So Sundays for me also include a game of soccer most weekends and this weekend was no different.  The downside to that was after having ridden for 40+ miles the day before and then putting in 90 minutes on the soccer field, my legs were in rough shape.  Not wanting to give in however I had noticed that one of my local bike shops Green Lizard Cycling was hosting a demo day for both Scott and Cannondale.

I decided to go across and see what was going however as you can see for my dress I didn't really think things through all that much and wasn't in my best cycling gear.  I started off at the Scott stand and the super friendly guys there set me up with Scott Solace 10:

Fork: Solace HMF, 1 1/8" Carbon steerer, Alloy Dropout

Group set: Shimano Dura-Ace
Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace
Parts: Syncros
Wheels: Syncros RP2.0

The bike was incredibly light weighing around 16lb and it being my first ride on a carbon road bike I have to say the ride quality was great.  If it wasn't my tired legs I'd have zipped along no problem.

Scott Solace 10

Scott Solace 10
After visiting the Scott stand it was off to see Cannondale, they had a range of road and mountain bikes lined up however there was one in particular that took my eye and I instantly gravitated towards it.  As with the carbon road bike, I'd never ridden a lefty fork before (an afternoon of firsts!).  So I had a quick chat with the guys and got them to let me loose on the Trigger 29 Carbon 1!  Specced with SRAM X0 components Cannondale describes the trigger as follows:

Thanks to its OverMountain dual-travel DNA, the Trigger 29 gives you the most out of each pedal stroke on nasty climbs with 80mm of travel, yet doesn’t compromise when descents get rowdy with 130mm of seemingly bottomless confidence. Imagine being able to pick any line, up or down, and charge it at full speed - that is what the Trigger 29 is all about.

Catalogue pose

All in all it was a fun way to pass an hour or so and my wife was a willing participant as she could just sit on a bench and take in the sunshine while I went and got involved.  The pricing on those bikes makes them out of reach for now, but something to aspire to.
Day 26 was again a spell on the exercise bike in the gym, however day 27 was back to normal service.  With the Goblin out of service, I turned to the Kona Kapu to log some miles.  One section of the W&OD trail I've never ridden is anything east of Vienna so I wanted to start out from home and see how far along I could get.  It was a windy day and the first sections of the ride were pretty easy, I hadn't realized just how much the wind was pushing me along (I soon would on the ride back).  I made pretty good progress and felt good all the way to the start point of the trail (approx 22 miles or so).  At this point it was already the longest distance I'd ridden on the Kona, and possibly one of my longest rides ever, not factoring in the fact that of course by just heading home I'd double this distance.

The very beginning of the W&OD Trail, Shirlington
The ride home was a mix of determination and perseverance, the wind coming back made it difficult to sustain any speed along the trail and the extra effort meant my energy levels were dropping.  I knew I needed to find somewhere to stop off and fuel up so I made it back to Vienna and headed off to get my fix of English food stuff at The Pure Pasty CO.  Fed and watered I pushed on to finish the last 10 miles and it was tough.  Seeing some of the distances some of the people I follow on Strava ride it makes my total 43.5 miles seem like a simple jaunt but this is a big achievement for me as I've never ridden anywhere so far and since also riding on the road as well as the MTB having purchased the Kona Kapu gives me the confidence that I can go even further on my future rides.

Day 25 and the weather had help up just enough for the trails to dry out and for me to break out the Airborne Green Goblin.  I had just enough time to get in an hours ride before hitting the office, so loaded up the car and headed off to Lake Fairfax park to do the difficult run loop.

The ride started off great, I can feel my fitness increasing and some of the climbs etc that would have had me breathing heavily were much more comfortable.  Although it would never be a ride that challenged my personal bests, I knew the way I was riding that I had a shot of ending up pretty close.  All changed however 3 miles from home when out of nowhere my shifting became extremely rough and then the derailleur hanger sheared bending the derailleur and throwing it up into the wheel.  I stopped instantly to minimize the damage however there was no way that I could ride the bike without some trail side repair.

A bit of a mess
I normally carry a spare derailleur hanger in my hydro pack but as it was a quick blast I had elected to ride without the hydro pack.  Thankfully though I'd had the forethought to bring my multi tool, complete with chain breaker.  I always use the KMC split links on my chains as I find they are incredibly easy to open up, I've tried SRAM links before but without the specific tool, they are incredibly difficult to separate.  Using my chain tool in conjunction with the split link, I shortened the chain and singlespeeded very slowly out of the woods and back to the car.

Single speed
With all the extra time taken I was a little late for the office, however had I not brought the chain tool I would have been left with an hours walk back to the car in my SPD shoes (not appealing).  I've since broken things down back at the garage and the derailleur is a little bent, I've managed to straighten it up so it would probably be useable again, however its the perfect opportunity to upgrade.

So although as soon as I got the Goblin out again it is back off the trail, I do have an SRAM X9 derailleur, new chain, and new cable housing on the way.  Here's hoping I can get back in action by next weekend.

I am now officially into the final stretch of the challenge.  Being pushed for time yesterday's effort was a short 20min blast on the exercise bike in the gym.  But day 24 is back on track with some outdoor riding, hitting up the W&OD trail this time taking in Sterling, Ashburn and Herndon.

I'm really pleased that I'm becoming more able to sustain speed over longer periods rather than just short burst as my stamina is ever increasing.  Fingers crossed this dry weather holds out and I can break out the Green Goblin again soon.

You may notice a subtle difference or two to the look of the Kapu

W&OD trail at Herndon, VA