I skipped the Stoopid 50 today. It was partly a "tactical" decision and partly a "common friggin' sense" decision. The "tactical" element -- I'd love to get a chance to ride those trails, but after the way I felt after Iron Hill last week and the continued problem (issue? weakness? ) I've been having with my left knee, I could see where 50 miles in those conditions would have torn me a new one right now. And it's time to start focusing on my main event of the year (Shenandoah) because I'm absolutely certain I want to do that on my SS and I'd really like to beat my time from last year on my gear bike as well. It's going to take a lot to get me to the point where I believe I can do it, so getting ready for that is my focus pretty much for the rest of the summer. The "common friggin' sense" element -- it's a 4+ hour drive out there and with gas at almost $4 a gallon, I had a real tough time justifying the trip given my uncertainty if I could even finish right now. Add to that the weather of the past day or so and it wasn't that hard to skip it. In fact, at least on some level, I almost always regret races I skip. But not today. I'm actually completely cool with not going out there.
Part of that may be due to the ride I did do instead. I met up with Doc Hall at 7 a.m. today down at Wissahickon for an early morning loop. There was a pretty steady mist all morning and it rained pretty hard last night, but the trails had been super dry all week -- dusty, even -- so I wasn't too concerned about the conditions. I was right -- it was a little muddy in some parts, but overall it was near perfect.
The only problems were the wooden bridges (there are about four or so) and a few roots that were really slick. In fact, I crashed early and landed in a pile of poison ivy. I'm hyper-sensitive to it at this point, so I had to bail at the next trailhead and wash my arms and legs in Tech-Nu before continuing the ride. That was the only hiccup, though -- the rest of the loop went really smoothly. I was feeling pretty good, so when we finished the 16 mile loop and Doc took off, I decided to got back out for a few more miles, thinking maybe I'd shoot for 30.
And that's what I did. I finished just over 30 miles in a little more than 4 hours total (actual, not ride time.) It was really cool to be done with 30 miles well before noon! But what was even cooler was that I felt great all day. I won't pretend my left quad is free and clear of whatever was going on with it, but having it feel good for 30 miles on the SS at Wissahickon is encouraging.
I had a great ride, and I doubt I could have said the same if I had gone out to State College today.