I know, I already posted today about my sister's half marathon. But I also want to write a little about mountain biking. I couldn't tie the two subjects together in one post no matter how I tried.
On Saturday Kevin took me mountain biking on the trails at Bear Brook. I rode a mountain bike on occasion about 15 years ago, but it was always on smooth straight trails. Kevin took me on trails that were easy by his standards, but a little challenging to me. They were curvy single track with rocks and roots and a few little logs to ride over. It was a perfect introduction to the sport.
There is a lot of skill involved, although it looks pretty easy when you watch people who know what they're doing ride. Kevin was a very patient teacher. I also liked that he didn't get excited when I fell a few times. He just sat and waited for me to get going again. I hate it when I fall running on the trail and people get overly concerned. I feel the same way on the bike. Let me preserve a little dignity for crying out loud! Just let me get up, brush it off, and move on. The less fuss the better.
When we were just starting out I kept catching myself holding my breath. It was a little nerve wracking to be traveling over trails without being able to feel them under my feet. But after a while I felt more comfortable on the bike and was able to relax. Most of the times I did fall, it was because I chickened out while in the middle of an obstacle. I've learned that if I start something I need to just see it through and not try to bail out mid way.
I hope it doesn't sound sacrilegious, but riding trails is every bit as much fun as running trails. Like running, it involves picking your line, maneuvering around and over obstacles, and moving forward over the dirt the best you can. Things come at you a little faster on the bike and you don't have the same maneuverability as you do on foot. Except on some of the climbs, I found I didn't really get winded like I do running. Another difference is that I had to stay mentally alert the entire time I rode, where I can let my mind wander a little when I run. Like trail running, there is leg strength and coordination involved, but biking also brings in core strength.
I have a lot of room for improvement on the bike, but that just makes it more interesting. I can hardly wait to ride again!