Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall Fever

Photo credit Cleveland Velodrome (Gary Burkholder?)

It's like Spring Fever, but on the opposite end of the cosmic calendar.

These days won't last. In spite of the uncharacteristically warm autumn we've been having around here, winter is coming.

But not today. Today, the sun is shining sideways and the sky is brilliantly blue. This calls for an emergency 'offsite' meeting all afternoon at the Cleveland Velodrome.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Lost in the Woods, Again

I went mountain biking this morning. I was supposed to be at work, but the sun was shining and the day was looking drop-dead beautiful, and if I wait too much longer the falling leaves will soon cover the trail and I won't be able to avoid all those rocks and roots.

This is only the second time I've ridden on the Bedford singletrack. I know I'm late to this party, since the trail has been opened for more than 2 years and it's literally around the corner from my house. The first time I rode it was with Angie, who is a good mountain biker and also very patient of her chicken-hearted friends who aren't very good mountain bikers. She coached me through one loop of the easy trail, and told me that, as a newbie (read: totally incompetent mountain biker) I shouldn't ride it alone.

I couldn't help myself. I like to ride solo for a lot of reasons: I can ride at my own (slow) pace, repeat sections that I find challenging, hop off and walk when I lose confidence, lose confidence without embarrassing myself in front of anyone. It was nice to have the trail to myself this morning. I can't imagine riding through this peaceful woodland with anyone charging up behind me and breathing down my neck, like in a race. That would totally ruin the zen for me. Truly, I can run this trail faster than I can ride it (my GPS proves this), but why would I want to ride it any faster?

The Bedford Singletrack is often talked down upon by more experienced MTB'ers as being too easy. I'm happy for that. I don't need to 'shred' a 'gnarly' trail. I really just want to be able to ride my bike in the woods.

I got lost only once, repeating a loop within the main loop. I passed the same picnic table twice before I realized the deja vu. That's one of the downsides: I can't really enjoy the view, I have to keep my eyes on the trail in front of me (which is not any different than trail running, by the way). But I found that I was getting better at it the longer I was out there. Blood flowed back into my previously white knuckles, and I began to ease off a little on the brakes (the constant screeching of my brakes when I first started was scaring off the wildlife). I was beginning to truly enjoy myself, and aside from the gnawing guilt that I should probably get back to work, I would have ridden  it all again.

I hope to get out there again before too long, and when I do, I plan to get just a little more lost than I did today.