09 November 2009

Switching Focus

It seems like every other post this year has been about getting hurt, or coming back from it. I could do that once again, but frankly, I'm sick of it. So, enough for that, as anyone that has followed us knows that we have had a rough year.

Instead of getting frustrated after USGP Day 2 crash, I took a few days off, relaxed a bit, and got back on the bike again. It started with just commuting to work, and with the current weather and scenery, it was easy to enjoy every minute. My commute isn't spectacular but it does take me through some nice small streets with gorgeous old trees that wrap themselves around the street itself. They form this comforting tunnel around you and the road as you pass through, and make me forget about being in a huge city. So, the commuting was helping loosen up my hip again, and I began to stretch the commutes out longer and to ramble a bit more. These were some of the first rides in months that I didn't have a set goal for, or think about my Garmin/PT, and they just became therapy rides.

Once I was feeling a little better, the mountain bike came out too. I got my start in cycling on mountain bike and it still serves its original purpose well. Rolling through singletrack or exploring new territory clears my head like no other stimulus that I can think of. Its also great to get back on the trails with Mary; some of my first memories of her are on the trail, and all of them come rushing back when we've been away for a while.

Overall, the past couple of weeks have been filled with some soul riding. The Garmin has only been on the bike once, and it was mainly for guidance purposes. My mtb has had more miles on it in the past week than it did the whole summer. My commuter bike has been broken in well the past two weeks as well. Sometimes the joy of riding is obscured by goals, aspirations, and gadgetry; but I can say for the recent weeks, I have seen it clearly.

07 November 2009

Back in the Saddle, v2.0

I fibbed a bit last time I posted that I was "back in the saddle," but hopefully this time it's for realsies. I've had a medication switch to make it so that I can at least ride, and then I was referred to a specialist up in my home town of Fort Wayne who feels confidant that he can deduce the source. The cool thing about this is that Indiana has a wealth of phenomenal trails, so as we traverse the state, Aaron and I will get to ride some really great new places. The Hoosier Mountain Bike Association is definitely on top of their game, and I'm excited to utilize the fruits of their labor:
According to Brier, in 2005, the Indiana DNR had one mountain bike trail that was an experiment that had been on the ground for 10 years without moving forward. HMBA, after working with DNR to change property rules, has assisted in building trails in five state parks, as well as in numerous other Indiana locations.

"Where once public land managers viewed mountain bikes as more trouble than they are worth, now they welcome HMBA's assistance to build trails," Brier said. "While HMBA has great trail builders, they also have a great group of volunteers who make HMBA a well-rounded organization."

HMBA-run events include the Brown County Breakdown, the Midwest women's clinic, and kids and racer clinics. The HMBA includes advocates who attend public meetings across the state, and members who do the behind-the-scenes tasks to keep the 501 (c) (3) organization running and managing $400,000 worth of federal and state grants.
They've also got a really great forum that's to the point and contains a tremendous wealth of information.

For all intents and purposes, I've basically been off the bike now for about four months, which is the longest I've ever gone since I started riding a few years ago. However, I've ridden three times this week, and it feels awesome - mentally, anyhow. While in the saddle this week, I found myself elated when handling a techy section with much more ease than anticipated, as well as taking deep, calming breaths when tanking sections that I know I can ride. The positions on my bikes that we worked so hard to hone feel pretty awkward now, but I'm waiting until I settle in a bit more before I do any major adjusting because I know that my comfort on the bike is going to continue to change even in the next month. I'll also be selling my current mountain bike, and replacing it with something a little different... I'll be selling it with new XT shifters, brakes, and rear derailleur; drop me a line if you're interested!

I do think the time off allowed me to gain a better perspective on where I want to be and how I can get there, but it also gave me more time to do things like this: