The Tour is 5 days away

Ok, the Tour of the White Mountains is just 5 days away, and I still haven’t selected a distance.  Unless my friend Chris Z goes and does the 52 miler, I’m leaning toward the 41 miler.  Right now, I’m feeling more concerned with finishing the event than pressing myself to my limits…although I don’t exactly know why that is.
Last weekend I got 2 nice training rides in.  The first was Pemberton to Windgate Pass.  I’ve been looking up at Windgate Pass almost daily since it was built, and every attempt at making it to the top from the West side has failed.  So I tried it from the East side, via Pemberton, and while the final 3/4 of a mile is anything but ridable for a normal human, after riding 10 miles to get to that point, I wasn’t about to give up with the top in sight.
Sunday’s ride was out at Usery Park, doing the Pass Mountain trail.  This trail is listed at just 7.1 miles,but somehow it took me 2 hrs to complete.  Imagine that pace for 50 miles?  Fortunately Pass Mountain isn’t representative of the type of trail we’ll see next weekend.  What it is, however, is a total body workout.  That trail will test your balance, your nerve, your upper and lower body strength, and darned near every other skill necessary to be a good mountain bike rider.
Here are some trail side photos I took with my new Canon SD870is (click to enlarge):
Pass Mountain Trailhead
Ledgy Climb at Pass Mountain
Backside of Pass Mountain
The “top” at Pass Mountain