Monday, February 18, 2013

Fredericksburg VA

The FAMBE club members are very hospitable. I mean, they don't know me from Adam and they let me join their Facebook group. I did a little research and saw that Fredericksburg had a few trail systems that looked promising:
Lodi Farm, of 12 of Lodi fame,
Ferry Farm,
The Quarry,

I posted to the group that I was looking for an intermediate to advanced ride.

Rob, then contacted Levi Thornton, who happened to be finishing up a 20 training week with a 6 hour ride that encompassed all three parks, connecting them with road. Levi said he averaged 15mph on the road sections, so I though I could fake that on the SS. Oh no I couldn't, and I think Levi was underestimating his on road average, Ha! This one time, when Levi would start out at 12mph, I am thinking that this was too easy, but wait there's more....the speed started to creep up, soon I am doing 265 Watts (L3 for me) Right before my elastic snapped I was drafting Levi at 18 point something miles per hour at 320ish Watts. I was on a 34/20 gear ratio. Just sayin'.

Levi is a great guy. When we were done with the parks and Levi figured out that I could not keep that pace on the SS, we got to chatting.  He has an amazing story.

Levi has only been mountain biking, coming up on two years. He is a computer programmer and had put on some weight from all the desk jockeying. He told me that he was skiing and saw that they had DH Mountain biking and thought that would be fun. He would spend eight hours at a time making runs. Then he took to cross country and, like the rest of us, he struggled at first. He would ride a SS 29er with a 32/14, I would still struggle with that. He got himself a 1 by 10 fully rigid carbon bike now, but still likes to lose the shifters every so often.

Levi is training to take on the nationals in PA this year, in Cat 2. When he told me that, I told him that 20 hours was a lot for a Cat 2. He proceeded to out climb me in the steep greasy hills of the Quarry.  I only made one or two things he did not, to the several that he made that I had to walk.  But he would wait for me. I tried to tell Levi to just wait at the intersections because I found I could make some of that climbing distance up in the twists and turns and down hills and the berms. But, being a good host, he did not want me to get lost. Like I said a nice guy.

We then took the roads over to Ferry Farm. That took us through Fredericksburg, cool town with a burgeoning bike path and share the road system. Bikes can take an entire lane if there are more that one travel lane.There are huge bike lane markers and the motorists really seem to take the bikers serious, well mostly (there was that one Mustang).

The hills at Ferry Farm were not quite as long and steep and the ground was less greasy, so I kept up a little better and Levi let me catch up on the DH and tech stuff. I was even able to put him through his paces in a few sections. But remember this was his last ride on a 20 hour week! Lots of fun twists and dips and roots.

Then some more road to Lodi Farm. Levi said that Lodi handles wet better than Ferry farm and far better than the Quarry. They have been holding a 12 hour race there for some years now. The race started out as a midnight to noon race to accommodate bike shop employees, but changed it to noon to midnight to attract more riders.

This place is AWESOME! Take a look at the Strava map, see that Squiggle way over on the right that looks like somebody tried to scribble something out, well zoom in and see how the trail turns back and forth inside itself. I managed to make a log that Levi cased and just let her rip. That is where my 20+ years of experience came in handy!

At 35 Levi has never played sports before, he was home schooled and he was physically active helping with his family's flooring business.

Little did he know, two years ago that I would be comparing him to the few other freaks of nature that I have had the pleasure (and the pain) to meet.

I guess he can handle that work load after all.

Levi, rest up and good luck at Monster Cross next week end and at the nationals.

Oh, after I wrote all this I went back to Strava and saw that Levi did a race simulation at the Quarry the day after our 5 hour ride and got a KOM to boot. Go Levi!

Videos are uploading.... Sloowly


  1. Since you got 15 KOM, I guess you're not a slacker. Hopefully, Levi learned a few technical tips from you and when he is world-famous, you can say you rode with him "when".

  2. Wow Jeff. What a really cool story.

  3. The joy of wandering and being open to meting new people! Great story!