Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 9: Masochism Rears Its Ugly Head

After spending numerous days during the 30 Days of Biking challenge where I only got a few miles in on my bike each day, I was ready for some serious riding... I was ready to get all masochistic and inflict some personal pain!

I decided to head out to my local trail system and tackle one of the most serious rides that we have. This route comes complete with the highest concentration of challenging singletrack and the most elevation gain all in one wicked shot... and it is over triple the length of the average route I had been pedaling over the past week.

So I began like I would any other mountain bike ride: with a single pedal stroke. I followed it up with a second, and I cranked away on the pedals and climbed and climbed through the beautiful North Georgia forest relishing in the solitude, and in the sweat of my exertion.

Ridgeline singletrack.
There are few things in life as rewarding as conquering a long, steep climb on your mountain bike... and there are few things as tiresome:

After an hour and a half of almost constant ascending, I finally reached the high point of my route and was ready for a short break and a surge of calories. I took some time and had a snack and basked in the glow of my achievement.

My trusty steed resting on the summit.
While I enjoy the challenge and athleticism of a climb, I ride my mountain bike mainly for the adrenaline of the descents. Bull Mountain definitely knows how to provide the adrenaline fix I need! A couple of high speed berms-into-rock-gardens later and I was flying higher than a hippie in Amsterdam!

Downhills are not the place that I tend to stop and take pictures, but I did pause to take this snap shot of the gorgeous rhododendron lining the trail. In my opinion, a great ride includes stiff, challenging climbs, killer descents, some technical spots, and some beautiful areas that cause you to just pause and take notice. This was definitely one of the latter. 

At the junction of leading into the lower section of the Bull Mountain trail, I caught up with a couple of guys up from the city, and stopped to chat with them about the different trails around North Georgia. We stood there and talked for literally over 20 minutes, and then eventually we continued on with our respective rides.

One of the many other great things about mountain biking is the chillness and the camaraderie that almost all mountain bikers embody. I have never before been a part of a community that is as laid back as the mountain bike community, and now I have no reason to look for another!

Young and I.
Later on down my descent, I met a guy who was just finishing his ride. I was about to dive off of the gravel road and into another singletrack descent when he asked me how that section of trail was. I paused to answer, and it turned out that he recognized me and is an avid GRT reader! I stopped and we had a fun chat about riding in North Georgia and mountain biking in general, and before I left he asked if he could get a picture with me. Here you go, Young! 

I have to be honest and say that this is the first time that anyone's ever asked to have their picture taken with me... I thought it was pretty cool, even though I'm just your average guy who likes to mountain bike and write about it. It was a great encouragement to know that there are many riders out there who read my work and find my trail reviews and other information useful and entertaining. In my eyes, one mountain biker who thinks that what I do is valuable outweighs a thousand other non-riders and whatever their opinions may be of me and my writing.

So maybe this whole photo thing will become a regular occurrence? Who knows. But if you ever see me on the trail, be sure to stop me and say "what up!"

I recently won this Garmin Forerunner GPS training watch off of a contest on Singletracks.com. I was shooting for first place, which was a weekend of guided mountain biking for two in British Columbia, but this second place prize is definitely a great consolation! This was my first ride with it and I was just beginning to figure out how it worked. Despite having had plenty of opportunities to use it since, there are still many features that I  haven't been able to fully explore yet! 

However, it is easy to use, measures distance very accurately, and provides tons of cool statistics for later analysis. For instance, my top speed during this ride at Bull Mountain was 28.8 MPH. That's pretty fast for a relatively rough singletrack descent!

I returned from this longer ride feel physically tired and mellow, but mentally and emotionally recharged and ready to tackle the challenges of life with a whole new vigor!

Your Turn:
What do you love about mountain biking?


Post a Comment



Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for Singletracks.com. He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

About This Blog

Mountain biking, plain and simple. Trail reviews, ride reports, and philosophical musings induced by delirium from grinding up way too many vertical feet.

Read More

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP