After watching my first 'cross race, then riding out to Sauvie Island last weekend to watch some of the Kermesse, I think I'm falling.... for 'Cross.
After much trepidation, (and thanks to Matt for making my old mountain bike into a semi-decent 'cross machine), I showed up at the free 'cross clinic at the Hillsboro stadium on Thursday. After learning and practicing dismounts, remounts, etc. and riding around almost until it was too dark to see, I rode up next to Matt. "What did you think?" he asked. "Oh. My. God." I replied, "I've never had so much fun in my life!" Okay so it was a bit over-dramatic, but I felt like I was 12 years old on that bike. The only problem I have with dismounts is that when I unclip my left pedal, it usually clips back in, and then when I unclip the right and pull it through, I have to tweak my left foot to get the pedal out. So I'll have to try loosening the tension on the pedals a bit and maybe some WD-40. Anyway it was a blast!
I took my bike to Bend with me. Once I arrived at the Devil's Lake campground and set up my tent, I couldn't wait to get on my bike (especially after driving for 4 hours!) and ride around on the trails. I practiced dismounts, run-ups, remounts, etc. for about an hour while the people I was camping with watched me in disbelief. It was so much fun. I was pretty careful as we had a long difficult climb to do early the next morning so I didn't do anything crazy (not that I'm really confident enough to be capable of anything even remotely qualifying as craziness on my bike at this point).
Yesterday I went mountain biking on the river trail with Jennifer & Alyssa. I haven't done that in years, and honestly it was pretty cool to navigate my fat-tired bike (with no front shocks) around big rocks and over big tree roots and up hills on narrow trails. It's really beautiful along the Deschutes though, and I'm sure I've hiked there many times, but it looks really different when viewed from a bike! A few times when I didn't shift in time for an uphill or turn sharply enough, I had to unclip, but no biffs and I only had to lay the bike down once. On our way back, the dark clouds I had noticed halfway through the ride (thinking we had timed it just right and it would maybe just sprinkle on us a bit) just completely unleashed a torrential downpour on us. We cruised back to the car on trails that instantly turned into large mud puddles and poured ourselves into the car.
After that, a hot shower, dry warm clothes, soup & grilled cheese in front of the fireplace was in order. Then, it was time for a big cup of coffee - my first pumpkin spice latte' of the season to celebrate Fall - and a long drive home. Drove 190 miles in a little over 3 hours. Not bad!
I love mud.