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Musings from a mountain biking addict on the ebb and flow of riding
by Sarah Hansing
First, the good news: I can still fit in my cycling kit. I know it may seem like a small victory, but I was skeptical at best, and very very grateful for elastic and lycra’s stretchy qualities.
Prior to today, it had been over a month (33 days, to be exact. 792 hours, if you want to translate it into how it felt) since I had gotten to pedal my mountain bike on some real live honest to goodness singletrack. Because life happened. The same way it happens to us all: First, the holidays and the family time and expectations and over-commitments I make. every. single. year. Maybe I help “celebrate” this most joyous of seasons with an extra drink, or a cookie or three more than I would usually have. And maybe there is also cake involved.
Then comes the New Year! Huzzah! I resolve to get back on my bike starting Jan 1, and ride my way to health and happiness and fitness… Except the stupid alarm clock that goes off on January 1 can just shut the hell up, because I have some un-celebrating to do, before I even think about going for that epic ride I planned.
Next comes the sickness. I mean that in the most literal of ways. It’s cold and flu season, and many of us—myself included—were blessed with the sniffles and snarfles and coughing… all of which translate to a lot of soup, a lot of sleep, and not too much motivation to get out there.
But then… Oh glorious day! Enough energy to pedal! Perfect dirt! Blue Skies! Only grossing out my riding partner a teeny bit with my residual coughing and hacking! Today was not a graceful day for me, necessarily. Strava gave me those new token “good job” ribbons that all participants get, and I have nothing to really brag about… except the fact that I was so happy, I got caught belting out a song and giggling as I rolled down the trail. Probably more than once. Fine. At LEAST 4 times.
I’m happier than I’ve felt in 792 hours, and it feels fantastic!
Which brings me to the great news: Mountain biking will ALWAYS take you back! Even if my cycling kit DIDN’T still fit, my bike still thinks I’m pretty. Even if I’m pedaling slower, I still get to ride the trails. It’s okay to suffer a little (or in my case a lot) more on the climbs. It’s okay to breathe a little harder than you’d like, and move a little slower than you prefer. Because the joy is always there outside, waiting for you to come find it and maybe sing it a song or two.