Monday, June 29, 2009

Mountain Biking

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!


  1. Its the challenges of the trail that fuels the passion of many mountain bikers to ride. For most hikers the reward is in a destination with a view of some sorts. For mountain bikers the destination is the "fun" of being on the trail and being challenged by the trail and the ability of the rider to continuously improve there skills. Laurel you have great trail reading skills and once you get more comfortable on wheels and can lift the wheels over obstacles, your riding skills and the fun you have on the bike/trail are going to escalate right through the roof. The trails might be to wet to ride this coming weekend, but we could always do an urban ride and buzz the village. Curbs and church steps also make for good obstacles to practice on when you can't get on the trail. - KC

  2. Kevin, If we "buzz the village" of Kezar Falls it will really embarass my daughter...let's do it! Chris, I think those darned snowshoe races are what started my descent towards the dark side.

  3. You haven't lived until you've done a loop at 1:00 AM with headlights a blazin' at the 24 Hours of Great Glen mountain bike race. You think snowshoe racing is ain't seen nothin'. We're still looking for teammates, interested?

  4. Baby steps Laurel... lets get you comfortable on the bike first, then we'll puts some lights on you this fall for some night riding. Then maybe next year you can solo Great Glen. If not a solo, i know a group of gals that would love to have you as a team mate. What... you didn't think there were any strings attached to that loaner your riding. But if your going over to the dark side Laurel, your going to have to give snowboarding a try this winter. You haven't lived until you've surfed waste deep powder down a mountain!!!! - KC