Sunday, January 2, 2011

A little dirt on the tires

Last week the only exercise I got was an exercise in frustration.  I finally got my new bike and was excited to take it out on the trails while I was on Christmas break, only to have my two older boys (AKA babysitters) go out of town and my husband (who hasn't worked a full week in over a month) work every day that we were in town.  The one day he made it home in time for me to get out on the trails was the same day that the temperature rose, melting the snow and turning the dirt trails to mud.  Not wanting to be the person who rode through the mud and rutted up the trails for the other users, I sat home and sulked.  Once I got over sulking, I did take J. roller skating and swimming, but that was as active as I got.

He bought himself rollerblades with the gift card he won for selling so much Cub Scout popcorn.  Now he has big plans for us rollerblading together on the bike path.  When I suggested maybe we'd ride our bikes on the bike path, he told me, "I really think we need to focus on one thing at a time."
We spent New Year's Eve with family in Kansas City, so Saturday was spent driving, unloading the car, and putting things away.  Today, though, I finally got a chance to get out on the new bike for a little bit.    I wasn't sure what kind of shape the trails would be in.  I'd been watching the temperature all day as I ran kids to and from practices, and it had stayed about 32, so I was cautiously optimistic. 

Like I said, it was 32.  There was some wind, but it wasn't too bad.  Now, I've finally more or less figured out what to wear for a cold weather run, but I'm still fumbling around with winter bike clothes.  Today I went with running tights over bike shorts, and my lower half was warm enough.  I wore a long sleeved technical T with a fleece top over it, covered by my new jacket.  My new water-resistant jacket, which isn't breathable.  I was comfortable to warm while riding, but when I got home, the outside of my fleece top was soaked.  I'm not sure if that wicked away from my skin and then had nowhere to go or what, but it probably wasn't the best situation if I was riding longer.  So, I'm not sure what to do there.  I guess next time I'll try unzipping the pit zips to see if that helps. 

I'm lucky enough to live a short bike ride from some good (good for me, anyway) singletrack, so I rode over to check things out.  Most of the trails were still frozen, though I walked my bike around several soggy spots.  I'm still not real sure on trail etiquette, when it's ok to get muddy (other than a creek crossing), etc, and since I was there without a guru I erred on the side of caution.  I also erred on the side of caution on things like downhills, especially when they had a sharp turn at the bottom.

Or, um...just when they were steep.  Because I'm still a chicken.
I mostly took it slow and easy and focused on getting to know my bike.  It rode so much better than my hybrid on these trails!  I spent about an hour on the bike.  Just like the last time I rode here, I did get braver as I went along.  This is my biggest concern with adventure racing, though.  I can run, I can hike forever, I can paddle a canoe servicably, I can follow someone else who can navigate...but nobody can do the bike part for me.  And I really, really don't want to be a weak link.

We're lucky to have several different trails in the same area.
I'll do what I can to fill that hole in my "resume".  I'm doing a "Dirty Girls" mountain bike clinic (and not just because I like the sound of that, lol), and I'm going to get out on the trails every chance I get.  Hopefully, with experience, I'll improve and at least do my crashing in more challenging areas than in the past. :)  For today, I'll have to be satisfied with getting out there and finally getting a little dirt on the tires.



wendy said...

Nice dirt : ) Glad to hear you got a ride in. Personally, I like roller skating better...

Mike said...

Rule #1, no taking pictures while riding off road :-).

You'll be fine if you get out there as much as possible. Just practice shifting before you need to and looking a few feet ahead so you know what is coming up.

ShirleyPerly said...

I've done a lil off-road riding in my college days and think it is TOUGH, much tougher than riding a road bike in traffic (although perhaps less hazardous to fall on dirt than fall on asphalt and possible get hit by a car). I'm sure the clinic and more practice will make a world of difference. As for cold weather riding attire, I would suggest not wearing a water proof jacket. I have a Pearl Izumi shell that is breathable yet breaks the wind and is water repellant. The arms are also removable in case I warm up so that I can ride with just a vest on. The only bad thing is having it now means I don't have an excuse to NOT ride in sub-50 deg weather ;-)

Jill said...

I love the "Dirty Girls" comment...hehe. I'd be tempted to do something like that just for the name :). Now you got the mountain bike initiated with mud, that's a sign it's ready to race!!!

Love pic of your son rollerskating...I'm just wondering why you didn't join him??! :)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I hope you have tons of happy, healthy miles!! Can't wait to see where 2011 takes you!

TRI714 said...

funny. Lets take one thing at a time. good for you. You'll be fine after a couple of solid rides.

Kristen said...

You know me and dirt - can you take a picture when it's clean and let me know? I'll breathe easier.... yay, you!! I DID workout this morning at 4:30am, good start for 2011.... got the alarm set for tomorrow already. Thanks pocket buddy!

Patrick said...

2 things, first with only a two person team someone has to be the weak link, and second you should sign up for the Tracks and Treads off road biathlon coming up in March (5krun,10mileMTB).

Johann said...

Respect for you doing the mountain bike thing. I only run the trails and don't think I'll do the bike thing.

Luke said...

Congrats on your maiden voyage with the new bike! Just keep getting out there.

As the weakest link on every team I've been on, it's no big deal. If you have the right teammates, anyway, who have the same goals.

Most adventure races have only a small percentage of the bike mileage on single track. Very few races have more than 25% on trails. It's still a skill you'll want to develop, though, because it's just soooo much fun!

Can't wait to read about the Dirty Girls.

Jennifer said...

Greeting Secret Santa! I finally got home and got your sweet gift! How nice to try new things, I always buy the same flavors of gel so now I get some new ones to try! The ornament is sweet and the gift card will be used up tomorrow! Thanks! Now we can be blogger friends! Also thanks for the sweet card, I will be watching your marathon journey with enthusiasm! Cheers!

Cheeseboy said...

I'd love to get out and get going on the trails, but it was 6 here today. 6! As it is, I am stuck on my treadmill.

Looks like some cool outdoors you've got there. And when you said skating, I thought you meant ice.

Jim said...

Frustrating about the jacket. The first line on the Marmot website lists breathable as a feature of it. You might try opening the pit zips to.

Amanda@runninghood said...

You sound so tough iwth your mountain biking and adventure racing Kate! I am too scared of mountain biking and probably the same for adventure races ;) but I can just live through you when it comes to that tough stuff. :) Thanks for the great comment today...I will have to check out some of those blogs you mentioned! And yes, Jill's blog is great!