A very tough/bumpy 130kms on the #NLTRailway today. A bit hard on the old joints. We loaded up the truck and left bright and early for a start near Brigus Junction.
I had decided to load up the bike a bit for some training for a longer bikepacking excursion. I thought I'd try the Camelbak to avoid the issue I have with finding places to put my water bottles on my tiny frame (worse on the full-suspension because there is even less frame space). But the Camelbak became an irritant from about 40km into the ride, and my back started to tighten up almost immediately even though I tried to coach myself to breath, relax, sit up, stand up, and change my hand positions frequently.
The problem with the T'Railway is it is very rocky with all different kinds of lose gravel, some very large moving rocks, and large frequent ruts created by the ATVs that also share the trail. I don't know if it's a matter of training, or if I will never get to a place where I can ride long distances on this stuff and come out the other side without feeling like I want to cry. But I didn't cry! Well, maybe on the inside. But I am committed to not griping, and John rode a ways ahead of me the entire ride anyhow, so I had noone to complain to ;)
We didn't get quite as far as we had intended because I was really off the pace, and just needed food. We had planned on a lunch on a farther bit of the route, but weren't 100% sure it would be open or even be serving food, so I just couldn't chance it.
John and I seem to have very different needs on longer rides, and I was already suffering the effects of not eating or drinking properly. I don't know why I haven't learned this lesson yet, but for some reason I feel have been treating these trail rides like road rides, which is the wrong way to think about it. The constant pummelling from the bumpy trail just takes something a bit extra from me. Anyhow, I was never so happy to find chips and gravy!
It was fairly late by the time we got back to the truck. We got everything packed up quickly, and the cats were glad to see us by the time we got home! It was a tough day. Not the toughest, but pretty hard.