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Lessons in Mountain Biking: Cleaning a Trail
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Lessons in Mountain Biking: Cleaning a Trail

I went on a paved trail ride Friday afternoon and regretted my decision; it was a windy, grey, and cool day that left me feeling blah. During my massage earlier I had imagined myself riding IPTV again; visualizing the ride and seeing me accomplish what tripped me up the last time. I found that this is a good thing for me and helps bolster my confidence. Actually, visualizing myself accomplishing the trail and playing the ride back in my head I feel helped me the last time.

As I rode I felt frustrated with the wind; I had thought about trying out some of the river trail, but I figured I’d do what I said I would do per-trail riding. Ride on the crummy, windy days because no one knows how the weather will be when the century ride happens. If I can make it through the tough spots I’ll make it through anything. Well, hopefully.

I looked over at the trees and felt surprised at how I felt! I wanted to be out there in the woods, trying the trails and seeing what I could do. There are benefits to riding in the woods such as being out of the wind. I love being in nature, so that’s another benefit. Mountain biking also gives you a different body work-out than the paved loop, and the added benefit of learning more bike handling skills. After my loop ride I got home and prepared myself for Travis and our afternoon ride. I was dressed and ready to go before Travis even got home. He had a pretty darn hilarious look on his face when he saw that I was ready to ride as soon as he set foot in the door. 

Last time on the original IPTV trail the rock spot got me, well, more like the edge of the trail got to me. This time I went up and over the rock and up the trail with no issue! I didn’t even think about it and once I saw I was doing it I felt pretty impressed with myself. We continued onward and eventually found that the log that had been in our way previously was now gone. Yeah! I didn’t have to stop to get off my bike and carry it over the dang thing. It was a flawless ride up IPTV, so I can say I had my first dabless ride or that I cleaned IPTV.

(Riding dabless-riding a mountain bike trail without putting a foot down. "I rode dabless today" or "I didn't have to dab out there." Cleaning a trail is similar in concept-not having to put a foot down. "I had a clean ride today!")

After IPTV we went from the fire road of Van Peenen to Gunnar which I did pretty well but not dabless this go-round. What got me was the tree-root area where you have to ride high to avoid the roots and I saw too late that I didn’t have a choice but to go through. I did manage to make it in-between but at some point after that I got myself hung up or something and had to walk my bike up the steep incline that took you to the pines.

I talked to Travis about my feelings and what I thought tripped me up, and I’ll admit I was worried that he was disappointed in my not completing Gunnar perfectly this time. It was frustrating for me, but at the same time you don’t always have a perfect ride. I got over it and started off into the pines. I also let out another confession-I hate riding first with Travis. I’m actually alright taking the lead with paved rides if I’m riding with friends or during the winter when we went fatbiking in Van Peenen. However it’s the concept of riding in front of Travis that makes me feel a little “eh.” I know it’s good for me to do as he can observe my riding to give me pointers. Also he prefers having me ahead so I can set the pace for what is comfortable for me.

In the pines I’ve found that I’m pretty comfortable and am apparently going faster than I did last time. I felt a bit zippy and enjoyed that I felt confident enough to go a bit faster. Only one time did I have an “eh” moment and that was when the sun thwarted my sunglasses and blinded me. Of course it was right where there was a big rutty spot where if I hadn’t missed it would’ve resulted in un-fun situation. All was well.

When we finished our ride through the pines we went back down Gunnar, which I rode better minus one spot where I ended up having to stop and start again (when coming to one of the downhills) aside from that moment I felt really good about the ride. I felt like the side of Gunnar didn’t scare me as much as it did the last time; that made me happy. I was able to stay focused and not worry so much about the height thing (even tho I still worried a little.)

Back on IPTV the ride was going great and I learned a lesson in taking a banked corner properly. I was feeling brave and had gone around the corner pretty fast, however, I had gone farther up than I should’ve so rather than a smooth transition I somewhat launched my bike off. The bike and I landed upright pretty hard and I was thankful I didn’t smash my lower half down on my top tube! There was a realization that I could’ve had an accident and after that I made the decision “Next time I’m going to go slower so I can learn how to do this right.”

The rest of the ride went as expected and I'm finding I'm really enjoying this. I've discovered that mountain biking isn’t impossible, perhaps I’m not a natural, but I’m really liking what I’m seeing out there and from myself!

More about mountain, bike, fun, dabless, clean

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