Sunday, September 14, 2008

let go and let bike

today I had my first real mountain bike experience in over 3 years.
my intensive training period over, I now have freedom to try new experiences without feeling tied down to a certain number of miles to ride each week. the other day bill asked if I wanted to go for a mountain bike ride sunday, and I thought, why not?
here are some good reasons why not:

* I'm still in recovery and tired (I plan to use this for a long time).
* I haven't ridden my mountain bike (except to the gas station once) in years.
* I've never been on a good long trail ride. my longest ride was in moab ~ not quite the same thing.
* in general, bill's idea of "easy" and my idea of "easy" differ by a factor of about 50 percent.

the challenges started when I loaded my bike in my car: it is HEAVY. then I drove to bill's house, where he changed my slicks out for my regular knobby tires. as he was doing so I was inspecting my bike, noticing all the dirt and grime on it, and the fact that there were no little brake pads to squeeze against the tires. hmmm. then I looked at bill's bike, and sure enough, he had brake pads. I looked again at my bike, and at the empty place where on bill's bike, the brake assembly attached to the fork. hmmm. fortunately, at this point bill said, "wow, you even have disc brakes," which saved me a tiny bit of embarrassment, as I had just been prepared to tell him I wouldn't be able to use my bike because one of my daughters must have broken off the brake assembly. his comment, however, helped me understand why my bike had these shiny round flat silver things in the middle of the wheels.
are you starting to understand how much I know about mountain biking?
bikes loaded, we drove up to Silver Lake lodge at Deer Valley, then hit the trail. hmmm.
bill graciously offered some advice: always look to where you want your wheel to go; and just relax and let your bike do what it's meant to do. let go, and let bike. ah. I figured I needed to let my bike and God in on this one: let go, and let God and the bike get me through it.
I'm not so good at letting go.
which is good, because that phrase is not to be taken literally. I held on for dear life this afternoon, and I'm sure my arms and shoulders will be telling me all about it tomorrow.
I came to a few decisions while I was holding on and letting go and praying to God this afternoon.
first, I'm about 20 years too old to be doing this.
second, I'm too female to be doing this.
third, I am, at heart, a roadie.
I tried.
and I may, someday, try again.
but how many times have I written about new, smooth, fresh asphalt and how much I love it? there's a reason for that.
have I ever written about how much I love bouncing over rocks and gravel, having tree roots catch the underside of my pedals, and being scratched on the arms and legs by beautiful, errant branches?
I have not.
there were moments of pure beauty and joy on this afternoon's ride; I cannot deny this. we paused once in a sea of aspen, so dense and strong and tall it took my breath away. we sat on a bench high on an open ridge of the trail, looking out over too many valleys to count, gazing down on park city, deer valley, snyderville, jeremy ranch, silver summit, and more, in a single view. I brushed against wildflowers, I inhaled loamy earth. I was part of the trail, winding in and out of the mountainside, moving from sun to shadow and back. you aren't part of a trail on a road bike: this experience is not transferable.
I've re-hydrated, I've downed my ibuprofen, and now, I've recounted part of my trip here.
there is a possibility that I will do something like this again.

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