Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Riding Roundup (wait... what?)

dogs sitting on the new bench at Round Valley ~
"Dedicated to all the joyful dogs who leap,
 swim, run, and play together in Round Valley." 
Since my hips and lower back have been tight from the summer of running, I've decided to start (or re-start... ) mountain biking a bit.  I have a really sweet bike that I got about 5 years ago, so I really have no excuses.  The only thing that is really tough about mountain biking for me, is that it's not really very good for the dogs.  Dogs are better adapted to hiking and running (my fluffy dogs, anyway...  Vernon the speckled dog is another story!  That dog could run for days).

For that reason, I ride a bit slower when I'm with the fluffy dogs, but I will probably end up leaving them at home a bit and just heading out with Vernon here and there or going by myself. It breaks my heart to think of leaving the dogs alone at home and not letting them be part of the fun, but they could use a rest now and then, I suppose.

So I'm committing to riding at least a couple of times a week to give my legs a bit of a break but to still stay in shape.  At least until winter starts, and I can start skate skiing and ski touring!  I have to say, I know some pretty sweet biking trails with very few people on them, so it's really nice riding with the dogs.  Part of it is the time of year (the lack of crowds) ~ it's kind of the in-between season, so there's lots of people who are probably just done with riding for the year.  People start looking to winter at this time of year.  But if you ask me, this is the perfect time to ride.  50-60 degrees, not too hot and not too cold, beautiful Fall colors, solitary trails.  Just me and the dogs.
in the home stretch

Here's a few shots from our ride today ~  I took the fluffy dogs with the speckled dog for a good 7-mile loop, then put the fluffies in the car and took speckled-dog out for another two mile loop.  Sadly, partway into the bonus loop, my rear brake started doing a weird locking-up vibration kind of thing.  My bike is going to spend the night in the shop and I should get her back tomorrow, so I can ride this weekend as well.

The guy at the bike shop started going through all the things that I probably "should" do to maintenance my bike, since not a lot has ever been done over the 5 years that I had her.  Thing is, I started running lots and riding lots less after I got my bike.  I've probably only ridden her about two-dozen times over the last 5 years...  but things like rubber and hydraulic fluid wear out with time, so I probably will be looking at throwing down a bit of cash come the Spring.  A good investment, all in all, but makes me see how much more expensive riding is compared to running.

any day is a good day to hit the swimming hole
So far so good with the riding.  My butt doesn't hurt too bad and my legs are super strong from all of the endurance I built up running over the summer.  I'll probably look into riding some enduro-events next summer along with my handful of trail-running ultras.  It's never too soon to start looking at events!  But for the time being I'm just going to enjoy rolling along with the dogs...

tired fluffy dogs ~ after the ride

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