PhD’s in the Mud

17 Feb
Larry licking wounds from his bike and himself

Larry licking wounds from his bike and himself

Mud2-17 ftbenmud2 

When I last posted a training column I encouraged all of you to keep those trainers handy. What I meant to say was…., keep them handy for evening training during the week. Darkness comes on too quickly for those getting off work at 5 pm or later, so you’ll still need that trainer. But on the weekends, get outside!

Yes, it was cold this weekend. Nonetheless, Brian, Larry and David joined me for a moderate ride on the trails at Ft. Ben on Saturday. Dr. Wilkes is to be commended for his willingness to get outside his comfort zone – that being the warm confines of his home training studio and those unrelenting Sufferfest videos.

Known for his aversion to cold weather riding, Dr. Wilkes shattered that image and then some yesterday, taking on the 25 degree temperature with aplomb, not to mention the technical, off-camber with steep drop offs, and sometimes slick trails – ON HIS FIRST EVER TRAIL RIDE!

Our ride was not without Newbie humor, however, as Dr. Wilkes was overheard on more than one occasion to shout, ‘OMG, what are you guys trying to do to me?! I want my rollers!!’ And Dr. Wilkes wasn’t the only one in the group to fall. In fact, only Brian remained upright the entire ride.

Practicing their synchronized cycling routine, Drs. Stevens and Wilkes upended at the exact same moment in one spot on the trail, legs up in the air turning invisible pedals. And yours truly escaped major embarrassment by slamming into the side of the cliff after a rapid descent that abruptly turned onto a narrow precipice with a steep drop off. Rather than dive into the ravine, I dove into the side, collecing a healthy dose of mud and dirt onto my leggings and ego.

After the trails were conquored, Dr. Wilkes acknowledged the temperature wasn’t so bad and it sure beats riding the trainer for 90 minutes. When all was said and done, we were out for nearly an hour and 45 minutes with some quality work being put in on the ascents. I’ve included photos: Larry licking the wounds from himself and his bike; and the group of us in podium pose.

Today was actually colder than yesterday so I could not get any takers for a road ride. Brian was willing to ride the trails again, so off we went for a 2-hour trail ride. (Ok, I admit, I rode my trainer for an hour this morning before going over to Brian’s. Yes, yes, keep that damn trainer handy for weekends, too.)You’d think with colder temps the ground would be more solid, but that was not the case today. The sun shone brightly through the leafless trees, hitting the trail just right in some spots such that frost and snow melted into the ground, turning it to a bit of a mud bog. We had to abort our ride early due to mud clogging up in my brakes and between the wheel and frame. See middle photo.

Several other riders pulled out of the woods about the same time we did, suffering similar fates with locked up wheels. Even so, it was fun being in the woods again, allowing nature to provide the workout, absorbing the sun, and not feeling one bit cold despite the frigid temp.

Race season ramps up in a week or two, with Hillsboro Roubaix being only 5 short weeks away, so don’t let the temps keep you inside on weekends any longer. If you’ve got an off road bike, use it. Your bike handling will benefit, your upper body strength will improve, and your lungs will adapt to the colder temps we often face in March racing.

Racing blogs will begin soon.


One Response to “PhD’s in the Mud”

  1. Dan February 17, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    You guys think you’re tough for riding and crashing in the cold and mud? I survived two fully packed airplanes with seats built for hobbits, flying to Tallahassee, Florida today. Dan

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