The Forehead Slapper

Yesterday was warm enough to ride, but the ground was frozen hard. “Hero dirt”, Jeff calls it. Chris and I snuck over to Waldo at 3:00 (Calvinist me had my 8 hours of work in by 2:00.).

We rode fast and clean. Chris has better skills, but I’ve got better lungs, so the space between us yo-yoed constantly. On the long climb up from the lake, I blew a steep, rooty bump I’d never cleaned anyway, but got out of the way fast enough to watch Chris ride it. That was a forehead-slapper. He took a line I’d never seen, going around the big roots rather than jamming his front wheel between them. I went back and rode it again and later told Chris, “It’s easy when I do it your way.”

That section had grown outsize in my mind so that I always came to it knowing I wouldn’t clean it. While the rest of the 7 miles was fun, that three feet, not even a bike length, is what I’ll remember. It took overcoming a mental block. That’s the stuff of mountain biking – Every ride has the potential to expand your mind.

About swampyankeecyclist

I'm Andy Engel, just a middle-aged, middle-class guy from Roxbury, Connecticut. I've been married to my best friend since 1988, and we have two grown sons. I like riding bikes, and my biggest accomplishment is the 180K D2R2. I own 5 bikes but my go-to rides are a 2016 GT Grade gravel and commuter bike and a 2016 Specialized 650b hardtail mountain bike. Additionally, I have a 2000-something carbon-fiber Orbea road bike, a 1990-something Specialized Sirrus that's my old dirt and commuter bike and which now serves as a spare and a trainer bike, and a 1985 Ross Mount Hood MTB. All but the 650b have Brooks saddles. I work from home now, but used to commute 32 miles round trip to work by bike year round. I was a carpenter and still love building things, but regular paychecks, insurance, and vacation time lured me into journalism. I've written a couple of books on carpentry, and I've been an editor at Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, and Professional Deck Builder magazines. Currently, I manage construction events at the JLC Live and Remodeling Show trade shows. Additionally, my wife and I run Transylvania Guest House, an Airbnb. Find us on Instagram. Come stay with us and I'll show you some great cycling.
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