|Tilt shift miniature Ibis Mojo (yes, old school steel with the Hand Job).|
I do enjoy going on multi-hour epics, don't get me wrong. There's almost nothing better than starting the roll on of a four hour nothing but riding ride. Well, the nothing but riding part might not be wholly accurate, there are photo stops, hydration breaks, smoke breaks and bathroom breaks.
But the point is that there's something calming and special about setting off for a long ride, be it road or mountain. The adventure is just starting and it will unfold (hmmm, accidentally typed funfold first, new word, cha-ching!) just in front of your front wheel. It sometimes takes longer but, eventually, the cares of the day are left behind, the worries, the hassles, the arguments, the seething resentments and that nasty pile of dishes you should have done before leaving. Don't worry, they'll be there when you return.
But the promise and premise of the long bike ride is the ability to leave those problems behind you. One cannot, or at least I cannot, think about the last argument with my wife while also trying to pick a line to climb up or descend down through a technical section. It just does not work. And I learned that well on the one tough, technical climb early on in the Nisene ride. I had not gotten into the riding zone yet and, on a climb I can usually clean (that is, climb without stopping or putting a foot down) forced me to stop six or seven times.
Sure, some of that might have been the Vicodin fog I've been forced to reside in since last week when I had a fractured and dying tooth extracted. I've gone a few hours between pain killers and the bone ache in my jaw is manageable but its also constant and draining. The vicodin takes the edge off that ache and lets me think about and do other things.
Anyway, it sometimes takes a few extra miles to ditch the problems one calls "Life" by the side of the trail. But it does happen and you'll find yourself thinking down the trail ahead, taking in the natural splendor all around, hearing the rustle of leaves, the far, far off braying of the wild donkeys in the park, the rays of the sun glinting off dust in the air and making momentary light shows for you and you alone.
These days I usually plan on two loops of the track I've been running in Nisene. The combined mileage is somewhere between 10 and 12 miles with a good bunch of climbing and some very technical descents. But I had places to get to yesterday so I stopped after one loop but it was enough to break out of my brain trap this last week had gotten me in.
One other new aspect about my ride yesterday was that I headed to my gym which is close to the trail so I could shower up. I cleaned up, sat in the sauna for a few, washed off, sat in the hot tub for a few and then showered up. But what I'm doing while I shower is to have one shower head with regular hot water on my upper body and the shower head next to me set to the coldest water possible and that water is directed at my legs. What I'd really like is a cold plunge tank to climb into to push the lactic acid out of my muscles more effectively but I'm finding doing the cold water shower rinse has really helped me recover more quickly.
It is not the amount of miles in the ride
but the amount of ride in the miles.