Saturday, October 1, 2011
We've had several beautiful days this past week, with sunshine on gold-yellow leaves and the smell of decaying leaves in the air. Snow has begun creeping down the mountains. Despite the perfect conditions, I hadn't been on a bike since last Sunday. Instead, I've been resting a sore shoulder that has endured a busy summer of riding, shoveling and miscellaneous trail work.
This evening after the shop closed, I planned to meet a couple friends there so Jon could help them box their bikes for a mountain bike trip a bunch of us girls are taking to Utah. I figured I'd box my bike as well.
Before meeting them to talk about the trip & do the boxing, I decided to head over to Kincaid to ride on the new singletracks and see how the shoulder responded to trail riding. I didn't give myself much time and the new trails twist and turn so much that it was easy to lose my sense of where I was on the trail system. Occasionally I'd cross one of the wider trails that were designed for cross-country skiing and take note of where I was, or I'd take a turn and end up on one of the long-used social trails. What I really wanted to do was to not worry about where I was but to just enjoy that experience of exploring new trails while the leaves were beginning to cover them in their bright mosaic.
Eventually, I looked at my watch and realized I was to meet my friends in about 10 minutes, yet I was on a section of trail that was new to me, so I wasn't quite sure where I was relative to the parking lot. I rode past an old VW, long ago abandoned in the woods. At an intersection, I turned right but still wasn't sure. Then I met another rider and decided to backtrack and take the other option. Soon I was on the Jodhpur Trail, recalibrating my brain for a quick ride back to the trailhead.
I could have been out there all afternoon. Had I started earlier, I could have biked those trails one way, then the other, exploring every spur. I didn't want to box up my bike. The riding was perfect. But there's always a hitch. My front shifting was getting ever worse as my ride went on. I had to turn my shifter one click extra to move up from my granny to my middle ring. Then two clicks extra. I made a mental note to have Jon look at my shifting before I boxed the bike.
Good thing I went on that ride, for more than just my mental health, too. Turns out, the cable had frayed where it was attached to the derailleur. By the time my ride ended, only a single strand was left.
Once again, timing was everything; I was relieved I'd done the ride - and that I stopped riding when I did. And since I never did get around to boxing my own bike, maybe I have time for one more ride before we leave. You know, to stretch that new cable.