Three years ago, I started mountain biking to improve my gravel grinding skills. The guys I was riding with often took our gravel rides down what were once roads, but which now consisted of a hilly single track through the woods. All I saw on those sections were the baby heads that often comprised the riding surface. I would hit them all. Or I’d spin out the back wheel climbing because my weight was too far forward trying to keep the front wheel down. On these sections, I walked the bike more than rode it.
Ferry Bridge Road is a great example. The first time a ride went up it, my thought was something like, “No fucking way.” And of course there was no fucking way.
Wednesday night, Joe and I rode Ferry Bridge. I put it on the route. It had been a year or so since I rode it, and I rode it pretty well then. Wednesday, it was even better. Sure, the climb was a bit of a lung burner, but I didn’t torque out the back wheel because of the climbing advice Jeff gave me, which is to lower my chest to the bars rather than lean out over the wheel. The rocks were still there, but I saw lines between them and not the rocks. The only section I didn’t clean was an easy bit just past the penultimate techie section (excluding the final 15 feet, which has become nothing more than a stupidly steep and rocky drainage off a cul de sac which only magicians like Jeff and Jay can ride) .
When that penultimate techie section hove into view, my brain flashed back to its no-fucking-way mode. But I overcame that, hitting the short, rocky climb fast and with confidence, and I went right up it. But I’d so focused on that little bump up that I gave no thought to what to do afterwards. As soon as both wheels were on the easier ground beyond it, I stopped pedaling.
Still, although Joe thoroughly kicked my ass on the rest of the ride, Ferry Bridge left me feeling very good.