Saturday, June 02, 2007

I could get used to this

Date: June 1
Mileage: 21.4
June mileage: 21.4
Temperature upon departure: 63

You know, there is definite appeal to the lifestyle of a recreational rider ... heading out once in a while - when the weather's nice - bent on taking it easy, soaking up some sun and splattering a little mud on the cycling clothes that hardly see the outside of the drawer.

Deep down, part of me still wants to play the part of the hammerhead: pounding up mud-slicked slopes in the driving rain in an effort to convince myself - and my reluctant muscles - that somewhere inside this soft body is a person that still has a little grit in her teeth.

But there's another part of me that's glad to just enjoy mountain biking for the luxury it is, in the role of a person who can spend all morning chipping away at 21 miles, touring the entire Mendenhall Valley and guiltlessly embarking on trails that are little more than a mile long.

There are other roles I missed out on when I was a trainin' fool:

The role of a mediocre technical rider who would really, really like to be able to hit hairpin turns. Even though I realized that making this turn would require completely lifting the back wheel off the ground and pivoting it 90 degrees, I still tried it a couple of times - hoping that somehow the laws of physics would change.

The role of a caution-to-the-wind summer rider who can't believe how much &#@$ snow there still is below 1,000 feet, but took a couple of slushy spills trying to bomb through it on the downhill coast.

The role of a sightseer who spends a lot more time on break than is really necessary, and a trail guide who was stopped by and gave lengthy directions to no less than seven tourists.

These recent weekend rides have been vastly different from the ones I left behind - centuries that hugged the darkness on both ends, plowing through five inches of fresh snow and loneliness in a world that knows enough to go inside when it's cold.

And I'm not complaining.