I should have practiced my violin tonight. I really should have. Instead, I found myself out on the canal, in the translucent light of a dusky sunset, on one of my mountain bikes, riding intervals.
I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately. I have delusions of riding another mountain bike race.
It all started at the beginning of July. Maybe I was inspired by the Tour de France, or maybe July is so deeply etched in my mind as the month that I have to start training up for fall bicycle rides. Before I was into motorcycling, I used to ride some of the long bicycle tours/races. Around here, it doesn’t start to get cool until October/November, and that’s when the riding season gets going.
I didn’t intend to be training for anything, I was just riding. I “found” the canal as a riding place that was easy and close, and on which I could do laps. Yes, it was super-hot, but I was sick of almost everything else, even Zumba® and going to the gym. BTW, I got so many injuries out of Zumba® that I had to stop it.
I’ve also gone back to weight training at the gym because it seems to benefit my body more than almost anything else, and of course, I always do Bodyworks class, as I have for the last 10 years, which is core strength training. All this fitness training came together last Sunday when I went mountain biking in Payson and found that I felt really good!
Part of the enthusiasm is because I got to ride different trails, which was rejuvenating. I love the local network of trails, but I’ve been riding them so long that I am intimately familiar with every pebble and rock along the way. After a while, even favorite trails get tiresome if you ride them too much.
I haven’t raced in 10 years. I quit because my body got tired. I raced five seasons, and it was a lot of work, not to mention a few injuries. In a normal season, there were eight races, three weeks apart, at the peak of mountain biking’s popularity. It meant that you raced one weekend, the weekend after that was (maybe) a down weekend, the following weekend was pre-riding the next course, and the next weekend after that was racing. This “cycle” (pardon the pun) kept up from January until June. Each race was a good hour and a half of “red-lining,” in other words, full out from start to finish in sometimes rough, technical terrain. By June each year, I was exhausted, but I kept going back year after year for more. I was reasonably successful, and I loved (and still love) riding mountain bikes so much.
After five years, though, I was tired and tired of it. So, I left it behind, and as the years went by and I had no desire to go back, I was done. I still kept riding because it is so enjoyable to me, and I am good at it.
I found out about a new race, which is coming up in September, and it is a one-time thing. I think I am more excited about finding new singletrack up north where it’s cool. I don’t know why I started to think about racing again, but maybe the idea of training up, inspired by the Olympic athletes, was the catalyst. It remains to be seen if I will actually have the courage to get out and race again – I’m comparatively old, and I might be too slow to go up against 20 and 30 year olds – but we’ll see. I am going to pre-ride the course in a week and a half, and that will be the determining factor. The worst that can happen is I say to myself, “what were you thinking!?!?” or, I could say, “hey, I don’t see too many people making it through the technical parts like I can” and go for it.
Either way, it will be fun and I can ride some different singletrack. My main mountain bike is at the bike shop for a tuneup as we speak, and I may take the other racing bike in soon as well, just so I have choices on race day.
Oh, did I say that out loud??