Just get in the car and go!
I got the heads up from Samantha Lindsey that a group was doing a pre-ride of the Southern Cross loop. I really enjoyed the last ride she invited me to so I opted in. As the crow flies, The start spot was pretty close to me and the start time and weather were favorable.
I actually got my stuff together the night before so I was less likely to find a reason to ride from the house. Plugged in the directions and tried to figure out what landmarks might clue me in to where the spot on the map was located. All I could figure was it was at the corner of somewhere on the other side of the mountain.
I debated my bike choice a bunch and decided on my gravel bike. The last part of my route into the meet up was on Cooper Gap downhill. I started to worry about that decision being it was such a long ride and I am most at home on fat tires, squish and lots of gear range. This was gonna be a test of my shoulder repair, Cooper Gap is a sustained steep downhill full of pretty much everything a mountain gravel road can throw at you. Good thing it would be at the end of the ride when I’m tired, thirsty, hungry and at the upper limit of what I consider a do-able distance….not.
The ride crew had a mix of gravel and mountain bikes. Thankfully there were experienced gravelers who had pressure gauges and the knowledge of appropriate pressures to run. Among the Sorella’s were Amanda, Saskia and of course Sam and their Sorella fellas. A great group and RTR right on time.
We had a mix of Sorella kits old and new, I decided to break in the brand new bright beautiful jersey and arm warmers that magically showed up at my house the day prior. Perfect for the warm conditions. We all discussed fluids and nutrition and hoped that cumulatively we could get everyone around the figure of 8 course of 45 miles and 5000 plus feet elevation gain.