Saturday, August 10, 2013

Solo at SMBA

Mountain biking at SMB, somewhere on Bakckstretch.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
I really enjoy mountain biking with other riders. It's great for motivation, skill development and camaraderie. But I end up riding solo pretty frequently, mostly because I often have to fit my rides into a fairly narrow time window. While time was a factor Thursday evening, that wasn't the only reason I was on my own. It had rained hard during the afternoon, and just as I was gearing up at the trailhead, Round 2 started. Wet and muddy trails, rain, and nobody else riding. It was great.

With nobody else picking the route or setting the pace, I headed out to Backstretch, a long intermediate loop trail in the back portion (did you guess?) of SMBA's network, and then made my way back via Bee, one of the easier blacks. Yeah, Backstretch is "only" blue, but the route has more than enough challenge and obstacles to keep the riding interesting.

It wasn't until I got halfway out to Backstretch that I really found my pace and rhythm, but eventually my riding came together. No talking, no waiting, no struggling to keep up. Just riding. Rocks and roots alternating with smooth sections where the trail flowed fast. I wish I could say I nailed every climb, every drop, every obstacle, but I at least got my fair share.

The rain only added to the feeling of solitude. Just like on a long run, the outside world couldn't be further away. By the time I got back to my car, soaking wet and splattered with mud, I couldn't help but think... ski season can wait.