Monday, January 28, 2008

Not My Proudest Moment.

I rode yesterday and I don't really feel like writing about it but I guess I will. I'll just start by saying it sucked. Or, rather, I sucked.

It was a group ride out at a park where we don't get to go very often so I was actually looking forward to it. I haven't ridden my bike in a few weeks and thought it might be fun. So, see, my attitude started out okay, I swear.

We arrived and it was much colder than it felt when we left. The sun was out but it was not warm. At all. I really don't do well in the cold which is why I avoid winter riding, but I really had missed being on my bike so I put on a bunch of layers and decided to go for it.

I knew I was in trouble when we hit the first climb. I asked my legs to dig deep and got nothing back. Static. Crickets. Bad. The first loop we did was an easy one, just to warm up, and I was already floundering. I rallied a bit towards the end of the loop and started feeling a bit better, but my legs still felt pretty leaden.

We headed for a more advance long loop of singletrack and I fell to the back of the pack because I was afraid of holding back the faster riders. I got dropped again and again and again. They'd wait up for me, I'd catch up, and then off they went and I was still struggling. I should really never get all the way in the back because without the push-pull of the pack I have no chance in hell of keeping up.

About five miles in I got a second wind and rode with a couple of other people for a bit, but then it was back to Dropsville. I remember looking up and seeing the back of the rider ahead of me completely disappear from sight and got really depressed. So much of this is mental and riding alone for miles and miles when you are chasing a group is so draining. It's different from a solo ride where your time is your own. When you get dropped you never forget that the group is up there...somewhere, and the longer it takes you to catch up when they stop to rest, the shorter your rest time will be.

So miles of slogging through winter-sad trails, with nose running, toes numb, legs cramping is not my idea of a good time. I was probably a pain in the ass but I was mostly frustrated with how quickly I've lost any cycling fitness and how hard I'm going to have to work this spring to get it back. Damn. Hell.

I was dragging and exhausted for the last mile (I think we did fifteen miles?) and Kenny came to scoop me up and lead the way back to the car. I was too tired and frustrated to do anything but climb off and sit dejectedly in the car while Kenny put my bike on the rack. Sitting there completely rung out and embarrassed, I cried. I have very firm rules about there not being any crying in mountain biking, but yesterday was what it was. I guess you have to have a bad ride now and then so you appreciate the good ones? I'll try and remember that.

PS. On the way home Kenny stopped and bought doughnuts and that helped A LOT towards improving my mood.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


HI. WHAT IS HAPPENING. I know, I am slack, but sometimes a girl needs a break from the old blog ball-and-chain. I have been riding but not very much. I was hoping for a great deal of riding over the Christmas break but that didn't happen because it literally rained every other day and around here you get a stick in your spokes for riding wet trails. Besides, who wants to clean a muddy bike? Not me (or my husband.)

So, yeah, there have been a few rides, but nothing to brag about. I went out by myself on Thanksgiving day and endo'ed over a log, this log:

like, ten minutes after I got there. I landed with the palm of my hand firmly on a very knotty root which hurt A LOT. I contemplated calling for a ride home because gripping the handlebar wasn't really a fabulous option, but instead I stood in the woods and swore a lot until it stopped throbbing so much. I had a really Technicolor bruise to show for it. It hurt for weeks afterwards. Nice.

So, there have been a few other rides since then, but today I'll just tell you about the one we did last weekend. A friend of a friend of a friend has some land out in the country and he did what any crazy person would do - he built a six-mile loop of single track. NICE. A bunch of us were invited to help break it in last Sunday, so off we went. The weather was unseasonably warm which was a nice plus.

The trails were of the "rolling" variety and you know what that means - OW. It means it never ever lets up. That six mile loop was hard work, all of it. There was one great section of big dirt lumps (I think it was originally used for dirt bikes) but other than that, I worked and worked and worked some more. There was no coasting, no rest, just legs and gears. The ground was spongy and power-sucking, which made it all the harder. I hadn't a chance in hell of keeping up with the fast group but really, who cares about speed in January? Not me. Which is good because I'm fresh out, kids.

I had a great time, though. We did two laps and I rode with some nice women and men and it was so much fun to ride somewhere unfamiliar and new. And by new, I mean the trails were NEW. There were no defined lines so you really had to negotiate every inch of it on your own and hope for the best.

My friend Billy was kind enough to take some pictures for me since I forgot my camera (thanks!)

Group shot:

group shot

I look thrilled about this action shot:

on the move

This was the BEST. This sign was at the bottom of a hill right where the trail took a hard left:

That way

And the thrill of finishing a good ride:

rest break