Thursday, May 3, 2012

More Biking!

Although I've been a slacker as far as the weight lifting goes, I have been keeping up with the biking.  On Tuesday night, I hosted the women-only ride at Lake Crabtree, it was a small showing this week - only 5 of us but it was still fun.  I ended up doing about 9.2 miles total at a very leisurely pace of 7.8 mph.  It definitely was an "easy, easy" workout.  I can only afford to do one of those every week otherwise I will end up not really exercising at all.

On Wednesday, I pushed it a bit harder by going on a mountain bike ride at San Lee Park.  Now when I first joined the biking community in North Carolina, San Lee was my third or fourth ride with a group and it kicked my ass. It still kicks my ass but I am very happy with how much I've progressed with my skills, balance and stamina on the trails here.  If you want to feel something like what is up north in Amherst, MA, ride San Lee.  It's rocky, challenging and has many tight turns.  I ended up doing about 9 miles there at a 6.2 mph pace.  Pretty slow but better than my old pace!  Plus, I had energy left and that means next time I have to go faster.  My goal is to bike San Lee once a week.  The overall biking strategy is try something different every day.  So Mondays will be my Umstead hill ride, Tuesday is the girls' ride, Wednesday San Lee, Thursday is off unless I'm feeling super energetic and Friday is the wild card.  Saturday will be dedicated to epic or semi-epic rides (meaning 20+ miles and mostly on singletrack).  Sunday shall be a day of rest unless I bailed on Saturday's ride.

I love mountain biking, there is no better feeling that rolling your bike through the forest and feeling the adventure of it all.  I've thought about it and I think mountain biking satisfies that need to do something crazy/tough, I have some friends who are into the "mud" runs (i.e Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, Spartan race, etc.) because they like the obstacle courses and the break in the monotony of running (their perception, not mine, I love just running through the woods, I don't need to slog through mud or climb a wall and jump down).  And the more I think about it, mountain biking has the obstacle course in situ, you ride good trails and you will find rocks to huck off of, logs to hop over, skinnies to challenge your balance skills, and steep hills to bomb down, and more!  Is it for everyone? Probably not.  Is it easy to clean all the obstacles? No, but that's the fun of it and that is what keeps it from getting boring (again for some people).  I've been biking on trails for over 10 years but I would say that I have only been a "mountain biker" for the last two years because I've finally learned some skills and mountain biking has become a sport for me.  The vague difference is that prior to 2010, I couldn't do much other than just pedal and get over very tiny logs that my bike would just roll over, now I can conquer 6-8" logs, I can ride some skinnies, I can maneuver through some rock gardens, I've hucked off some rocks and I love bombing down hills.  I feel stronger and more comfortable on my bike and my bike handling skills have just come a long way.  But like most anything you want to be good at, it takes time, it takes those 10,000 hours to become great and you have to invest in the time in order to really enjoy this sport.  Happy riding.

Growing as a mountain biker: conquering small log piles

Nothing is better than being out in the woods on your bike!

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