Singletrack and Hailstorms: TBD Shredfest 2017
Over the years we been fortunate to enjoy a great number of days on the trails of Eastern Long Island. On one of these getaways we went so far to coin the term “shredfest” to describe these weekends of singletrack fun with a rotating cast of friends and teammates. Thus the #TBDshredfest hashtag was born.
There are some standout memories derived from these adventures - a several mile run to the trailhead with Barb Blakley after she sheared off her derailleur a few years back and a more recent January morning spent on particularly challenging snow covered trails come to mind. Only time will tell what memories from this past weekend’s shredfest prove most resilient but my guess is that it will either be (a) getting stuck in a brutal thunderstorm complete with hail or (b) Torpey launching himself into a creek at the end of Saturday’s ride.
But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself in recapping the spills and laughs after we made the collective decision to skip a weekend at the racetrack and spend it in the woods instead.
HOW BAD CAN THE FORECAST REALLY BE?
After a relaxing Friday night by the fire we woke Saturday morning to a less than ideal forecast that called for scattered afternoon showers. But there was never really any doubt about riding: “the shredfest must go on” or something like that. In fact as we rolled the mile or so from our front door to the trailhead the temperatures were pleasant and the sun was poking through the overcast sky.
Despite some navigational errors on my part with a big crew there was plenty of willingness to inject pace into the first hour of the ride. Most of it came from Colin Tanner who was partaking in his inaugural shredfest but was happy to (a) make life unpleasant for the rest of us and (b) entertain us with various tricks whenever we paused to regroup.
That Thunder was Really Close. Wait, Is that hail?
When we stopped for a quick mechanical we were surprised to see flash flood warning alerts on our phones. And right on cue it started to rain so we optimistically sought shelter under the tree cover with the expectation that it would be a brief shower. Boy were we wrong.
The rain picked up until it was a torrential downpour, transforming the downhill section of trail we just completed into a stream. Soon thunder was booming nearby. The icing on the shredfest cake was the hail that started to pelt us.
Before long my skinnier compatriots were discussing hypothermia (thankfully no such concerns for this #overweightcrittroll). Ultimately we decided that huddling under a tree wasn’t the best way to stay warm (or avoid getting struck by lightning) so we hit the pavement aiming for the fastest route home.
“Ahhhh This Sucks”
However just a few rain soaked miles later the rain miraculously ceased and the sun even poked back through the clouds. Since the sandy soil on the trails dries incredibly quickly we went back into “the shredfest must go on” mode and dove back onto the singletrack. Our only stop was for a particularly difficult off-shoot from the trail where Colin showed us the “Shredfest Done Right” while Torpey showed us... the opposite.
Thankfully no Torpeys were injured in the making of this film and it was only a mile or so from this tumble back to our house. We rolled home safe but covered in dirt with our bikes desperately in need of a bath.
Round 2 Delivers The Sunshine
With a baby shower, apple picking and a renaissance fair all conspiring to complicate schedules for our various shredfest participants we were all business on Sunday. Despite being under tree cover for most of Saturday’s storm my nearly new Wahoo Bolt couldn’t handle a the rain and is now a paperweight so I have no real sense of how much distance we covered on Sunday. But it felt like perhaps the fastest day we have ever spent on the trails. By the end of it my triceps, quads and calves were all cramping to various degrees but with three hours under brilliant blue skies it was a pretty ideal conclusion to this most recent edition of the #TBDshredfest.
Now the only thing left to do is to survive the post-weekend hangover. Thankfully we have plenty of upcoming CX races to keep us busy including one of our absolute favorites: Gloucester.