Sunday, November 13, 2011

Night and Day....

The wait for snow continues.

It's been another great week both on and off the bike. Night riding on Tuesday was absolutely fantastic and I was able to get in quite a few miles on my three hour sojourn into the forest. My running has finally kicked off and I'm starting to find my old running legs, slowly but surely. I just hope that my feet will hold up and that I can avoid the plantar fasciitis that has plagued my running for quite a few years.

You don't need daylight when you have a lot of lumens to light your way. It was great to just get out and ride at a nice easy pace. Riding the horse trails has proved to be much more work than riding the single track trails, which are have been rock hard and fast due to the drought conditions we've experienced. The horse trails present a different kind of challenge especially on a single speed Pugsley.

There was some bad news that did come out of this week of riding. On Tuesday night a friend of ours and very good cyclist took a header off one of the technical features on the single track. He separated his shoulder and fractured several ribs. Needless to say he will not be riding for quite some time. It is for this reason I avoid many of the technical features at the local trails. At my age, crashing really takes a lot out of you and recovery is much slower. Trust me...I've had my share of hard crashes this fall and still suffer from the aftereffects of my last one which was nearly a month ago.

Yesterday was another one of those stellar autumn days. Perfect for a nice relaxing three hour plus day in the saddle. A lot of hills, beautiful weather, and I was able to cover quite a bit of the park. The Pugsley has been my go to bike for the last month now. The others are collecting dust and the Pugs is my ride of choice.

As the fellow I ran into yesterday commented..."There is nothing like off season training on the heaviest bike in your arsenal." I got a kick out that statement. Take away the gears and ride it as a single speed and it's a whole new ballgame and one hell of a workout.

At one point in time during my ride I came across some horseback riders on the horse trails. Mountain bikers are discouraged from riding the horse trails because horses just do not like bikes and they can get pretty spooked. When I'm on the horse trails I always ride easy and try to be alert so I don't spook a horse. When I do come upon a horse and rider I immediately stop and dismount. I apologize for intruding on their ride and almost all of the time I'm greeted with "no problem" and a thankful appreciation for being respectful of the horses. The riders usually make a comment about the fat tires on my bike, smile, and ride away.

So, why ride the horse trails??? It's great conditioning and a good way to see the rest of the park. It's also a good get away from the single track, which for me can get somewhat boring after riding it all summer long. I'm also not a fan of pavement and neither is the Pugsley. The other reason is that at this time of year there are far fewer horses and riders on the trails. Also, with darkness now falling at 5 p.m., sunset opens up the entire park for night riding and I can go until 10 p.m. if I want.
As autumn moves on towards the approach of winter I'm anxiously awaiting snow. Hopefully I won't have to wait too much longer. There is also the likelihood that I will be adding another dimension to my fitness program. XC skiing!!! When I lived up north I was always out on the trails north of town. Lately I've been checking into getting myself some skate skis. My friends have been encouraging me to do this and say that skate skiing will ramp up my fitness to a whole new level. We just need to get some SNOW!!

I'm also looking forward to Thanksgiving weekend. My wife Patti will be flying out to San Diego to visit her brother Steve. I'll be heading north to visit with my family and ride through forests that are devoid of deer hunters with rifles. Until then the Pugsley and I will continue to enjoy our surroundings to the fullest.


KM said...

Which parks that?

Vito said...

Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove. It's a real gem.