Even Skunks Go to School

Last April, the Skunks traveled to Brown County, Indiana for another fun filled Skunk Training Camp. We are not unique in that we are pulled many different directions for our careers, friends, families and just life in general so it is amazing we all could carve out this time to focus on mountain biking. With the weather looking decent (some early bouts of rain but warmer than we have been used to), we were optimistic about some great but challenging rides.

The Trip Down

Those that could leave earlier on Thursday drove south. Trying to get in a shorter ride before checking into our lodging is the usual plan. This allows us to shakeout our equipment and selves for the next few days of longer riding. When you hit a certain age, you may find your memory not working so well. Since I've waited too long to write this, not much sticks out from this day except for two things:

  1. I did listen to a fascinating podcast on the way down about sunscreen and sunblock (Stuff You Should Know>>Sunburn, Suntans and Sunscreens) and
  2. The place we reserved was AWESOME! But since the focus should be on riding, I should mention our ride was about 1.5 hours, 1300 feet of climbing, heart rate between 159 and 185 bpm (thank you Strava). 

Friday

In a group camp like this, mini-groups of commonality tend to form. There is a coffee group, a fast-to-get-ready-for-a-ride-group, the wake up early group, and a bike clean up group.

The other group that formed are riding buddies. Based on how you like to attack the trails, groups logically form. The full group stuck together until we didn't. You find people you ride compatibly with...for whatever reason. My riding buddies wanted less technical rides with good flow-y trails since its early season. 1700 feet of climbing, 2.5+ of riding, max heart rate 179 bpm for me. Throughout the day, we monitored progress of the 2nd group of skunks arriving to camp and secured more wine.

Saturday

Best. Day. Yet. With lots of breakfast, coffee, etc in our systems, we arrived earlier than we wanted at the state park for our Advanced Mtn Bike Skills clinic organized by Becky with two of the most rad instructors (fyi, that's how mtn bikers talk). This was a cold day for us but it ended up being the best day of the weekend. Kate Nowlan and Tiffany "Hutch" Hutchins of DNK Presents hosted the Skunks and friends with an awesome skills clinic. I mentally had given myself an out to skip out of the clinic early to ride (yes, I realize this would have made me a jerk) but I was fearful of things I thought were out of reach for my level.

We started out going through basics and worked our way up to drops off some structures they setup. Something I thought looked very scary ended up being fun. A review of basics is always good and important but having a chance to stretch your skills was such a rewarding experience. Overall, great clinic but the best proof of this was the ride that afternoon. My little group had a blast on flow-y trails but this time around, riding SUPER FAST! In my head, I was repeating "this is so fun!" because it was. Super fun, super fast! The clinic gave us a boost of confidence to ride faster and stronger. I felt like a kid again. All of us got that boost. 1.75 hours of riding, 1400 feet of climbing, max heart rate 177 bpm.

Sunday

Some of us decided to skip the last day of riding to get home to tackle life. The rest of us enjoyed the morning trails. I was sad that the weekend was over but I was definitely feeling the effects of the 3 earlier days of mountain biking and ready to see my family again. Having a chance to get in a short ride before the drive home solidified an awesome weekend. 1.25 hours of riding, 1000 feet of climbing.

Great Skunk training camp. I am sure I am missing some key highlights but my teammates will chime in if they need to.