There was a brief time, which some will remember, when I was at least ok at mountain biking. That time ended when we moved to Montana and I discovered that while that state has fantastic riding, it has even better a lot of other things. Western Colorado does have good riding, and in the last few months I’ve been taking it easy (I’ve reached my lifetime limit of concussions) and trying to get back in the groove.
There have been moments, fleeting ones, of what I can only imagine was my old level of skill and confidence. Like yesterday, railing down Mack Ridge on the fatbike, flying around corners and doing serious tire damage. The same bike harvested a thorn riding along the local drainage ditch with LB this morning, one large enough that when I yanked it the Stans in the tube would not plug, rather leaking out and weeping through a dozen new thin spots in the sidewall.
There have also been moments of lesser competence, like this afternoon, riding the Ribbon. The trail, distantly visible as the long sandstone slabs right of top center in the above photo, is one I’ve only ridden once before. Like then, I self-shuttled up the road, and like then, had a stiff headwind which makes steepish pavement climbing on a singlespeed hard to make efficient. I made it down upright, walking plenty of sections and enjoying the hell out of the riding. But the wheels came off 1.75 hours in climbing back up the Tabeguache to Little Park road, and desperate pushing was all I had left.
It got me thinking of that previous time, on the same bike (same wheels, same fork!) and what an insane amount of riding I did in one week. I remember the rides, even without having written them down, but don’t recall quite how I refueled and generally took care of myself well enough to ride 20-40 miles of tough singletrack each day for a week and then finish it off with the White Rim in a Day. A week like that unsurprisingly gave me my best bike fitness ever, and requires a specificity and long build up that I may never replicate again. I would like to get my descending arms a little more up to snuf, and perhaps indulge in a bit of more modern bike technology.
For those who clicked; after that last day the drivers window of the Xterra stayed up until it’s demise 5 years later. A source of amusement and embarrassment at banks and drive thrus, and a reminder to not worry too much about the transient thorns in life.