Last night provided me with the opportunity for my fourth mountain biking excursion. My left shoulder recovered remarkably well and my right knee and hip weren't bothering me at all so I decided to join up with the three amigos of Ed, Mike, and Sean for another outing in the park. It had rained a bit Wednesday night and Thursday morning so the trails were kind of sodden on the lower parts of the hills. The upper third was in pretty good shape but once we switched hills the downward slope was a muddy mess; more on that later.
This week we decided to go up the hill the way we have come down it in the past. It turns out most people take this opposite route and that we were oddballs for going the way we were. We hadn't actually climbed one of the mountains via a real trail before instead we had gone up small dirt/gravel roads or actual paved streets. It's a lot harder to go up a single track path that is wet and muddy. I don't think I have ever found myself breathing so hard or had my heart thumping so hard as I did when we were trying to climb the hill. Now, don't panic mom - I'm ok and I took breaks; plenty of them! But, when we were moving and working it was a hell of a work out. Every break was a little slice of paradise.
On the way up Ed and Sean stayed out front (Sean is a beast at climbing hills) while I trailed in third and Mike took up the rear. Mike started off the ride not feeling so well becuase his hamburger from lunch just didn't like all the exertion so he was uncharacteristically slow. Thankfully, about 1/2 way through our day he seemed to bounce back and was riding strong again.
This week we rode for almost 7 miles which is a little less than we normally do but it was the hardest ride we have had by a lot (even harder for me than that first one). It wasn't technically harder it was just more physically exhausting. There were a couple really technical spots (to me) where I opted to walk my bike down the hill as opposed to pushing myself too hard - I really didn't want a repeat of last week. This cautious approach worked pretty well though once I was cautious only to find out the hill I was being careful about had changed quite a bit since last week and it was easy to ride down so that involved me getting off my bike, walking four feet, and then getting back on once I realized what had happened. Thankfully nobody gave me too much crap about it.
Once we switched hills we still had to ride up a gravel road but it wasn't too horrid - exhausting but not too much street (boring) at least. Then we hit the trail for the downhill and it was a thick, sloggy, mess. The mud was 4 inches deep at least and there were piles of nasty wet leaves all over the place to help drag your bike this way and that. The path down was about 8 feet wide so it wasn't too bad until my front tire got stuck in a rut and I was drug toward the left edge which consisted of a good 50' dropoff. I hit my brakes and kept on sliding through the mud towards my impending doom but saved myself at the last minute by putting my feet down and grabbing a nearby tree. Granted, I was only moving about 1 mile per hour at that point but even then it was hard to stop due to all the mud. If necessary I would have jumped off my bike and let it take the fall alone but I'm glad it didn't come to that. Once I got straightened out the rest of the downhill was smooth sailing.
After the downhill we had a little cross country and then we were back to the trail around the lake. That is my favorite part - it is narrow but generally flat or with small swells that you can really cruise through. You still have to pay attention so you don't clip a tree (the path is very narrow) and so your feet don't hit upthrust rocks and roots but overall it is really just fun. There are even places where Ed jumps as we go through. I tried to jump on one of them but only managed to get my front wheel about 2" into the air. Thankfully Sean and Mike were both far enough behind me to not see that lame effort. Even better I didnt' crash and then have to admit I crashed while jumping 2" into the air. That would have sucked.
The worst part of the ride was that whatever was bugging Mike's stomach at the beginning was bothering mine the last 1/4 of the ride. I felt like utter crap when we were done though I'm sure that's due in part to me not drinking enough on the trail. I need to make a more focused effort to drinking while we roll and not just when we take breaks; perhaps I will end up getting a camelback. I did just order a new water bottle but perhaps a single bottle just isn't sufficient? I dunno. Either way I felt like totally crud when we were done so I just chilled at my car for about 45 minutes before I tried to drive home.
We also got a Wii Fit earlier in the week. Each day we use it and it weighs us and does some other tests before we do any of the exercises. Last night I just did the weigh-in/test and it said I had lost over 4 pounds in the prior 24 hours. I'm thinking I lost a lot of fluid on that bike ride; but hey, my BMI was looking great! I only need to lose 5 more pounds to get to the ideal BMI for my height. Sweet - bring me dehydration and a better BMI. Oh, well, maybe that's the wrong way to go about it.