I’m at a point with my local riding that stuff is starting to get boring. Part of that is my fault for not shaking things up more and part of it is the frequent necessity to lead a band of Dirt Hombres of mixed fitness and riding skill levels on group rides. Managing a group is much easier on trails you know well and they have seen before.
Recently I had a group ride that nobody showed up for. Riding solo I took every turn off my familiar trails riding where I had never explored before. It was super fun and got my juices flowing again.
So when the Wednesday group ride ended up small and made up of experienced riders it seemed like a good time to try some more exploring, but with company this time. Birth Control is a double black diamond trail that I pass often, but had never been down before. So it was time to check it out.
We started riding up it which ran the risk of many steep unrideable section heading in the wrong direction, but as it turned out it was still pretty fun going uphill. As a bonus it gave us a chance to scope out the tech section from the bottom so next time when we ride it the “normal” way we’ll have a good feel for the best way down.
Although we got a little lost [I had an outdated version of the trail map in my pack] we eventually were spit out into familiar territory.
One of the trails I explored on my solo ride was Organ Donor which at triple black diamond is the hardest trail I’ve been on. It only has one crux move that really gave me an OMG moment, but it’s do-able with some scouting and some finesse.
I’ve already got in mind a nice double loop that incorporates Birth Control and Organ Donor in a tough, but spicy mix of techy good times.
I’m happy to report that after plateauing for a while my riding is cranking up a notch or two. The more tech I can ride the more lines open up and things can stay fresh even in areas I’ve ridden a ton like Hartland.
Having a new mountain bike helps. Not only because it rides great, but also because it makes old trails feel new and encourages me to push my boundaries. A lot of the trail riding game is about breaking through mental barriers that limit our potential.
Having friends who want to get out and shred is the other key ingredient in smiling lots on my bike. Getting to see the lines other people take and being able to share the ups/downs is great.
I’ve been playing around with a new prime lens [Canon EF28mm f/1.8USM]. It’s so much faster than the old kit lens I was using that it allows for shots that just weren’t possible in the past.
Not having a zoom requires more planning and getting fewer shots per setup, but it’s worth it.
Not all rides allow for photos, but when they do I’ve got a good crew who doesn’t mind hitting features again and again in the name of mountain bike porn. 😉
The dogs don’t always understand why we stop and ride in circles, but they usually find something to chew on or to dig up while they wait.
Life is dirty! Life is good! 🙂