So much of this summer (that wasn’t) has been about dealing with adverse weather conditions. I had nearly forgotten what it was like to do a workout in nearly ideal conditions. But as I read the weather forecast for the weekend I was stunned to see no rain and temperatures in the 70’s… in November…? Really? I immediately got happy feet and started planning some workouts.
Yesterday, I headed over to Rock Bridge State Park. This park is amazing for several reasons. First, it’s urban. It is less than a mile outside of Columbia. Second, it’s beautiful. Gorgeous scenery, caves, sink holes, creeks and ponds, huge trees and lots of trails for hiking, biking, running and general putzing around on. Finally, it’s well maintained. Decent bathrooms, good parking, picnic tables and signs to help you find your way around the trails.
I had been threatening myself with a mountain bike ride there since I got the bike back together again and yesterday was the day for it! After a quick stop at the bike shop to pick up a spare tube, I was on my way. My thought was that since Mizzou was playing a home game, maybe the park wouldn’t be so crowded (did I mention it’s urban?). No such luck. It wasn’t aweful, and I certainly don’t ride fast enough to worry about crashing into anyone, but there were lots of people on the trail so I tried to be as cautious and polite as possible.
Several of the trails are 2 miles long or longer and most intersect so you can just jump from one trail to another and stay out in the park for quite a while. I took off up one of the few trails I had actually been on before (hiking) and thus the adventure began. Beautiful doesn’t begin to describe it. Great single and double track trails, all very much ridable. A few slightly technical sections but nothing major. Very little mud or water. The only thing to worry about was that a lot of the trail was completely obscured by leaves! Fun to ride through but hard to see what was under them. In general, a nice, easy ride.
I went around one time (about a 3 mile loop)… then I went around again (about a 4 mile loop)… and then, yup… you guessed it… I went around again (another 3 miles)! When I was done with the last loop, I rode in circles around the parking lot. I was tired, but I REALLY didn’t want to stop. Finally, and very reluctantly, I got off the bike and put it away. I put my shoes back on and it was then I realized I had grabbed my trail running shoes to wear…
I only ran about a mile and a half (made a wrong turn and didn’t realize it until I was back at the parking lot…) but it was awesome! My legs were not tired and I was careful not to do anything stupid. What a day… I actually thought about going back around AGAIN… but decided that I was just tired enough that it wouldn’t be prudent. Besides, there was always tomorrow (which is today!!).
It is these types of workouts that keep me motivated. I’m sure if I had been with someone else I would have just slowed them down because I was purposefully NOT going fast… I was just GOING. And it was awesome.