Sweet Jesus. There is no way I'm going to be able to adequately put into words how awesome this event is. If you ride a bike in New England (or beyond) and you somehow come up with some reason to not attend you are probably a bit mental. Sure there are some legit excuses but all attempts should be made to experience the awesome of a full weekend of killer everything bike related.
My weekend went about as well as I could have hoped for. I had some reservations as to how my body was going to hold up. This was my first time back on dirt in weeks and I was going to be testing out all of my bike modifications for the first time. All of which it turns out were good decisions for me, at least for right now.
Cockpit changes are definitely a lot more comfortable and the gears allow me to sit and grind heading up so I don't have to rip the front end back and forth. I was certain I was going to ride a geared bike all wrong but surprisingly I remembered to actually use the gears in most cases and even remembered to shift before the drivetrain was under a lot of load. Hard to say if I was truly any faster over all. I wasn't exactly hammering and I was certainly climbing certain sections slower but I can tell you without doubt I was riding similarly fast MUCH more efficiently. Riding gears is so easy. I kept waiting to get really tired and it never really happened. All told I got 50+ miles on dirt this weekend.
It felt really good to be riding a bit like myself again. I still get some pain when the speeds get high and the terrain gets a bit chattery or chunky but for the most part I was riding about how I would have. I was even accused by Mick of faking this entire time.
I was still waking up with quite a bit of stiffness and soreness but some painkillers and stretching got me back on terms by mid morning to the point that I felt ok to ride again with help from my braces. Didn't really seem to get any worse day to day so there was no real cumulative effect. So I guess the order is keep working at the PT and feel free to mix dirt back into the mix.
The only thing I'm worried about is that now that I'm close enough to "full health" I'll just go back in full bore and I'll never make it past this point so I'll need to be careful / smart. I'm already itching to do bigger rides on the MTB now and I was even starting to think about Carrabassett being a reality for me. I'm going to try and be good though and go at this in a very calculated way.
Weekend didn't go ALL good though. The biggest tragedy was snapping the rail on my beloved SDG Bel-Air that I have been riding probably for at least the last 10 years. It finally gave up on my night ride Friday but like a true gladiator it somehow remained solid even with one completely sheared rail and got me home just fine. Luckily I was able to get a saddle at the expo the next day. My best option was a WTB Silverado Slimline that I actually kinda like now after riding it 30+miles Saturday and Sunday. If you are going to break something do it at a giant festival, you'll be covered no problem.
I was also really pleased with the team presence at the event. It really seems like at least a subset of the team is really 'gel'ing' well. I have high hopes for the future.