Yesterday morning at about 5:00am I hopped out of bed (the curse of the morning person… I have it…) and began rummaging through the rest of my clothing drawers trying to find not just my mountain biking stuff, of which I have an adequate supply, but my COLD WEATHER stuff. As you can imagine, having lived in balmy SoCal for the last 15 years, my pickins was mighty slim. See, I wanted to go mountain biking again (same group, different time/spot) but when I checked the thermometer it read 32 degrees!!! Woot!! I love cold weather, but I’m gonna have to build up my base of cold weather gear if I wanna keep doing this. Big, baggy sweatshirts just don’t cut it on tight singletrack through the trees.
I managed to find the only pair of tights I own, an old pair of mountain biking shorts, one of my Coolmax running shirts and an old bicycling jacket. In the olden days the tights were TIGHT, the shorts didn’t fit and I couldn’t zip the jacket up past the old beer storage unit. So I was pleasantly surprised to find the tights were… well… kinda baggy, the shorts fit perfectly and the jacket was only tight where it should be. Maybe all this running has been doing me some good…! I even found my old Camelbak, which took a little work to clean… blech… but shined up just fine.
The trailhead was in the sun but everywhere there was shade, there was frost! This trail is in a state park (inside the city limits!!) called Rock Bridge. A spectacular collection of sink holes, caves and trails covering over 20 miles. However, if you were to ask me where we went I would have no idea. I just followed the guy in front of me and tried not to crash in front of the guy behind me (read that sentence slow…)! One thing that hit me as I was riding is that there was absolutely NO DUST!! I am so used to that fine, powdery dust (a lot of which still clings to my bike… embarrassingly enough) from the SoCal trails that it took me a minute to realize what was different… I could actually SEE the rider in front of me! Loads of fun single track, double track and some challenging, slippery climbs all made for a fun time. The group is all experienced mountain bike racers but they were kind enough not to drop me in the woods. I surprised myself by clearing a couple of fairly technical sections.
Things I realized on this ride:
- I’m old
- I’m out of mountain biking shape
- Riding my bike is like riding a favorite old horse. You know she’s not gonna be around long so you love her while you can and hope she goes quietly in her sleep, not traumatically with you on her back
- I love mountain biking
- It takes about 20 minutes of riding at 32 degrees before the feeling begins to come back to your fingers
- The ground still hurts when you fall on it, even when it’s covered in leaves (bad line, two roots, weak legs… ’nuff said)
- To prove I am still a runner at heart, as I was riding a particularly hairy section and should have been paying total attention to the trail, all I could think was “MAN! I can’t wait to run here!!” *sigh*
- I have found my cross training!!!