Monday, August 17, 2009


After many weeks of intending to get my ass on the trail for a little bit of mountain bicyclery, I finally managed the trick, up at our place in Vermont. For this bit of trail-oriented dering-do, I enlisted the companionship of a former pro racer, who, fortunately, has long since given up the hammer. We agreed, during a telephonic planning session, to roll for an hour or so, over a smooth, flat fire road, that hugs one of the local lakes. All was to be calm, controlled and relaxing.

We drove to the trailhead, discussing the loathsomeness of driving-to-ride, and then disembarked, squidging our way out of the parking lot and onto the former railway bed that serves as a hiking/biking trail in summer and skiing/snowmobiling path in winter.

Chit chat ensued, as we made few demands on the give and take of our front forks. I could have carried a cup of coffee. I might also have been able to complete a paint-by-numbers, such was the smoothness and steadiness of the trail.

Then it turned upward.

"No problem," I thought. "We'll just crest this little rise and then resume relaxing rollery."

But the fuckin' thing just kept going up, bending to the left, going up, bending to the left, going up, bending, up, bending, up, ad absurdum. Thankfully, my traveling (travailing?) companion dispensed with pedaling early on, and instead applied a technique I call ride-n-walk. You ride until you hit your own personal redline. Then you get off and try not to vomit. Then you walk the bike, until it's flat enough and the bile has receded enough to go again.

We did that for about an hour, then we rode the descent we'd earned, and that was, as the kids say, "the balls."

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