Today I went mountain biking for the first time since August 5. That last occasion sucked. I completed just one lap at New Fane, slowly, and I couldn’t be persuaded to do another. The problem wasn’t my fitness; it was my tires. I knew for several weeks that they no longer were up to the task, and my confidence was just shot. I couldn’t corner properly and I had zero fun.
I didn’t want to spend the money on new tires, but I also didn’t want to stop riding. So, I upgraded to a set of Bontrager XR2 Team Issue tires and I’m running them without tubes. I expected my first experience with them to come at New Fane, giving me an easy head-to-head comparison with my August 5 ride. But today I couldn’t pass up the chance to return to Minooka Park in Waukesha, site of Sunday’s WORS race. I won’t be competing, but it was nice to see the course again. When I rode there on June 19 I got my first glimpse of tight, twisty trails that don’t suit my racing style. Even equipped with brand new tires that performed very well, I would not expect good race results. We’ll see what next year brings, but for now I will continue to regard Minooka as a fun place for a change-of-pace workout when New Fane gets a little stale.
With my new tubeless tires successfully tested at Minooka, I eagerly anticipate my next trip to New Fane. The Northern Kettles Fall Epic (WEMS) is just five weeks from tomorrow and, as always, I want to do well on my home course. But next weekend’s Reforestation Ramble (WORS) remains a possibility too. This week has given me some reason to hope that my employment crisis will be resolved soon, and even if it’s not I might line up on the familiar trails of the Brown County Reforestation Camp. That’s not a technical venue, so the chance of serious injury is low. My confidence in the bike has been restored, my confidence in my body hasn’t been in question all year, and my confidence in my job search is as high as it has been. Hopefully this sense of things moving in the right direction isn’t over-inflated.