Today I rode singletrack for the first time since I broke my collarbone in the WORS race at Lake Geneva way back in early September. A month after the crash, my doctor permitted me to resume road riding but not mountain biking. Then came winter. Then came a cold, wet spring. Trails in the northern Kettle Moraine State Forest didn’t open until last Friday and much of the past week was wet. Today was sort of warm, definitely dry, blissfully sunny and, still, horribly windy. It was a good day to ride in the woods where the wind couldn’t find me.
My lap times were 31:30 and 31:50, about 5 minutes slower than my race times on that course. But today wasn’t about seeing how fast I could go; it was about rediscovering my mountain biking mojo. I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t need a psychologist to talk me back onto the bike. But at the same time, mountain biking has its own set of demands and my skills were just a little rusty. I’m not starting over at Step 1; that’s the good news.
Five weeks from today I expect to do my first mountain bike race of 2014, the WEMS endurance event at Suamico. Those are trails with which I am comfortable … and on which I raced to the only victory of my cycling career. I think my fitness will be pretty good by then and my technical skills will be on the upswing if I follow my plan to practice often now that singletrack is available again.