Mountain biking. It was the vessel that brought me into cycling so many years ago. I've spent countless hours in the woods, piling up thousands of miles of singletrack over the last two decades. The passion for it has come and gone over the years as I spent time with other hobbies and activities, but I've always came back to mountain bikes. Some of you know, others don't, that the last year has been a struggle for me. Coming away from a bad accident with major injuries has left certain parts of my body in a state of permanent degradation. I've tried to fight through the pain and get myself back to where I was, but I now realize that I may never operate at the same level again.
I want to keep cycling. This isn't me quitting. Its just going to be an adjustment. I'm still going to mountain bike too, just less of it. The multi-day recovery after a mountain bike ride isn't something I can handle multiple times a week now. Maybe I can continue to strengthen myself enough to ride like I use to but not right now. I've decided that I will embrace a "shift" or sorts, a "changing of gears" if you will. Events like the TillsonBurn and the long rail trail rides I've done in the past are helping pique my interest in gravel / adventure type riding.
I've had to retire my trusty Norco CCX, as my back won't agree with the reach / drop of that bike anymore. Thus, I've recently revamped my RSD Catalyst from an upright commuter bike to a lean and mean all terrain adventure rig. The addition of some crazy looking Soma Condor handlebars, barcon shifters, fat gravel tires, and my tried and truePower saddle, have made this a mile eating machine that can handle everything from pavement, to gravel roads, all the way to singletrack. Focusing on this type of riding will be much easier on my broken back / knee / shoulder situation and the reduced recovery time will keep me riding more. Hopefully this helps in my recovery as well.
I've found myself lately spending time on Google Earth, looking at old dirt roads, logging roads, and how I can connect them through old trails in the woods. Its brought back some of the sense of adventure that mountain biking brought to me those first few years where everything was new and each trail was a trip into the unknown. I've already put together some epic looking rides to do this year, all of which are mostly loose plans where I will wing the details and ride by "feel". Its time to take the path less traveled and find some spontaneous adventure along the way, and hopefully continuing the healing process.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.