Wesley Duff

So we all get ride reports from the demi-gods but here is one from a normal man.

First time EBer. Meet up at Walnut at 5am to get signed in and enjoy the foggy morning with my ride partner Dennis Lanning.

We took off a little after 6:30am and had a great ride down to the Green Belt. Like everyone was saying, it was amazing to see so many mountain bikers enjoying the ride in a mass group to the first mountain bike trail. Cars were stopping and letting us roll through the street lights and people cheered us onward as we progressed to Zilker Park.
I was near the middle of the pack strait into the Green Belt. Not too much stopping but it happened when the people in front could not maneuver a technical section but did not happen that much. I made sure to keep a good distance between me and the rider in front. I was enjoying the moment and not paying attention to the flat non-technical part of the trail until I hit a lose rock and did my first endo and into the dirt. Funny how you fall on the super easy stuff, then rock the technical stuff. Checked myself and no harm done and just some broken pride. Push on and we ran into a few different people as we made our way through the Green Belt. Sweet 16 – Pump House went by very quickly then the ride up Mulch Hill was exciting because of the adrenaline. Up and around Jedi and down Poll Road then the Hill of Life was the first good beating, but was nice to see friendly faces at the top.

The ride from the Green Belt to City Park was a nice relaxing ride till we hit Court Yard. As we were riding up City Park Road we saw some of the fast riders coming down and they looked pretty excited. I was happy for them but was keeping my mind on the water station at the fire house. We filled up our camel backs and continued onto City Park. We rode strait into the parking lot and into the trail without a break. This was good because I had some good energy going. The first half of the trail went by smoothly but then I started feeling the fatigue set in. I was not paying attention to my technique and went over the handle bars on an attempt to ledge up. No harm done and back on the bike and a strong finish to the first table in the parking lot where some friends were waiting to see how we were doing. If this was not the Enchilada Buffet I would have went home here. We hung out there for about 20 minutes to gather our energy back then headed down and towards Jester.

It was exciting to see Jester because I knew after Jester was a nice easy road ride to St. Eds. We took it easy on Jester and rode part and walked part. The spray painted faces were amusing and kept your mind off how long and steep Jester really is.
The road portion to St. Eds was relaxing and we took our time to recover some energy. When we turned left on Spicewood Springs we started to get rained on. The cool air and the rain were very nice and made for some great scenery towards the next trail head. We followed the markings for the trail head entrance and it was a super muddy mess. We rode up the St. Eds climb to the first set of larger ledges and found out the trial has turned into a small waterfall. We took a snack break while Andrea, Martin and Melinda rode by. We chatted for a few then started the uphill climb ourselves. We both felt a little better at this point and made our way to the top. We took a very slow decent down and around the cliff side of the trial while walking a few sections for safety. We were both sliding around and could not get traction on the rocks at all. We managed to make it all the way through and started towards Yaupon. At the top of Yaupon a generous neighbor allowed us to use his hose to spray the ten pounds of mud off of our bikes. The mud really took a toll on how well our bikes shifted and the usability of its components. Luckily we got them working half way decent before we entered Thumper.

We arrived at Thumper around 4:00pm and took a little break before we descended down into the most dreaded trail of the ride. I was pretty worn out at this point and was really envious of the riders coming out of Thumper. They looked like they were put through the ringer for sure. When I stood up from sitting down for a spell I could barely stand in one spot without losing ground and having to move my legs. I was thinking how in the world am I going to do Thumper.

The first 2 miles of Thumper I rode and walked a little and the rest I pretty much walked. It is not a fun experience doing a hike-a-bike in thumper and twisting your ankle every hundredth step. Some sections I rode if they were down hill and very few uphill’s were ridden by me. Dennis amazed me and just kept trucking up the hills like it was another Thursday night. So I lay down for a while, stopped and looked at some trees for a while then something amazing happened. I think I had a Native American moment and saw my animal spirit. Then I knew I was getting delirious and had to just keep moving and get the heck out of thumper. It was the worst experience I have ever had on a bike. I was dizzy and in pain. When I emerged out of thumper after doing the zig zag trail that leads out, I hopped on my bike and rode the rest of the way to the snack stand. I got off my bike and fell on the ground for a good ten minutes. I was dizzy and sick feeling. Dennis gave me some salt pills and I came back to reality and started feeling better. I think we stayed at the snack stand for about 45 minutes then we started in the dark to Walnut.

The ride to Walnut and the Walnut trail was an awesome feeling because it wasn’t thumper. My calves were cramping but I was excited because I knew it was all over. I got a new life in me and Dennis and I picked up the pace to finish the ride before 9pm. We hit Walnut and did not get another cramp until the levee climb. After the climb my calves were in constant cramping mode. It seems you just forget about the pain and just ride. The pedaling felt like pushing air as if I was riding down hill the hole time and pedaling in a high gear. It was very odd. I think I just lost feeling in my legs! We made it to the last up at the end and saw the streamed Christmas lights and rode across the finish. I put a face on for the camera but when I made it to the bench seat I could hardly hold my head up. I have never felt that beat up in my whole life. I was just so glad I finished and it was the greatest high you could ever imagine.