Sunday, June 22, 2008

Gravel Clinic Final Exam: Volga

A trip to Volga State Park for the end of what was a really great week of training at the Gravel Clinic - headed up by fearless Mike Johnson. Attendance included Paul M, John A. and Kat P. Making up for skip day last Friday, Kat did the driving. Getting ready - trails had just re-opened after the flooding from the past weeks and only a few horse trailers meant that we would have the trails to ourselves for a bit.
Trails were sandy, muddy, dry and in relatively good conditions with a steep technical down-hill section early that scared the bejeebers out of KAT - this her second time taking the Superfly into true Mtn Bike conditions. John above, sporting some serious mud after taking an endo into a mud pit. Spectacular air was involved but with a soft landing thankfully. Parting words before that down hill - 'Kat - don't use your brakes.'
Slowing things up a Snapping Turtle - no one tried to pet it and gave it the respect it deserved.

After the first lap around several trails - time to regroup and determine the next trails to take. We basically covered all the trails 35 miles and 5+ hours on the bikes - with a very good effort and a great day of training.

Water crossing - John says that he is going to ride it - I think he made it for extra credit. Mike's saying "I don't see this on the map..."
The rest of us decided to walk it - Paul , Kat and Mike bringing up the end.Mike and John had a great final - making it up some steep climbs reminiscent on a small scale of what will come in 47 days and counting. Paul also passed with flying colors who always had a huge supply of liquids to share with the class - you can get a lot packed into those jersey pockets. Kat made up for her unexcused absence and also passed.

Final Instructor and Clinic evaluation - Highly Satisfactory and Extremely Effective - well done Mike and classmates. Headed up to West Union for a well deserved meal after the ride - Mike ordered the Famous Hot Beef Sandwich - a specialty at Gus & Tony's Town House Cafe.
More training adventures to come.....


  1. Congratulations on your graduation. On to GRAD school now!

  2. Thanks for the great write up KAT.

    Glad to spend the time with all of ya on the Gravel Clinic. I know it was my biggest week ever. 18+ hours on the bike. Time for a little recovery before the TTT.


  3. Mike,

    Tell me you took the high road. Tell me you did the right thing. Tell me you dredged those french fries through the puddle of gravy on the other plate.


  4. What a fabulous day for a ride. I can't believe Mike is eating meat and fried fries!
    Congratulations on a fabulous day of riding in on the trails and in, I mean on, the mud.

  5. Yeah, and I can't believe how he threatened me with his fork when he caught me looking/staring at his fries. I backed off when I saw that wild look in his eyes - I didn't want to die in West Union. I've got some mountains to climb.

  6. Looks like a great ride! Hope all is well w/ Paul, you're one tough cookie!