Monday, April 4, 2011

A Tale of Two Days, or, Meh, It's New England

Having decided, or rather, having my lack of form decide for me, that Battenkill was going to be a character builder rather than a stepping stone to great things on the road this season I have turned to the mountain bike for solace. My fickle old-person mind having forgotten the trials and travails of last season's inaugural mountain bike race season I have somehow convinced myself that a fuller mtb racing schedule is the answer. One reason being that I just don't care to ride my bike all that much anymore. I've got kids I love spending time with and a wife, if I remember back far enough to when we had time to spend together, was also quite pleasant to pass a weekend with. A telling conversation from this Saturday up in Maine at my dad's house:

Dad: When does your racing begin? Been riding a lot?
Me: Dad, I'm at the point where I'd much rather drive up to Maine and be up here with you than spend four more hours riding on the road.

So that's where the mtb comes in. To me it's a new challenge. I'm horrible at it. But it's something I can do five minutes from my house on my own or with a bunch of Xers at a nearby park. I'm not fighting cars (and losing like last Tuesday when some girl felt her cell conversation was more important than me getting home alive and just plowed into me), or time, or desire. Don't get me wrong, I'll be putting in some miles on the road and I'll bang some crits to stay fast on the track but the road race training days have been officially mothballed.

Best of all though, I can do it in the rain. I hate a messy road bike. On a related note, I don't want to sit on rollers in the spring. I want to be outside in the open air watching the trees go by or laying on the ground following a crash all get-in-touch-with-mother-nature-style. When I was crumpled on the road last Tuesday it struck me how hard the pavement was and how close a second car came to almost crushing me. I'd much rather land on some moss and watch a squirrel almost run across my leg as I lay sprawled with my bike on top of me.

So that brings me to the last two days. Sunday was awesome. The sun was out, the birds were chirping, the wind was blowing and gusting and in the forest the riding was ideal! On the road I would have been battling the wind as it sapped my desire to be out and eventually it would have convinced me to go home early. In the woods I got a good three hours in.

disregard the chalky-white skin!

On Monday, the weather was the exact opposite: drab, raining, chilly. But I still got another ninety minutes in since I can get to trails right by my house. No worries of cars skidding into me or getting sprayed with road filth. The only thing that threatened me was wet roots and I just walked around them. Because I'm a horrible mountain biker.

i figured since I crashed here I might as well take a picture!

such a calming way to pass a Monday rush hour

Tuesday harkens me back into the real world with the weekly Marblehead throwdown but that's fun too if you've managed to get two solid workouts in on Sunday and Monday. (Wednesday is soon to be Ride With Glen Night when the schedule gets rearranged. I don't know how fun that will be.) In the end, the mountain bike keeps me on the bike more and that benefits all my various cycling disciplines I hope!


  1. Mountainbike riding is great "cross training" for road and cross - hopefully it's building some strength and endurance in that pesky lower back of yours. I'm still shying away from off-road stuff as yet, but soon will be bangin' out fun rides at Willowdale and Bradley Palmer. I just can't bring time-constrained family guy self to drive to ride bikes; racing perhaps - but even that's going to be reduced.

    Anyhow, I'm really fun to ride with! I don't know what you're talking about... Wish I could make it to MHD for the insane loops around the neck, but schedule says NO, alas.

    As daylight extends, perhaps an occasional Wednesday off-road X'er ride can form up - though that ECV TT / TTT season is right around the corner. And then the Beverly Crit, and Salem, and, and, and... so on.

  2. Did I mention that the Bike Shop Pub will probably have group rides because there's a trail network less than 1/4 mile away...

  3. David, Are you talking about Norwood pond? There is some nice riding back there. I'll have to try it on my new/old SS rigid project bike. Still considering a 1X9 setup.