Photo courtesy of Dan Kissam.
So Sunday was the first time I ever went on a mountain bike ride. The team organized an outing to Wompatuck State Park. I borrowed Emily’s full-suspension bike (since she has multiple mountain bikes but can’t ride all of them at once). Emily was on her cross bike. Tate got a single speed that Emily had fixed up after finding in a dumpster. Tim referred to it as “the BMX bike of mountain bikes.” Sexy Dan was on Mr. Shreddy the All-City Macho Man cross bike. Paolo was on his old-school 90’s GT with the splatter paintjob and triple-triangle geometry. Kristin was on her pink mountain bike crushing everything in her path (seriously that bike is really heavy). Erich and Tim were on their respective mountain bikes (sadly I do not know enough about those bikes to say anything cool). Tall Aaron was on a bike with a green frame that probably had a saddle about up to my shoulder (definitely a barrier in me attempting to ride off with it due to my magpie syndrome regarding green bicycles).
Some peeps from Hubway joined us, so it was like a meeting of the Hubs. I got a compliment for my Green Lantern kit and was rather ashamed that for whatever reason at the moment, I couldn’t remember the whole Green Lantern oath:
In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light.
When I put on my kit, whether it’s the Green Lantern one, my Hub Team MonsterTruck or any of my other jerseys, I feel like a superhero suiting up to save the day. It helps me cultivate my bike persona, the one who is brave enough to go out and do new things no matter how crazy or potentially dangerous, as long as it’s fun.
Dirt paths that were similar to what I was used to in cyclocross set me at ease and then TREE ROOTS AND ROCKS EVERYWHERE. Sudden drops. Logs in the middle of the path. I found myself often asking “is this rideable?” Or just going “NOPE” and bailing off the bike, walking it down/up. Well, if I want to improve my handling skills at all for next cyclocross season (or even for cornering on my road bike), I knew I had to at least try to ride the stuff that scared me.
When I finally ignored that fear and let the bike monstertruck its way through the forest, I realized why Emily loaned me the full-suspension bike. Thing can run over anything and everything. This was probably the best way she could have made my first time on a mountain bike as not-scary as possible. There were a couple of times when I nearly went off the path into a tree or something, but eventually the loaner bike and I became friends… but not before I nearly pitched over the handlebars after hitting the brakes (apparently I didn’t learn my lesson after Night Weasels last year) and gave myself a rather nice bruise on the inside of my right thigh.
My entire first reaction to going downhill on a curve and then uphill on some rooty stuff:
At one point, one of the Hubway peeps got a flat on her cross bike. Four people were on the side of the trail sorting it out. I wonder if there’s a joke that opens with “How many cyclocross/mountain bike riders does it take to change a flat?” Feel free to suggest a punchline in the comments! The best one will get a high-five from me at the next #cannolifriday.
We got lost on occasion, which was ok because this means adventure and exploration. We had to be kind of careful to avoid any areas where there were still potentially land mines (such a well-known fact that there’s a race named after it). Still, it made it easy for us to regroup (although I shed a bit of my fear, I was still going a bit slowly).
Two hours and 9.2 miles (which at times, felt like much more) of getting rad made us rather hungry, so we went to Crow Point Pizzeria for lunch. The amount of food in some of the individual orders could easily feed a small army. Paolo had a chicken strip dinner that he needed assistance finishing. My fettuccine alfredo was enough for that lunch, dinner that evening and I’ll probably have the rest of it for either lunch or dinner tomorrow.
At any rate, quite a full day. My shoulders are sore (does that mean I was doing it wrong?) and that bruise on my right thigh has turned a nice shade of aubergine (I’ll spare you the visual this time). Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Pain can be a great teacher in the right context. The lesson I learned: Mountain biking is really fun.
Ride your bike!