Fortunately, this isn’t a post about going riding during hunting season and being shot at. It’s pretty serious though. All last week, my family was taking turns being sick with the flu. My wife was even supposed to go to a conference this past weekend and didn’t because she was sick, in spite of my staying home with the first sick child to try to keep her away from the illness. She ended up getting sick and not going. All the while, I stayed healthy. Which meant that rather than sitting around the house this weekend, or entertaining the kids, everyone else stayed home and recovered from being sick, while I went riding with friends. It’s worth mentioning that many of them were recovering from a winter spent away from their bikes, either by choice or due to weather. What’s a lot of hooigans who would ride with me look like?
So this lot was riding with me Saturday. We did more talking than usual, much of it between gasps for air as we took breaks. The range of riders, skill levels, and gear varies wildly on these rides, so sometimes it’s interesting to check out what’s going on. For the record, from left to right, that’s guy who could be retired on a Trance 29er, a much younger guy on an old Trek with no suspension, one of our military boys on a Trance 26er, and a 1998 ProFlex. Behind the ProFlex is one more rider, on a Trance. I personally was on my Anthem this day because..umm…there was a reason I rode that bike that day, but I don’t remember what it was. If you think you detect a pattern, you could be right. Two of the riders on this ride work in a bike shop that sells Giant bikes.
We went out and did our usual “beginners loop” because this ride, in addition to being a social ride, is also a family ride, and a beginners ride. It starts out with two loops around a relatively easy trail, where riders can get pointers and gain experience on single track. After that, usually the beginners or less ambitious riders will drop back out to the parking lot, and others will continue on for a loop or two of slightly more advanced riding. After that, usually more people drop out (these people tend to hang out in the parking lot chatting with each other and inviting other people to join the ride next time) and the remaining people will tackle the two more advanced loops in the park. On this particular day, that meant everyone but me went back to the parking lot, and I made a big loop and finished by stringing together a series of downhills I affectionately refer to as the Roller Coaster. But before that happened, I took off and got way up in front of everyone else, so I could snap a few pictures of the guys coming down the back side of the loop.
It was a fun ride, and I always enjoy the crowd that shows up for it, although it was a relatively small turnout this time, and I’m looking forward to everyone getting back into the swing of this ride as the weather gets better. Unfortunately, the 4 miles and change I rode Saturday didn’t quite get it done for me, and I was itching for more. Fortunately, the rain that was forecast for Sunday held off until after 5pm, so I was able to take the SS back to Rotary park (the location of the Saturday Social, also the only place in Clarksville, TN to mountain bike – for now) and put in a 7.5 mile tour of all the trails in the park. Now, that ride I felt. In fact, I could still feel it this morning (Tuesday) when I woke up. Although the ride felt good, being able to feel it for two days is a sure sign that I’ve got a little work to do before I’m back in shape for good riding weather.