It was turning out to be a lazy Saturday and somehow most of that morning had dwindled away with my baking treats for my housewarming party to occur in the early evening. Not to mention I had still been wearing my pajamas and it was late morning. Honestly? I had been feeling really fatigued and zapped of energy, due to the whole concept of my being a female that that happens on a monthly basis. I was barely scraping up motivation to set foot on the stationary trainer, but figured I better do something. Kristin and I had talked of going fatbiking up in the Van Peenen pines, but her schedule was undetermined Friday afternoon.
Then I got a text message from Kristin saying that she would be able to go biking for a couple hours. I had a long pause of “do I or don’t I?” and ultimately decided that I should. Perhaps if I go with her I will feel more motivated and actually not feel as bad as I thought I was feeling. We set up to meet at the bike shop around 1 p.m. and from there I started pulling out my gear from my closet and getting some extra socks on and such.
I had the t.v. on a music station and the next thing you know I was dancing around with my horrible dance moves (keep in mind, I dance terribly on purpose when I’m by myself) and having a grand time. One of my most favorite songs came on; I was in my padded bike shorts and upper body all layered up, fist pumping and gyrating my hips like a drunken Elvis. It was all part of “Josie’s Grand Warm-up Plan” and I was undeniably toasty and ready to head out into the cold temps.
There was a light and fluffy snow falling from the sky, turning Decorah into a slightly messy snow globe. The sky was beautiful but the streets were a bit messy, and I gingerly road by a man shoveling in the alley. I hoped with all hope I wouldn’t veer or fishtail and end up falling on my face in front of him or on top of him. Once at the shop Kristin and I got situated and Travis dropped us off at our traditional start point. It is pretty novel getting a ride in the big white truck; it actually increases the level of awesome by 80%
Kristin and I started off with myself in the lead; our plan was to take the left turn when we got up the hill to head to the East Pines. We successfully made our way up the hill, my lungs burning a little even tho I had used my inhaler. All was well and we had a short break for Kristin to take off her winter coat; she found she was warm enough with everything else on. I worked on making my balaclava feel less suffocating. "Here lies Josie, suffocated by her balaclava." What a way to go.
When we got to the East pines I just went in and started riding, I really started to feel better in an emotional and spiritual level. The fresh air, the freshly falling snow, and the beautiful sound of my tires moving over the ground made me feel full and happy. The light snow gave the most perfect amount of traction I ever experienced. I was elated! We had a ride though the East pines that went smoothly and perfectly. Being a beginner with off-road riding, I fell so completely in love with that first ride. I actually felt very confident and sure of myself in that particular moment. I was so happy I told Kristin "I could almost cry! That ride was so perfect!" It was just the thing I needed to show myself that I am not actually that bad of a bike rider, that my skills have improved, and that my confidence was building.
We decided to go to the West pines to see how they were, and they were not amazing but they were not as frustrating as last time. We greatly preferred the swoops, hills, and turns of the East pines and were happy to go back to them. Overall we did several loops through the pines, and even tho they were not all perfect, it was a blast. I text Travis at one point to tell him that this was the day to go. It splendid ride, the snow was perfect and we didn’t ride until we reached the point of utter exhaustion. I had little ice droplets on my eyelashes, the feeling of invigoration, and a lightened spirit. It was a beautiful time with a good friend, and I felt myself feeling a bit more secure with myself and my bike handling skills. I know very well that I have a long way to go in terms of mountain biking, but that ride in the pines made me feel like I could conquer the world or at least become a mountain biker someday.