roads and trails around the lake. This was fast, scenic, and fun riding! Kind of like road riding, without the traffic and pavement.
With a couple of miles to go, I watched Kevin just ahead of me fly down a rocky long downhill stretch. It looked like fun, so I threw caution to the wind and let go of the brakes. The rocks were rolling out from under my wheels, but my momentum was keeping me upright and heading in a straight line. Wheeeee, what fun! Until a big rock bounced up and tore off the pin that was holding my rear disc brake together. I stopped when I felt the clunk, knowing something was broken but not sure what. It's probably a good thing I stopped right then and there, because I probably wouldn't have had a brake left to stop with if I rode on. Kevin eventually came back for me and took what was left of the brake pad out. I rode back with only a front brake, but luckily there were no more long steep downhills. I definitely need to learn more about emergency repairs on my mountain bike. The kinds of things that go wrong on a mountain bike are very different than the things that go wrong on a road bike. Kevin fixed the brake for me that evening and it is as good as new (except for the fact that it is now held together with a bent nail instead of a share pin.)
Sunday we rode on nice single track in Fryberg. We met some riders from the White Mountain chapter of NEMBA on the trail. They were looking for some sort of a connector trail and offered to have us tag along, but we were happy just sticking to the immediate area. Apparently they never found the trail they were looking for, because they left before we did. We ended up finding a new (to us) trail that headed uphill across the street from the trails we knew about. We turned back before we found out where it went because we were out of water and being eaten alive by deer flies. My curiosity will have me back there before the end of the week to see where it goes.
Today will be a hot humid 3 or 4 mile run on the local trails and a leisurely mountain bike ride. I am on vacation from work this week, which is a good thing because I have to get ready for Vermont. Yes, the Vermont 100 is in less than a week. Yikes. I still have to work out the logistics like planning my pacing and eating, deciding what to wear and bring, and convincing myself that I can finish the darned thing. I tend to put this stuff off until the last minute. It just makes me worry.