Today was the Psycowpath race at Ponca State Park. I decided it wasn't worth the money and time to drive up solo for just an hour of racing because ultimately these XC races are just a secondary goal for this year.
With my real goals in mind, I set out this morning for a long ride with no plan other than to ride to Branched Oak State Recreation Area and check out the condition of the trails. It was an absolute bluebird day with no wind. The ride out was great, except I was chased by 3 dogs, one of which was a very large rottweiler. To this point, I had never been chased by a dog on a gravel road, so I really wasn't sure what to do (any tips?). I was able to ride away from them, but I'll admit I was pretty scared by 2 of the 3 dogs.
I got to the Area 1 campground at the lake about and hour and a half into my day and rode straight to the trailhead. The trails were just about perfect from a moisture standpoint, but they were way overgrown. I decided I didn't really want to be sweaty, itchy AND full of ticks so I turned around and headed back to the campground. I contemplated heading home at this point but I wanted to get some more miles in and I was feeling really good so I decided to keep going. I had already determined that I was going to head home on a different route to avoid the crazy dogs so I needed to come up with a new plan. I refilled my water bottles and headed out to do a lap of the lake.
I am usually meticulous in my route planning so heading out blind was a bit of an adventure. I chose several roads that didn't go through the way I wanted them to, but I ended up at home just the same. Right at 4 hours total time on the bike and a new personal record for distance ridden on my mountain bike at 50 miles (close enough for me). My nutrition and fluid intake was pretty good and my legs felt strong all the way to the end. Heres the map:
I've found that I really enjoy these longer rides in the country, but I am ready to get some singletrack riding/racing again. Next race on the schedule is the Cornhusker State Games, July 20th at Branched Oak; should be fun and hot. I think the early registration deadline is Monday. I need to remember to sign up.
I also found out today that I am officially off the waiting list and onto the roster for Laramie. Its time to get serious about training. I'm glad I banked this half-hundie today instead of driving to Ponca.