Thought I would post up my version of the 2014 EB while it was still fresh in my mind. I’ll try and keep it relatively short but condensing 10+ hours of riding down into a few lines is not easy.
This was my fourth EB and my second to ride solo. My riding buddies had various reasons for not making it this year so I rolled out of Walnut with around 150 other nut jobs. Of course, the first creek crossing jammed everyone up and I ended up guiding a few folks out of Walnut that didn’t have lights or know the route. Getting lost 2 minutes into the ride must really put the fear into you. The ride down to the Greenbelt was a little different experience this year as compared to the previous. The ballers all broke out into a lead pack and took off first while the normal riders were supposed to lag in a big mass. This strung out everyone else as some riders fought to catch up and others lagged back wondering if they were once again lost. I joined a group of about 6 including my original EB buddy Martin and a couple of girls from Houston. I missed being a part of the big mass of riders but I guess the ballers couldn’t handle that extra 15 minutes of riding with everyone else?? One note here, the Houston ladies commented on how nice riding on the streets was in Austin compared to Houston. I’ve never ridden in Houston but I do take the bike lanes for granted.
Hit the Greenbelt and after a quick stop at the Zilker bathroom, we all headed into the ‘gnar’ of the main trail. The Houston ladies aren’t that familiar with rocks (imagine that, Houston!) but they hung with Martin and I as we navigated an almost deserted main trail. Very surprised that we didn’t see that many hikers or walkers but the ones we did weren’t overly annoyed looking. We made good time to Rudy’s and made the climb up without any fanfare. I stopped to help a rider with a busted chain and Martin and Houston went ahead but I caught them on the down. We turned back onto the main trail and didn’t look back until we hit the crossing. One guy in front of me (full yellow kit) slipped on the rocks and went into the water up to his helmet. Classic.
I climbed Easy Up with Martin and we managed to make the turn to the gravel pit instead of heading straight onto Wash tub. Quick stop at the gravel pit to refuel and once again Houston caught up and passed us heading down. The descent back to the creek is always a blast and having fresh legs at this point made it even funner. I passed Martin and Houston here and never saw them again. I hit the drop on Mulch despite my bent seat stay because you have to hit the drop, EB or not.
HOL beat me up and I walked a good majority of it. I don’t find it as fun as technical climbing or as cardio blasting as hill climbing. It just sucks. FU HOL. Anyway, the crepe stop on 360 was awesome and VERY much appreciated. The French are good for something after all. Climbed up Courtyard and City Park without any problems despite the nasty blind curves on City Park road. Caught up to Hoss and Austin Bike going into City Park so I rode with them for a bit. City Park was fantastic as usual and I did all the extras because I really enjoy them. This ride for me is about enjoyment, not the fastest time possible. The trail angels hooked me up after City Park (YOU ROCK TRAIL ANGELS) and then I bombed down to 2222. That light sucked and I caught up to a few riders that had passed me at the rest stop. Including Hoss, AB, and the first female finisher riding with a dude on a sick green Bronson. We all climbed Jester and then I headed down Beauford with Thumper calling my name in the distance.
My buddy Brock met me at Spicewood and we rode St. Ed’s together, climbed Yaupon, refueled at Cindy’s stop, and headed into Thumper. I was feeling so much better this year than I was last year but having a buddy to ride Thumper with makes the pain bearable. Thumper was Thumper but when you’re suffering with a group during the EB it just becomes another challenge. We survived the high speed hell of riding down Parmer and then I peeled off to ride my WC loop. I did the entire normal loop and threw in Church Hill and the fast downhill because it always makes me feel like I’m in some Pink bike video. Sooo fun. Finished in around 10 1/2 hours feeling great. Legs were fine, back was sore, butt was sore, and bike was still solid. Family was there with unicycles to celebrate and I got to explain to them how a keg-er-ator works. Good times.
Bottom line, I could care less if people cut off trail from the official route or added trail to their own ride. Everyone has their own EB experience and it should be about enjoying your time on a bike riding great trails, in an awesome town, with riders that share your passion. The entire EB team and Trail Angels do a FANTASTIC job with this ride and they are a big reason the mountain biking community in Austin is what it is.