This was an interesting day. Woke up to about 1/2" of snow covering everything except pavement. I guess the ground was too warm. Have a nice big bowl of slow-cooked oatmeal and cup of hot tea.
I gave myself an hour to pull everything together, bike and gear. It's been a while since I drove to a winter ride. There is a whole pile o' crap to pack and get into the car. Back seat was reserved for the bike. Have to take both wheels off for it to fit. Layers, jacket, windbreaker, gloves, tights, sunglasses, helmet, pump, water bottles, food, skullcap, shoes, covers and so forth. It took the whole hour.
I stopped long enough to get a cup of coffee @ JBC and made my way to Indiana and Deam Lake. They had more snow and must've been colder as it was stuck to the roadways once I got to Hwy 60. There were 9 of us that showed up. A couple of familiar faces and the rest are new friends.
The hardest part of doing a ride like this is there's really no opportunity to warm up. First trail head goes straight uphill. That's the warm-up. Now, at one point I thought I was over-dressed, but once we got to the top of the knob I decided I was properly dressed. The wind was bonechilling as was the draft from the bike on the descent.
We crossed 3 creeks. The first one I hit the bank and stepped into the creek soaking both feet. There was one very steep hill I walked and another one earlier that I just couldn't seem to keep the front wheel on the ground so walked some of it too. It's tricky learning a different bike. The shifting is definitely different and will take a while for me to get accustomed. I'm still nowhere near smooth getting into pedals from my cx bike.
The single track was technical in some places and tough but very fun. I'm just slow. There was a decent sized log across the road the others road over and so I thought I could too. Didn't know enough to pull up on the front wheel first. Since it was at a slight angle to my front wheel, my wheel slid across it, didn't go over it and I went down. Hard onto my left shoulder. I'm thinking I've done some serious jambing the ball into the socket or something. It's talking to me even now. I laid there for a minute. Donald asked me if I broke anything, to which I said no. At first I wanted to cry, but that would be so stupid. Stand in the woods with someone I just met crying like a baby with plenty of trails to ride. So I dusted the snow off my ass and got back on the bike.
Much of the ride is made up of fire roads. Some are covered in gravel, many are just dirt. Several are torn up into rutted messes from the horse that use them. This type of riding is going to require me to build more strength and muscle. It's fun, it's exhausting. Also, most mountain bikes have smaller wheels, therefore you are spinning more than a road bike which keeps my heart rate elevated. Two and a half hours was definitely more strenuous than 4 hours on the road.
The one thing I'm disappointed in is that I started wheezing on the ride home. It seemed my respiration was much more intense on this ride than it has been on any since October. I feel a little fluid. Damned asthma.
Not sure what tomorrow will bring. A friend said road ride in the morning weather permitting, but think they are doing something else instead. The guys I rode with today have already said they're doing a repeat tomorrow. I was the only woman on this ride. Seems to be a theme this winter. I don't care. I just want to ride.
Have to return the bike this week. Another item on the wish list now