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Monday, September 24, 2012

Me and My Mountain Bike Have a Date

What does one do when one buys a new mountain bike? Why, one signs up for a metric century mountain bike race of course. At least that's what I did. Which made one of my colleagues laugh so hard he about fell off his chair. Not kidding. He couldn't get over the fact that I had just bought the bike, had only rode it one time, then decided I was going to do the Gravel Grovel in Indiana Thanksgiving weekend. Clearly he thinks I'm nuts.

Me, Brian, and Tanya getting ready to climb, climb, climb!
My thinking is I love being in the saddle for hours. I also love having a challenge, something I've not done before. Riding across the US was definitely a challenge that allowed me to be in the saddle for hours each day. Climbing the Blue Ridge Parkway, Hayter's Gap, all of the hills of Missouri, Monarch Pass, Carson Pass, and lots of other hills in between, I found I can climb just fine. The ride strengthened my body and my mind, and now I'm ready for a different challenge.

I still feel the pull to ride for hours at a time, being out, only thinking about and living in the here and now. When my friend sent me the link to the Gravel Grovel, I immediately knew this was the challenge I'd been searching for. Like with BTUSFMS, I have something to focus on, prepare for. While it's a race, I'm simply hoping to finish in once piece. Climbing on gravel will be tough, no doubt, so I have my work cut out for me as I train over the next eight weeks. I got two good rides in over the weekend, one a 25 miler with a very strong 20 mph headwind for 12.5 miles, the other a 31 miler with lots of riding on the soft, sandy/pebbly shoulder of the back roads, some gravel roads, and some trails up at the lake. The second ride left me tired, that good tired which tells you your body worked hard. If I can continue these kinds of rides over the next 8 weeks, I should be able to finish the metric. I want to set a time goal, but I'll do this once I get closer to race day.

Just as with the BTUSFMS ride, the mere thought of the Gravel Grovel sends shivers through me. I'm scared and excited at the same time. And that's exactly how I like it.

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