December 27, 2007
The racing for us really ended in September with both Eddie and I taking the solo wins at the 12 hours of Dauset, a Gone Riding event in Jackson, Georgia. After that, we spent October chillin' with friends, going to beer festivals, riding for short instead of long hours, and getting some work done. October really picked up with business for Eddie, and with school for me. The month ended with a fantastic mountain bike trip at R-Ranch in the Mountains of Dahlonega, Georgia.
Eddie rented a cabin to celebrate my 31st birthday and our one-year anniversary. We got married in Dahlonega in October 2006, so it was a great place to go celebrate! R-Ranch is known to be a landmark on the Six-Gap-Century route, and has a lot of acerage with cabins, camping, and trails. The trails are all on private land, so you must be a resident to ride...and these really are some of the best trails we've ridden in Georgia! It had everything...doubletrack, tight singletrack, steep ups and downs, swooping trails, rocks, and tons of roots. Our cabin was on a private lake, so the dogs had a blast, too. We didn't bring the road bikes this time, but there is miles and miles of gorgeous road riding right out of the place.
In November, we started our strength training plan, i.e. gettin' huge in the gym. The plan is an accumulation of advice from racer friends and books. It started out with four days per week in the gym with very little riding. I haven't been in the gym since 2003, so this has been interesting. Normally we do our strength work on the bike during the winter and spring, but we thought we'd give this a try.
My goals are to push a taller gear on my singlespeed next year with the same effort; Eddie's goal is to rip legs off. But, it is a good experiment as Eddie needs to understand the pros and cons of strength training on the bike and in the gym versus just on the bike, for those racers he coaches, too. I present an interesting challenge to him as a coaching client because I only ride and race singlespeed off road. And, I don't like riding on the road very much.
We spent Thanksgiving with my family in Michigan, and took a side trip to see our Michigan friends Danielle Musto and Scott Chambers, and Mark and Roberta Hendershot in Grand Rapids. We made new friends, too, including Juli Van Abbema who accompanied Danielle and me to the tattoo parlor and also had a surprise visit from Mark Hekman at the Founders Brewery. Grand Rapids is cool. It breeds tough super-human cyclists that can party; how can you not love them?
Finally, I'm done with another semester of Graduate School and we're spending a few weeks in December getting our base miles in under the warm Florida sun. We're based out of Bradenton, Florida and taking short trips to the north and south while we're here. Surprisingly, Bradenton has a lot of really wide, clean bike lanes so we can ride safely (I hope).
The mountain biking is a bit of a hike from here, but that's ok. I love Florida mountain biking, but sometimes it's tough to find a place to ride for hours without circling around too much. There are a few trail systems that do have epic ride potential ( i.e. Croom and Santos) so we'll be hitting those up. This is the first trip we've made down here since the closing of the legendary Razorback trail in Reddick, Florida. It was our favorite place to ride in Florida and now that we're here and it isn't, we really miss it. We've competed in a lot of races there and it was the site of Eddie's first race, so it holds a lot of fond memories.
While we're in Florida, we're also using this time to do some planning for the 2008 edition of the Fool's Gold Mountain Bike Races & Festival to be held August 16 in Dahlonega, Georgia. This year's event will be bigger and better with more focus on the festival side, and our induction into the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series.
We're also finalizing our personal sponsorship for 2008 - some great news there. As most everyone probably knows, Eddie and I will both be racing the big wheels for Vassago Cycles next year. 55nine Performance, Ergon USA and LH Thomson have also stepped up as top level sponsors for us, so we are very excited about that.
Stay tuned for more!
Eddie and Namrita O'Dea