The Best Yet


As I mentioned in a post not long ago, I’ve had a ton of great rides this season, but sadly most of them were done on the Boone cross bike or on the Farley fatty. In fact I’ve done over 225 rides since January 1st and only 17 of them were on singletrack and on my actual mountain bike. Well, ride 18 was worth the wait.

As I sat in the open rear hatch of the xB in the MMCC parking lot humming Going Underground by The Jam and putting my shoes on, another rider pulled in beside me. As the rider unloaded his Niner from his minivan he said “at least it warmed up to 42!” To which I replied “yeah, and at least it’s not snowing!”

A buckle of the shoe, a zip of the jacket and a click of the pedals and I was off into the woods.


As I entered the woods there was a larger tree across the trail within the first hundred yards; no surprise given the constant winds we’ve had this week. It’s been a while since I’ve had to hop a log, but I channeled all that past experience from back when I rode Boyce Park near Pittsburgh, lifted my front wheel, pulled up on the pedals… and then smashed my rear wheel into the log like a sledgehammer to drywall. Oops, I guess it’s been longer than I thought. After making the mental notes to not try that again anytime soon and to thank Napper for lacing up a strong wheel, I continued on into the foliage.

With that bit of Fredness out of my system I rolled happily along. The bike was feeling swell, my legs were feeling good, and my back showed no early signs of pain. More importantly my mind seemed clear and focussed and I was enjoying the ride.

I was by no means pushing the limits of my fitness or on track to set any personal lap records, but I was feeling good. Damn good and loving every minute of it. I dig riding my bike, whether it’s on the road, gravel, snow, ice or even the trainer. But I LOVE riding in the woods on my mountain bike. So when things like back pain and mental smegma get in the way of that enjoyment it leaves me more than a bit unhappy and I find myself avoiding the trails.

Yeah, and at least it’s not snowing!

As I happily rolled along I noticed some dark gray clouds just beyond the red, yellow and orange of the fall leaves. A few turns later the sun was gone and it was blowing snow. Yeah, the white stuff.


I wouldn’t go so far as to call them “flakes,” but they were white, they were frozen and they weren’t hail. Of course Michigan being Michigan, two minutes later the sun was out again; then five minutes later it was snowing again. Etc., etc.

Cool temps, blowing wind and snow were not enough to deter the joy that I was getting by rolling virtually pain free miles in the woods on my proper mountain bike. By the time I was done and driving home I even went so far as to entertain thoughts of no longer hiding behind easy excuses like age, waist size and blood thinners, and getting back to some semblance of “training” this winter so as to get back to some racing in 2016.

Time will tell if that was just raging endorphins or something real, but it was nice to think about for a while.


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