Thursday, June 25, 2009

Riding Routine

I've been getting into a good riding routine lately. Part of it is that ski season is over, and when ski season is over, we ride our bikes. Part of it is that I LOVE LOVE LOVE mountain biking. Part of it is that I LOVE my new mountain bike, a Specialized Safire. Part of it is that I don't have to run as much as training for adventure racing since I'm not racing at all this year! And part of it is that I can't run much, as I am recovering from a case of Plantar Fasciitis, so I need to ride to get some exercise.

The Gurlz Ridez started up in April; I started getting out at least once a week for these rides most Thursday nights, dodging the excessive rain we got this spring The Gurlz Ridez range from beginner to advanced; sometimes the riding is easy and sometimes the riding is challenging. Regardless, the rides are always fun and social. I love seeing beginner riders take their riding to a higher level. I am inspired by being part of a large group of really good female riders on the advanced ride nights. I have found a great group of like-minded women through these rides and they have become my closest friends. The Gurlz Ridez are a good thing!

The group of advanced gurlz ready to tackle White Ranch (photo cred Tracy Emmanuel)

We used to hold the Gurlz Ridez on Tuesdays, but switched to Thursday to free up Tuesdays for the weekly Redstone ride. The Redstone rides really push me. I am one of the faster riders on the Gurlz Ridez, but on the Redstone rides, I am toward the back of the pack and working hard to hang on! Not many women come on these rides and most of the guys who ride are very, very good mountain bikers.

Me and a bunch of guys on the Redstone ride - there is another woman hiding behind me! (photo cred Jesper Kristensen)

Dave Chase, owner of Redstone Cyclery, hosts these weekly rides and generally holds them up north in the Roosevelt National Forest. There is a lot of technical terrain up there, not to mention a lot of opportunity for massive climbing; in a 3 to 4 hour ride, we typically climb 4,000 to 5,000 feet over 10 to 15 miles. Despite the low mileage, the group moves fast! I am confident these rides are improving my riding, both uphill climbing (my bane - I have very good technical skills but want to be faster!) and downhill. I am worked on Wednesdays!

Sample section of not even the most technical of trails (photo cred Jesper Kristensen)

Profile from last Redstone ride - after a warm up loop, we ascended from 8,600 to over 10,000 feet, and then we got to go down it in the dark - Whoo Hoo!

The last couple rides have run up against nightfall, so I have had the opportunity to use my lights and do some night riding. I LOVE night riding. There is something special about being out in the woods in the dark, whizzing down a rocky trail. It forces you to flow over the terrain and ride loose. Often, the group gets spread out and I find myself all alone on a section. Oddly enough, the effect is peaceful and not frightening.

Getting dark - almost time for the lights! (photo cred Jesper Kristensen)

Jesper does the Redstone rides with me (or I do them with him???). There are faster guys there for him to chase, so I think the rides push his skills too. We are lucky that the two of us can ride together at this level; not many couples can. The area we ride in is beautiful, offering incredible views of the mountains in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area; I love that Jesper and I can share in this beauty.

We have been riding on the weekends too, at least one day. Some of these rides have been LONG all day events. Some have been exploratory - finding new and secret trails to ride. Others have been more social. Last Sunday we did a fun ride with two other couples, once again up in the Roosevelt National Forest on the Sourdough Trail. Loads of climbing (over 4,000 feet) over 12 miles on a beautiful sunny day with good friends. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday!

Me riding through a rocky section on the southern portion of the Sourdough Trail (photo cred Jesper Kristensen)

Although I am anxious to get more running in too, I plan to keep this up - mountain biking 3 or 4 times a week - up all the way until ski season starts again. I love my riding routine!


Primate PANZER said...
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Kim said...

I'm so happy you've got the riding bug and have been able to get out so much more. Me...I've got the running bug lately and have been logging in a lot of miles. Hope to get out on the bike with you soon!