Why MTBing Rocks

I didn’t quite feel like riding yesterday, but convinced myself to run to Waldo for a quick perimeter loop. I cleaned the skinny and the new log-overs on Red. I bobbled but then clawed my way up the new and rocky chicane around where the 3-foot oak landed dead in the trail last May. I climbed Purple from the lake and twisted past that damn tree with no hint of trouble. Two years ago, I sessioned that spot about 15 times before making it once. I still didn’t make it up the rock garden on that trail, but I got further than ever. I’ll get it this year – I know how. 

Riding my cross bike in Hidden Valley last week I did a couple of dry, but off-camber and brushy ride-arounds, when in the past I’d have muscled through the mud instead. Maybe. Encountering a ten or twelve inch tree down on the trail, Ben dared me to hop it. Approaching slowly, I popped the front wheel over, then did “the move” to bring the back wheel along. A year ago, no. Climbing lightly out to the parking lot, I remembered my first time there three years ago when everyone else’s tail lights disappeared from view as I walked from fear of the rocks. 

If I’d been road riding instead, I’d have been wondering whether I sucked worse on this or that hill than I did last year at this time.


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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