Health by Heidi
|Posted on August 23, 2015 at 7:25 PM|
Yesterday, a good friend of mine convinced me to go mountain biking. I, the self-proclaimed 99% roadie 1% mountain biker, reluctantly agreed. I do own a mountain bike. Her name is Shelly and the last time she saw action was June 2014 on the ride to Paradise. That ride is techinically not even a mountain bike ride. There are just sections of the ride that are on dirt, which makes a mountain bike more comfortable than a road bike. I am fine riding a mountain bike on a dirt road. Single-track? Yes, if it is dirt and smooth with nary a rock or branch or log in sight. Climbing? Yes please! Downhill? Yes, I will be happy to go downhill, dismounted and pushing Shelly alongside. I am not too proud for that.
Anyway, my friend assured me that the ride was not technical and the scenery was beautiful. As we were driving up to the rendezvous point with the other members of the group, my friend mentioned that there had been a lot of work done on the trail and the rocky sections were much improved over what they had been. Wait wait wait. Rocky sections? No no no. My vision of flat smooth dirt single track through fields of wildflowers was quickly fading.
We got to the trail head, three other riders joining us. Off we went, starting immediately in the rock garden. As my friend disappeared in the distance, she yelled over her shoulder, "This is the worst part!" Ok, great. Let's get the bad stuff out of the way at the beginning. Good. Funny thing about mountain biking though. There are rocks everywhere. Rocks exist in nature. There is no way around it. Also, when you are in a forest, there are branches and logs everywhere too. Who would have ever imagined such a thing? So I pedaled along at my own pace, going slower than everyone else. Mind you, it was not due to lack of fitness. My fitness was never tested. My bike handling skills were the issue. When we reached the base of a two mile climb, the group allowed me to lead the way. I quickly rode off the front, enjoying my chance to shine and to not have to worry about crashing. When I reached the summit, I stopped and waited for everyone to regroup. As everyone was catching their breath, my friend mentioned that she was looking forward to going back down that hill on the way out. Wait wait wait. What? This ride is not a loop? We have to go back down that two mile rocky exposed hillside? Nope. No thanks. I will just stay here.
We pedaled on and eventually got to the halfway point where we proceeded to turn around. The hill loomed in front of me. I could sense the others' excitement building in anticipation of the downhill. Me? I was a solid mass of nerves. I brought up the rear on the way down. I am proud to say that I stayed on Shelly the whole time, riding the brakes all the way, but never once dismounting to walk. Victory for me! And so the rest of the ride back to the car slowly passed by. I did take time to enjoy the flowers, the trees, the sun filtering through the smoky haze. When we finally made it back to the cars, I was admittedly glad that it was over.
I am not a mountain biker. I am just not. I try. I try it every year. And every year I think, "Nope." I don't like the headache I always get from the jostling over rocks. I don't like my fingers literally feeling like they are broken from the shaking of the handle bars. I like the open, smooth road of pavement. I like to go fast in spandex with others going fast in spandex. I like pacelines and skinny tires and stiff frames. I like riding with Fast Guy and the rest of the group. I like the continuous, smooth fluidity that comes with road biking. Having said that, yesterday was still a great day. I love being outside. I love being on a bike. Any day spent outside on a bike is a great day. So yes, yesterday was a great day, and my last mountain bike ride of the season. Oh, and I am re-classifying myself. I am now 99.5% road, .5% mountain biker.