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.