Things I love about the Bike 2006 – #1 – Mud

So, let’s start this again. Last year, I completely failed to finish what I started, so this year I’ll work from the bottom up, dig. Not sure where we’ll stop.

#1? We’re starting with Mud.

Tonight? Home in time for supper. The wife, my mom, and the boys headed out this morning and picked strawberries. Wow. At least there’s some good coming from all this &)(#$$! rain we’ve been having this spring. Nutmeggers? I highly suggest you find your friendly neighborhood pick-ur-own berry patch and spend a little time enjoying nature’s bounty this weekend. Never before in my life have I had strawberries even close to these.

Supper was salmon, spinach salad with white cheese, walnuts, strawberries, and strawberry vinaigrette dressing. Dessert was hand-dipped chocolate covered strawberries out of the freezer. The freezer was just slightly longer than necessary to harden the chocolate, but ended up being brilliant since the berries weren’t completely frozen, but at the squishee/slurpee/frozen coke stage. Yum.

We played in the yard for a bit, and, as Mom’s been taking bath duties, I strapped on the MTB to do a spin on the neighborhood singletrack.

Remind me that I need to carry a saw up the trail this weekend – there’s a couple of trees down right at the start of the trail. Not big enough to have fallen all the way down to the ground, but too big to just push off the path.

Anyways; biffed once on the first climb, but found the groove that’s been missing from my riding for a while on the first descent. Did one out-n-back, looked at the light situation, and decided that I could squeeze in another one without running out of light. No problems at all with that – things were clicking (in the metaphorical good way, not the bad oh-crap-are-my-bearings-about-to-seize way), and I was seeing the lines on the trail instead of the rocks and the endos.

The new, paranoid me was starting to freak out, thinking that the common thread in every big crash I’d ever experienced was that feeling of eupohria just before I found myself butt-over-teakettle on the ground. As a result, I managed to ride straight through the middle of a mud hole.

As soon as I realized where I was and got the bike under control, fear turned to joy. The squish of mud around the tires, the feeling of cold, wet earth splattering the back of my calves, and the smell of mud on my upper lip took me back to being 7 and taking the BMX back in the woods behind Amy Briggs’ house. I managed to stop making “Brrrroom, brrrroom” dirtbike noises, but the feeling was there.

I ended up biffing once more on the ride home. Absolute classic – I caught a branch with my back tire approaching another mudhole. Bike stopped, Billy kept going (kids, notice how consistiently I apply Newton’s second law of momentum even at risk to my own life and limb). Over the handlebars, through the air, and into the dirt. Which was cool, ’cause there were the biggest f’n deer tracks I’ve seen in my life literally under my nose.

Yes, I love mud. Always have, always will.

* Note – before the trail nazis reproach me for encouraging erosion, neither of the puddles I rode through are on slopes – they’re collecting basins, and riding through them really doesn’t accelerate runoff. Though, if I were really pure in heart, I’d haul in a load of gravel to fill them in with…

Go drop condolences on Mark and the rest of the Canadian RBF. Some jerk made fun of hockey in Mark’s comments.