Over the weekend Kevin and I mountain Biked at Bear Brook State Park in New Hampshire, the site of my first real mountain bike ride a few months ago. There were a few differences between that first ride and the ride I went on over this past weekend. For one thing, my first ride was on a borrowed bike. I have since purchased that same bike and don't feel quite as bad when that bike slams into the ground or into trees and bushes. For another thing, the bike didn't really slam into the ground or into trees and bushes all that frequently on this last ride, as compared to that first ride when I went home covered with bumps, bruises, and scrapes. I can see a lot of improvement, but want to be even better! I have never been considered a patient person.
I enjoyed the riding. The weather couldn't have been better. We started out on smoothly flowing trails with some really good climbs and a few obstacles that I could get the bike over without too much difficulty. For lunch we started up a difficult trail for just a short way and had lunch on some open ledges with nice views. I must have misunderstood, because I didn't think we would be continuing on that same hard trail. I just figured we'd go back the short distance we had come up that trail and continue on trails that I could handle. But after lunch, Kevin forged ahead and, ever willing, I followed.
This trail had sharp uneven rocks sticking up all over the place. I pushed the bike for about 50% of my time on that trail. This is something I haven't had to do much on past rides on easier trails. Kevin rode right over and around all the deadly looking rocks, leaving me muttering and swearing in frustration. This trail was so rough that I was thinking it would be almost impossible to run on, let alone bike. I can't remember the name of the trail, I refer to it as the Sucky Trail. Eventually we got off of it. Kevin asked, "that was a little challenging, wasn't it?" And I replied, "not challenging, it sucked." I am determined to go back there next year and ride the Sucky Trail with a minimal amount of time off the bike and no muttering and swearing.
The next trail, The Chipmunk Trail, was "challenging" for me and I enjoyed that one a lot. I really do enjoy a challenge... to a point. This one had some tough sections I had to concentrate on and work at getting the bike through. I was doing pretty well, so when I saw Kevin gently lift his front tire up onto a natural stone step and then easily lift the back tire up onto it as he continued along, never missing a beat, I decided I'd try to do the same. Now, I know I can't get my bike up onto something like that, but Kevin made it look so easy I had to try. I was so surprised when my bike actually got up onto the step, I didn't know what to do next. So I lost control and started riding off down a bank into the woods. Luckily, I remembered the brakes and used them. Looking up, I saw Kevin had chosen that moment to stop and wait for me and he was a short distance up the trail looking back. What do I do in a potentially embarrassing situation like that? I find it is most effective to just smile and wave, as if to say "I did that on purpose."
We finished up on "little Bear" which was a ton of fun because it was easy and fast. Just what I needed to end the ride on a positive note. I think Kevin has a good feel for that sort of thing. He likes to challenge me and make me work a little, but knows when enough is enough. Plus he probably didn't want to listen to me muttering and swearing the whole ride home.
Today was a beautiful three hour run on snowmobile trails. I have recently re-discovered these trails. I used to run on them about 15 or 20 years ago when I lived in South Hiram. They aren't exactly the same as I remember them being. They seem to have been re-routed. But the woods are just as nice as they were back then, very quiet and peaceful. There are some open areas for the sun to get through and a good variety of trees in various stages of growth. I love running these trails. My legs felt very good and it was an absolutely gorgeous Fall morning. I had just done my last long run three days ago, but I have a tough work week ahead and today was the day I had time for a long one this week.
I haven't been on my road bike in quite a while. If the sun stays out, this afternoon might be a good time for a leisurely scenic road bike ride.