Friday, 25 October 2013

train less, ride more

It's the time of year for adventures, for trying something new and finding new ways to do what you've already done. Children start new school years, Trees get rid of their outdated wardrobe and go minimalist,Farmers pull up crops,  Russia has revolutions (or it had one once), girls in Southern California consider leaving the house with more than 10% of their flesh covered, shops sell off their shorts and fill up on sweaters, Germans drink beer and eat sausage (actually they always do that). There's a change of season in the air and it's a time for reflection on the summer gone by, planning for the winter to come, making the most of the last of the good weather and preparing for the first real cold.   It's also the time of year to eat pie.

Realistically the first paragraph of this post was mostly specious bull**it apart from the pie, that's REALLY why i've been doing all these long east county cyclocross adventures, well the pie and the views and the being outside and the unique opportunity to be totally alone in the wilderness with my facial hair. I'm embracing my inner mountain man and, in the absence of a mountain bike i've been using my CX rig for some fantastic adventures.
Boy, bike and beard alone together

I've raced cyclocross before but this is the first time i can remeber fully taking advantage of the CX bike to really have some great adventures. The cross bike covers ground more quickly than a mountainbike and is more familiar than it's flat barred, hydraulic brethren to my dyed in wool roadie constitution. Unlike a road bike i don't have to go where other people want to be (i.e. where there's tarmac) and i'm free to explore. 

Dirt ride #1 went off largely without incident, not only did it occur without flat, fall or failed navigation it also included an exemplary slice of pie. So exemplary in fact that my friends at crank cycling have decided to convene an event over the same course with mandatory pie next month, i may have found my ideal sporting challenge. Having completed a 4 hour dirt adventure Shaun was kind enough to drive the cross bike home while i logged a couple more hours on the road bike. Any potential Manorexic benefits of the above were then offset by the attempt i made at a California burrito speed consumption record. as the photo below shows, i didn't even take off my helmet, you can never be too safe. 

Before, during and after 

With exploring in mind we recently took a trip to Julian where we set about getting entirely lost. We didn't think we were lost, we maintained an incredibly macho stance about our exact location, we looked at maps and nodded at each other, we orientated things and at least once we looked at the sun to determine North. We felt extremely satisfied with finally having used all the useless knowledge we gained with the scouts years ago ( i can still do the stupid three  finger thing as well). We remained entirely sure we knew exactly where we were, and, as it turns out we did have a pretty good handle on where we were (thanks akela, you taught me well). What we didn't know was that where we were was NOT somewhere we wanted to be. 

We lazily breezed along fireroads past rusted illegible signs and old broken down fences of the type you see in national parks. We stopped and i tried to sneak up on a deer (i'm not quite sure what i planned to do, ride it?). We cruised some more and bombed a fire road descent, coming to what looked like the end of the trail we looked around for a sign, i rode about 50 yards ahead and looked at the painted side (facing away from us) of a small post, what i saw is below: 

Right about that time was when the bloke in the Orange jumpsuit appeared, took a  look at us and began gesticulating and making noises. I'm normally a chatter and not one to judge people for wearing brightly coloured clothes but this time i made an excption, i shouted something along the lines of "we're in a ducking prison and there's a ducker in an orange suit running towards us" (in the interest of SEO i have switched two letters in the previous sentence, guess which ones and you can go duck yourself). My buddy looked confused but he managed to absorb and comprehend the situation pretty rapidly, either that or he was overcome by a desire to ride really hard across some rocks, onto a singletrack trail, down a gravel slope and onto a road without turning around, braking or consulting a map. 

Having escaped the incarcerated we briefly intruded on a school summer camp in a way that only two sweaty men in spandex can. having stolen water from kids in the desert we headed off towards the car.

It's been a pleasure to be getting outside again ad rediscovering the pure joy that it is to go fast and be slightly out of control, to skid around a corner with your foot out and to bunny hop onto a dead log jsut to watch it shatter on the bloke behind you. I've done far too many road races without the chance to stop and climb trees and this is the time of year to do that, and eat pie too. Get out, play bikes, turn off your powermeter and eat some pie! Failing that just do the pie bit.  

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