Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Saddle Time

On Saturday I decided to string together my two previous day's rides and make a nice long one that would be between 60 and 70 miles. With the way that my right shoulder and arm have been feeling I thought that this would be plenty. I fell pretty hard on my should late last fall and noticed over the winter that it wasn't quite right. Once spring came along and I began riding my rigid 29er mountain bike more and more the pain and discomfort began to increase. Within the past several weeks it has gotten pretty uncomfortable especially after getting hammered on the single track. I even noticed a good deal of pain when grasping or lifting with my right arm.With that said I felt this would be a good ride and I did have some bail out options in the first twenty miles or so just in case the pain was bothering me to much and decided to wimp out. I was sure to carry plenty of nutrition and fluids as this would be a totally self supported ride. I wasn't planning on stopping at any stores along the way, of which there were only two. These were both in the Side Lake area.For hydration I carried 70 oz. of water in a hydration bladder with a couple of NUUN tablets. Along with the bladder I carried two 24 oz. insulated water bottles. One with water which I carried on the bike and one with 12 oz. of Coca~Cola for the last 15 miles or so. I thought that the extra boost would be appreciated by that point in time. I also carried a variety of GU energy gels, some Honey Stinger organic energy chews. The Pomegranate Passion and Fruit Smoothie are my favorite flavors. There was also a Cliff Bar and a Salted Nut Roll in the mix. On the handlebars of my bike I have my Mountain Feedbag attached and placed much of my nutrition and my camera in this.
Most of the ride was on fairly well maintained forest roads that wind their way through the southwest portion of Superior National Forest north of Chisholm. Part of the ride went through the Sturgeon Lake chain which includes McCarthy Beach State Park.
About a third of the way into the ride I stopped at Beatrice Lake campgrounds to top off one of my water bottles and hydration bladder. It didn't take long for the temperature and dew points to rise and cautioned on the safe side as far as water goes. I knew that I had plenty to get me through to the end.
My favorite part of the ride was along this stretch of what is called "The Old Snake Trail." The terrain was a mix of rocks, sand, and rolling hills. The forest in this area is absolutely beautiful. This stretch also makes up a portion of the Tim Cory snowmobile trail and is a great place to ride the Pugsley in the winter. It's also isolated which makes it even better. Not many people get back here on what you would call a regular basis.This photo is looking north up the Old Snake Trail road. There is a snowmobile trail that one can pick up in the winter and it will take you all the way to Hwy. 1 and beyond. Beautiful country!!
Just past the forty mile mark it was time to give my butt and right shoulder a bit of a rest as both were becoming rather painful and uncomfortable. I think I have one of those bottoms that just gets sensitive no matter what kind of saddle I have. After about 50 miles or so there is no comfortable position for me on a saddle. Even with copious amounts of Butt Butter.

My other favorite section was this short section at the far eastern end of the Link Lake Forest Road that runs back into the McCarthy Beach State Park. The pine trees here are absolutely breathtaking.
It was like riding through nature's cathedral.
The last intersection and the final stretch of road back to my starting point. Despite being uncomfortable in the saddle and dealing with some pretty serious pain in my right shoulder which was now radiating down my right arm, my legs felt phenomenally good and I still felt that
they had a lot more miles left in them. Too bad everything from my butt on up to my head was sore. I think in may be time for a suspension fork and maybe some mountain drop bars. At least the drop bars would have allowed me more hand position options. I'm also wondering if a Salsa Fargo with is designed for rides just like this would make much of a difference. I sure would like to try one out at some point in time.
At the end of the road some refreshments waited. I cleaned up a bit and then drove back to the Side Lake area for a wonderful vegetarian pizza at Bimbo's Octagon. Still a favorite of the locals. They have some of the best pizzas and wings in the area. I ended the day with 63 miles and it turned out to be a wonderful day for a little saddle time.

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