Thursday, January 06, 2011

Misery Loves Company

It always seems that this time of the year, when it is dark and cold and the conditions are poor, that motivation is hard to come by. During the summer it doesn't take much if any encouragement to convince yourself to go out and ride your bike. Why would it, it's warm and light outside. However, it is not the summer, it's the start of the winter and as mentioned, it's dark and cold and the trails pretty much suck. Did I forget to mention that there are wolves? You get the point.

Riding into the cold darkness.

Now is the time when it is incredibly important to have a really strong support group of like minded individuals to prod and coerce you off the couch and onto your bike, even in the cold darkness. I recognized this fact years ago and have done my best over the years to keep a constant stash of cohorts that I can rely on to brave the elements and keep the pattern of continual exercise going. I firmly believe that this is the key not only to weight control but physical and emotional satisfaction and stability through the long and often relentless New England winters.

A bare spot on the powerlines at RT3/128.

Last night I managed to wrangle by normal riding crew of Scott, Ben, and until he threw his arms up in disgust, Keith together for what alone and by oneself would have been a mostly miserable intolerable ride, but as a group was a brutally fun ride. Riding on nights like last, on trails like were rode was the type of thing that you used to do back when you were just getting into the sport of mountain biking. You did it because you loved it and you simply couldn't get enough of it. Sure, the trails were bumpy, pockmarked ice ridges at the very best and stretches of wheel sucking Styrofoam into which you firmly sunk at the worst, but you were still out there riding your bicycle, in the woods.

Follow the leader; riding icy crud one handed taking pix.

This was the type of ride where you fought for every mile, foot and inch of trail that you laid claim to. Small victories, ever so skillfully won were sweetly savored. With the application of ungodly amounts of power, balance and fortitude you could manage to maintain forward momentum through all but the deepest snow. The going was slow but you were still going, none the less. The night how relative any particular thing can be. That which you think is terrible can easily change and be looked forward to once something truly much worse comes along. We rode sections of trail where we found ourselves reflecting fondly back onto the icy bumps and ridges in the trail for at least it was packed and seemed like pavement by comparison to whatever current torture had befallen us.

Having ample light makes all the difference.

Anyhow, we ended up having a great ride. What could have easily been a negative experience was flipped around into a positive, fun and beneficial experience. Of course Cathy had prepared an excellent dinner to which everyone contributed, while we were out riding and we all sat around, socialized, drank beer and at Christmas cookies. A good night indeed.

1 comment:

Norm said...

Good write up Mike! I managed a fun night mtb ride as well in Bolton. Totally agree with your sentiment...embrace the cold dark nights on your bike with your buds rather than sit lazily on the couch! Beats the hell outta riding indoors!