The past week and holiday weekend was not as conducive for riding as I would have hoped: there was travel to Kalamazoo and back for B’s soccer tournament amongst other time eating activities. With that I found myself rideless since I rode dirt last Wednesday, but after a good night’s sleep on Sunday night, and a lazy Memorial Day morning around the house processing the hundreds of photos I took at the tournament, I finally got out for a ride; another ride on dirt, real dirt… singletrack dirt.
My plan was to hit the trails at MMCC again with the PrOcal and attempt to ride as much dirt as I could; meaning I hoped to do a full loop of all the trails there, including a new hunk of trail that adds roughly 2 miles to the loop, and brings it damn close to being a 20 mile loop.
The temps were warmer and drier than they were last week, and I knew that a full loop might not happen for a variety of reasons: back pain, hip pain, obesity, laziness, etc., etc. Even though I didn’t take my camera with me on this ride (pic above is from last week), I still planned to stop on occasion to soak in the woods, and let my back recover when needed.
With each completed trail section I found myself getting closer to my end goal, but I was also tiring, getting a bit sore, and out of water 1, but as much as I wanted to bail and take the campus road back to the car, I pushed on and completed a full loop. I’m not 100% certain, but between Monday’s full loop ride and last weeks partial full loop, I MAY have completed more singletrack miles in 2017 than I did in all of 2016. Sad.
Because I didn’t have my camera I of course had a moment of saying “Why didn’t I bring my camera??” when I rounded a corner and saw a doe walking ahead of me with her fawn treading right behind her. The fawn was one of the smallest I’ve ever seen, and couldn’t have been more than a day or two old. I stopped so as not to startle it, and just watched as it trembled and staggered down the trail and into thew woods on its wobbly, new to the world legs. Its mother took off a bit down the trail and popped into the woods on the other side of the trail. I felt like a bully interrupting such an amazing scene, and rolled slowly down the trail so as not to do any more harm, hoping that the mother was circling back to rejoin the small fawn. With that little Soiled Wonder of Nature™ moment out of the way I continued on, and finished up the last two miles of the ride.
Back at the car, I was soaked with sweat, covered in beer flavored salt, and out of water. I was completely stoked! Yes, I used to race 100 mile and solo endurance mountain bike races, and now I’m stoked to complete a 20 (?) mile loop of singletrack. F*ck it, at least I did it. While I have lost all real desire to ever race my bike again, I would love to take on some longer adventures on my mountain bike again, and doing rides like this are the first step towards that happening. There was a little bit of back discomfort, but nothing so severe to make me quit, or curtail my want to get back to the trails again as soon as possible.