I got a massage on Friday and pretty much did nothing more until Saturday afternoon when I helped set up signs around the Lake Crabtree trails for the Bushwhack Mountain Bike challenge that was on track for Sunday (basically you race a loop around Crabtree, then 18 miles of Umstead hills, then another loop around Crabtree, there are a few crazy people around here who will pay $25 to do this in order to see how fast (or slow) they are compared to other bikers). I wasn't interested in doing the race but was happy to volunteer and help them set up.  Of course, I wasn't expecting the temperatures to be in the 30s, but I manned up and put on 4 layers (base layer, Under Armour Coldgear Long Sleeve Crew, a jacket and a windbreaker) and stayed toasty.  With the Bushwhack crew, we did a very casual ride around Crabtree, stopping every so often to put up Turn/Straight Arrow sign for the race loop.  After we finished, I met up with a friend to do a lap of 286.  My legs were feeling it on the 286 trails, I felt like they were either sore or just weak because it seemed like every uphill was a challenge.  We ended up cutting the ride a little short because the sun set and we had no lights but I think overall I got about 17-18 miles on Saturday.

Sunday was even more fun because I finally did the harder trail across the street- Rocky Road, first time in 2013!  The weather was a little warmer than Saturday but still cold and in the 40s.  However, one hill into Rocky Road and I was hot.  Rocky Road only required 2 layers to stay warm and the ride was challenging and fun.  I am not sure if I just recovered from Saturday or if the mountain bike strength training program is working but I was able to climb better than I ever had on this trail.  Normally, the first two miles kick my ass, but today, it only kicked half my ass.   The best part of the ride was introducing someone new to Rocky Road (her impressions were the same as mine over 2 years ago: this is hard, this is scary, I'm ready to quit after 2 miles).  The second best part was getting to ride with Trina since we have talked about doing a girls ride of Rocky Road for over a year now and finally did it!  Our new friend did end up quitting the ride after 3 miles but I don't blame her, Rocky Road eats up virgins for lunch and requires a level of commitment that only comes with time, a little blood, some patience and hard work.  Oh yeah, there was one other great thing that happened on this ride, I was climbing a particularly tough hill and had an audience of 7 guys watching me from the top of the hill and I made it up the hill without dabbing and was rewarded with a few congratulations and signs of being impressed.  And normally I do not make it up this hill so I think the training is helping!  There is nothing better than clearing something in front of a bunch of guys knowing they respect you a little more now.   This is the third time this has happened to me, the first was when I cleared "the rooty hill" in Crabtree in front of bunch of guys on a Wednesday group ride (none who had cleared the rooty hill) and the second was on 286 when I cleared a little log hereafter known as "Swin's log" and again got impressed looks from several guys who saw me clear it.  Sometimes mountain biking is a huge ego boost, today was one of those days.

The least rocky section of Rocky Road but there is a steep climb coming up for my two friends!

I also decided to invest in a medicine ball for those times when I need to work out at home, however, medicine balls are not cheap (especially at 20 lbs) so I went to my friend Internet and found out how to make a wall ball for about $8 (tire patch kit and ice melt) and used an old basketball I've been toting around for the last 6 years.  I couldn't get to 20 lbs but did manage to make an 18 lb ball which should still work pretty good for weighted situps, throws and perhaps even slamball (going to see if this explodes the ball or not at some point). My first DIY sports equipment project  is a success!
An old water bottle turned out to be a great funnel and now I have my own medicine ball!


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