Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Although I have recently made several attempts at getting inspired to blog, nearly a month has passed since I have connected any words to my thoughts. While life continues every second, it is sometimes hard to determine what is meaningful enough to share. While some people may blog for blog sake, I really don’t think all of what I do is all that interesting, nor do I have the writing skills to make these things seem interesting, but here is my humble attempt.
So what has been going on?.... I raced Mountain Creek, and was enjoying the last few lingering, easy, late summer rides in the woods, that were spent randomly riding into spider webs. If you have not experienced this, it may be because I have cleared them for you. It is not something I plan doing or even enjoy doing, but is more of my accidental destiny. When I am riding along, blissfully in flight, I only see the trail, not the fragile bug traps that the spiders have so intricately build across my path. Once a busy spider, and then whoosh, they are riding along on my helmet, soon to be tossed off in a new place.
Most the spider webs are down with weekend traffic, but by mid week they are all back up. As much as the spiders on my face creep me out, it is nice to know that they also have a use for our trails. I like to think that we share the trails, and if you ever look closely at a spider web, they are truly amazing. I am saying this with great respect as a trail builder. The webs have a purpose and follow a natural order. They are also built by hand with tiny hands or legs.
Then there was the MTBNJ Short Track, which I entered as training for Cyclocross that was coming in September. I took a very minor spill, but somehow managed to sprain my ankle. Three days on crutches, a week completely off the bike and 6 weeks no running or jumping allowed. So it looks like racing cross is on hold for me right now.
It could be way worse, and I am super stoked to be able to ride my bike in some form again. After a few weeks, I finally left my flat neighborhood and rode some hills in Harriman. I felt positively renewed with my climbing attitude since my last Harriman road ride. Many of us ride often, pushing the limits of our mental and physical strength, and we can get trapped in a mediocre place if we bypass needed rest. An injury can give us a chance to rest both mentally and physically. I am not sure if this was the case for me, but I enjoyed my ride and rode quite well considering the muscle imbalances I currently have from my sprain.
Excited from my road ride, I ventured out the next morning to do a mountain bike ride in the woods for the first time since my injury. When I arrived, I went behind a tree to pee and noticed the random pattern of the bark, and the pattern of the leaves on a tiny plant: seemingly random yet with a purpose and a natural order. As I walked back to my car, I walked through my first spider web of the day. On the trail, I noticed the colors of the forest had become more brown. Summer was winding down, and a few weeks off the bike had made it more noticeable.
The morning sun was low and lit up the spider webs in spots. Maybe I just needed to be injured to ride slower and see them, but they were quite beautiful. I was able to save a few by ducking under, but some just fused to my sweat.
Many have asked me about dealing with missing racing, and yes, it was disappointing to miss the first few cross races, but it’s the little things on my summer mountain bike rides that I miss the most when I am off the bike. Racing is about fitness, but mountain biking is about happiness. A healthy racer needs to be happy on the bike. I am currently working on happiness.