While many team members were racing in pennsylvania, some of Rutgers' mountain bikers took to the trails at Kittatiny State Park, where our first knobby-tired race of the season will take place in two weeks. Our group included Charlie, Jay, Alessandro, Alicia, myself, and Keith, a member of team Bulldog who showed us the course for our first lap.
First of all, many thanks to Keith for the tour, without which we would certainly have been lost (the map was worthless, trust me). More importantly, Keith's impression of Alessandro was certainly the best i've ever heard. Keith sounded more like Alessandro than Alessandro does. Therefore, Keith is now an unofficial member of the Rutgers Cycling Team, and is extended all the privileges thereof - namely, permission to make fun of such topics as Blake's daily cake consumption and Mark's angry face.
After two laps of reconnoitering, the group split into two subgroups, Team Alpha and Team Bravo. Alicia and Alessandro (on Team Alpha, because Alicia was recently in Greece and their names both start with A... don't question it) kept putting in the base miles, while Charlie, Jay, and I tried to get in some intensity. Team Bravo split midway through the third lap into Teams Bravo and Charlie, such that Charlie and Jay (guess which Team they were on) got in two additional laps, while I got to walk back to the car. More on that later.
When asked to comment on the ride, Charlie seemed pretty pleased with the course, especially for an enduro race. Between his 29" wheels and his insane handling skillz, Charlie was surprised to find out that there were rocky sections on the course. Witnesses report that he exclaimed, "There were rocks on the course? I am surprised to find this out!" Charlie then speculated that if there were rocks of which he was unaware, then there might also be ruts and ruts. That may seem like a lot of ruts, but if it does, then you've never gone mountain biking with Charlie, and you should fix that pronto.
Jay, fresh from a campaign in the collegiate road world, seemed very pleased to be back on the single track. Road riding seems to have improved his offroad fitness, though, as his cadence has increased from 65 to a lightning-fast 72. Bystanders were a little creeped out, though, as Jay spent most of the ride laughing maniacally and shouting, "take that, roadies!" at the rest of us.
Alessandro was putting out a lot of power, as he is wont to do. However, it was clear that he would rather have been on the road, riding his P3C. Okay, it wasn't actually clear, but since I would rather have been riding his P3C, I assume that he would too.
Alicia was tearing it up, proving that weeks of knives-in-the-lungs sickness don't necessarily preclude a killer 3-hour MTB workout. It should be noted that both Alessandro and Alicia had multiple gears on their bikes. I know, I know, I don't get it either, but we have to be tolerant of all sorts of people.
Then there was me. I don't really feel like talking about my ride. Suffice it to say that my tensioner died, resulting in horrendous "POP" sounds every pedal stroke. Also, I lost a chainring bolt, which I think is related to the skipping chain. Also, my chainring bent, which I'm quite sure is related to the chainring bolt (Charlie claims that it is probably related to my "incredible power output", but I think he was being sarcastic, because I'm tiny). To demonstrate:
This left me stranded about a mile from the car, which would've been no problem except that I got lost. I don't just mean lost, I mean it's cold, the sun's going down, I'm not wearing enough clothing, and I think I hear "Dueling Banjos".
Fortunately, I was able to make my way back to the parking lot, where we all regrouped. Team Alpha went to meet friends for dinner, while Team Bravo went to Porky's for refueling. Their BBQ sauce is unmatched. Endurox is certainly the best recovery drink I've ever had, but it is well complemented by greasy hamburgers and Bass Ale. Now you know.
Finally, I must make a clarification: It's not Angry Mark. Mark is almost never Angry. However, he does have a delightful Angry Face. Thus, he is Angry-face Mark. This public service announcement was brought to you by the letter E, the number 4, and viewers like you.
P.S. I hope you weren't expecting this to rhyme. That ship has sailed... at least for now