Archive for January 28th, 2006

Putting the Mountain in Mountain Biking

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

Beau Hunk went riding with the local mountain biking club a few weeks ago and discovered just how awesome the riding is around here. So awesome in fact, that he took me out to share the joy. I think I have finally discovered “true” mountain biking. You know, the kind that takes place on mountains and through forests instead of going across cow pastures on fire roads.

The scenery was to die for. We rode through lush forests and cross many creeks. The first creek crossing we rode across, and it was deep enough that when my foot was at the bottom of my pedalstroke, my leg was in water above my ankles. I had to keep telling myself to just keep pedalling and not stop. Shamefully, I ended up saying this outloud. At least only Beau Hunk was there to witness my complete descent into bike dorkdom.

That was only the first of many water crossings. The next creek crossing had lots of “dollheads” (big round rocks the size of a doll head) that tend to roll when you hit them, causing idiots with no technical bike skills like me to fall down and go splut. Beau Hunk suggested I walk that creek, because falling would leave me far wetter than walking it and it was cold out. He wasn’t kidding either – the water was halfway up my shin on my walk across. The next crossing was best described as a small river as it was around 25 feet across and involved hiking over rocks and felled trees. Beau Hunk took my bike while I picked my way across the rushing water.

Boy was I glad I wore my wool socks! By the end of the ride, my socks were still soaking wet and had to be wrung out. But my feet were warm as toast. Wool: nature’s own miracle. You have to love it.

There were many other times on this ride I ended up walking or carrying my bike, mostly over fallen trees or areas too technically difficult to ride. But I didn’t care, I was having a blast! I even rode my first singletrack. Although, I should qualify that by saying that it was a wide singletrack and downhill. I don’t climb well enough to take singletrack uphill without hurting myself.

The downhill was magnificent. The trail wound around the side of the mountain, taking nasty dips and wicked turns, some of which were walked. We decided that style points would not be awarded, and that walking difficult sections would be a good idea since getting hurt would be stupid. The strategy worked since I came home completely unscathed, and with a huge smile on my face from the ride.

This area is lush with trees, lakes, rivers, streams and mountains. I can’t wait to find more rides like this. The best part? The trail head was only 20 minutes from the house. I love that this much fun is right out my back door.