After a white knuckled drive, we got home from St. Joe riding area late last night. There was a fierce side wind the whole drive. A wind that had whoever was driving, fatigued in an hour or so from fighting the wheel. Our race van is, after all, a big white box just waiting for the wind to push it around. When we finally got into Wisconsin, that wind turned into blowing and drifting snow across the road. It also made the entire driving surface glare ice. Fun!
People from Illinois, just don’t get it. When the conditions turn into that, it is just best to slow it down. Arrive vs. not arrive is always my theory. Of course there was some car with Illinois plates in the ditch every mile or so along the highway, being attended to by a tow truck and a police car (those guys probably had a really long night). And they wonder why they get the nickname that they have (Illinois drivers, not the tow truck drivers and police.)
St. Joe is about 50 miles from St. Louis. It is part of a huge park, called amazingly St. Joe state park, that greats you with a sign saying you are always welcome. There are campgrounds, mountain bike trails, equestrian areas and about 2000 acres of offroad riding area. The park is all reclaimed land from some sort of huge mine. About 800 acres of that is sand. Probably sand that was pulled from the mines and is laced with lead or something like that. The rest of it is really hilly, rocky and black dirt. Killer. On the morning of day 2, we rode the entire perimeter of the property and that took about 1 hour. Wow.
On Saturday afternoon, there were at least 100 cars in the parking lot of the ORV area. But, in spite of that we did not see many bikes or quads out on the trail. The place is that huge. Probably another reason we did not see many people in the woods, is that all the quads and half the bikes just stayed out in the sand area and did high speed runs and donuts. Goofy.
We ended up making our own really cool 6 minute or so loop. Mostly singletrack, but with a couple of fast sections as well. A super technical hill and some great big downhills. A lot like a GNCC course, only shorter. Big hills are one of the things that most GNCC races seem to have in common, but something that we struggle to find here in Wisconsin.
So when it was all said and done, Scott and I rode for 6.5 hours over the 2 days. I am really excited! I rode 6.5 hours in tough offroad conditions just 4 months and 1 week after my knee surgery. Today my knee is stiff and swollen from 2 days of abuse, but it is going to be ok. I had to get used to putting it on the ground, i fell on it a couple of times, I had to lift my bike up with it a couple of times etc… In the end, it still has a ways to go on strength, but it functions.
I will not be fast in Florida, but I will be able to ride and will not DNF.