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W orking throu g h those m eadow s took forever. T here w as one last big nasty m u ddy clim b, m ore m eadow hopping , before thing s im proved. Several hou rs later I ran into M arshalB ird ou t on his birthday ride. H e seem ed u nfazed by the w eather and fu lly prepared. In fact I w as doing a lot of w alking w here it looked like he w as riding m u d. H e’s g ot m u ck su per pow ers! M arshal and I rode tog ether a little and shared a few tales. T hen he says “w ell looks like no records this year eh?” T hat w as a big blow . It w as on m y m ind,bu t I w asn’t w illing to face that. T he m u ck event took a lot ou t of m e,I can’t lie,and this w as a low point of the ride. Shortly thereafter,I cou ldn’t fig u re ou t a tu rn and lost another 15 m inu tes - G PS track and all. Som e tim e later rolling throu g h the Paradox valley I w as becom ing aw are of som e voice inside that w as telling m e not to be discou rag ed, som e u nderlying optim ism that a g ood ride w as still to be had. T he phone at the B edrock store w as ou t of service - another big blow (hey I ain’t sing le these days!) - bu t that ju st served as a lau nch pad to attack this rou te w ith everything . I w as starting to feela little crazy and w anting to g et jig g y w ith it.So,I u nleashed m y secret w eapon: Java Ju ice and M & M s. Stoveless this tim e, the caffeine fix cam e from these little packets of heaven.B etter than G U hands dow n! C hasing copiou s am ou nts ofM & M s,w ellthat w as the kick the tu rbo needed. B edrock to Pinto M esa took allof 6 hou rs,the hardest section of the Paradox,in the w itching hou rs.It w as su ch a blast. L ot’s of hike a bike,at tim es ru n a bike that Java Ju ice is strong stu ff and at tim es I had to consciou sly pu llin the reig ns. 3:40 A M ju st below Pinto it w as tim e for a cou ple hou rs shu teye, the first thu s far.I’d been pu shing for abou t 22 hou rs at this point. T hat m eant G lencoe B ench for the su nrise! A g org eou s spot,su rely m ade allthe better by sleep deprivation and exhau stion. You can barely m ake ou t the L a Sals in this pic.Yep,this rou te covers som e g rou nd.(see top left photo). U p,u p,u p.H ou ser road w as pretty tou g h above 9k on the sing le speed and I did a fair bit of hoofing .Yet,the Topfu sion com parison stillsays faster than ‘07.I’m tossing allm y g ears aw ay,they don’t do any g ood anyw ay! T he prize for the last 60 m iles of clim bing ? N early u nrideable sing le track dow ned trees,snow cover - the u pper Tab is sim ply not ready. I had tw ing es of g u ilt riding as it w as rideable bu t m u ddy, know ing w e w ere not doing the trail any g ood. XXC SEASON ONE: ISSUE THREE

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XXC #3  

XXC is dedicated to the sport of endurance mountain biking.

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