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Wilder/Pogonip - November 23, 2008

Distance: 19.8 miles Ascent: 2,738 ft. Moving time: 2:56 hours

Don, Anna and I had a great ride today (Ken was on vacation and missed out). It was a sunny but cool fall day and perfect for riding. We did our normal ascent up to the top of the hill at the edge of campus and then rode along the ridge. We had a lot of fun exploring some new trails that we found. It seems like the students have been out recently because we came across the remains of a beer party and a "wish tree" in the middle of the forest. Both were kind of a mess. The beer party had lots of empty cans scattered on the ground even through they had hauled two large wheeled garbage cans up to the spot. Maybe they were full. The wish tree had "wishes" written on pieces of paper and then stuck on the branches and trunk of the tree. We cleaned this stuff up and carted it out. Maybe this means their wishes won't come true.

After our bit of exploration, we rode out to the playground and then over to Wilder where we rode in a large loop before heading back over to campus. We rode singletrack back to the cars.

Other than the party remains, this sounds like a typical ride here. So what made it the "great ride" we all agreed it was? There was no clear factor that stood out. I think it was a combination of newness, energy and flow. I already mentioned riding new trails. It is always fun to explore new trails and it is even more fun to do it in a place you have ridden many times before. It keeps things fresh. On the energy factor, it seemed like we all rode strong today. It seemed like we kept a good pace (and I didn't burn out by riding too fast at the start), but looking at the numbers shows that we were riding much faster today than we usually do. All of us rode in the front and held a pretty good pace and the others were pretty close behind.

I think the biggest factor in making this a "great ride" was flow. It seemed like we all had one of those days where the riding was both effortless and fun. Swooping from curve to curve, up and over the obstacles, holding speed up the small steep inclines, building speed when the trail was clear and good breaking into the tight turns allowing us to come out of them fast, and nearly perfect trail and weather conditions all contributed to great flow. I personally am feeling much stronger now that I am riding more, and I think this has a big effect on both speed and flow for me. Not feeling drained means I have energy to apply to more aggressively riding these sections.

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