Well I can't say it went off without a hitch but it was pretty close. We did have one rider fall off the pace a bit and we didn't manage regroups well enough early and he ended up calling it a day within the first few miles. I feel bad about it and I learned some lessons in how to try and manage that better, I guess that's all you can hope for.
I'm very excited about this year though. We've got a good group of people that all look pretty motivated and ready to go. I've even finally got two riders who are committed to riding/racing a bunch of Enduro this year and are willing to help me lay the groundwork for a full Enduro team as part of the program next year.
Meet and Greet was part of the agenda and the other part for me was additional testing of body and gear under trail riding conditions. Believe it or not this was my first time back on dirt and I had no idea how wrists would behave under actual off road riding conditions. My EVS WB01 wrists braces and my new X-Fusion Slide29 fork were getting their first go-round of paceline decently paced riding. Make or break time.
I've already had a pretty good idea that the braces were going to work pretty well based on my initial commuting and road experiments. And they are geared more towards an MTB riding hand position so I was fairly certain they were going to work great as far as support. What I wasn't sure about was comfort deeper into a longer/bumpier ride. Happy to report I didn't have any issues with hotspots or circulation getting cut off. They stayed put and support on the axis they were designed for was great.
One thing I did notice was I'm still a bit vulnerable side to side with those little wiggle moves you have to do sometimes in fast twisty stuff. I had a bit of pain and weakness at times that bumped me from my line or had me adjusting speed to make sure I didn't lose control. Not sure there is going to be much I can do about that, just one of the concessions I'm going to need to make. Good thing is tight and twisty is one of my fortes so even at 3/4 I'm just as fast/good as a lot of other riders. And interestingly enough about 6-7mi into the ride things started to loosen up a bit (probably just due to adrenaline and endorphins) and that pain/weakness went away and I was shredding at just about full speed without issue.
Going along hand in hand with my ability to shred is my new fork. WHICH I LOVE. In all aspects. I was probably most surprised with the steering accuracy. Absolutely no issues holding true lines. The action was incredibly smooth, forgot it was there for a majority of the ride. Their suggested 70psi seems to be ideal for my weight and with the rebound set at about halfway I couldn't be happier with its trail qualities. The lockout behaved great, although I didn't need it much. Pretty amazed I could get a fork this good for just north of $300.
So long story short my body and gear held up surprisingly well and I would say 6-7mi into the ride I was riding just as fast as a 'pre all these issues' me would have been riding this time of year. Lots of enjoyment was had. BUT...
I woke up this morning to some pretty thrashed wrists. I think I could have avoided this a bit with a better more aggressive post ride ice routine instead I went straight to beer and burgers. I'm going to have to experiment with just how far and diligent I need to be about that but I think I'm going to have to do what it takes to always have access to copious amounts of ice post ride no matter what. I need to develop a full post ride anti-inflammation attack plan and implement it with extreme prejudice.