Monday=rest–for this week at least.
Rest=not doing anything related to work or trying to provide for myself.
Rest=23.54 miles of riding my mountain bike & total exhaustion afterward.
I took the day to try and find my way out to Great Falls on my bicycle–without taking any pavement. Great Falls is a National Park along the Potomac River with 20 foot waterfalls and amazing rock outcroppings and formations. I believe it to be D.C.’s finest natural beauty. There are many more facts I learned about the falls while reading the informative signs along the lookouts, however, I have since forgotten them. Slogging through miles of mud and a bit of a head-wind on the way home can make the mind forget anything except the pain.
I set out with my leftover Buffalo Burger (very lean) for a snack and about 40 ounces of water in my camelback backpack on that unseasonably warm Monday which saw highs in the 60’s. I must say the trails were a bit soggy and it was slow going once I left my normal 12-mile loop near my house and continue Northeast toward the Virginia side of the park.
I felt a sense of accomplishment in finding my way to Great Falls. I felt a sense of peace, a feeling that God was big as I gazed out over the roaring falls–bigger than the worries that I hold on to and try as if I were to never let go and let God handle them. It’s funny that looking at some waterfalls could bring me to remember–on a new level–who is in control of my life.
I cannot describe to you what a joy it is for me to be out in God’s wonderful creation pushing my myself to go faster and smoother on a trail. Each time I hit a familiar section of a decent I find new lines and ways to go through it faster hoping to rail the next corner, hop over a whole section of roots, and somehow make anything into a jump of some sort.
I think I only got lost once. I do know for a fact that I only fell once and my left knee bears the marks of my battle wound. I assure you, it was a worthy fall, not one born out of lazyness or fatigue. I was trying to “clean” (mountain biker lingo for navigating a section of trail without stopping, putting a foot down, or falling) a really tough section of trail littered with big roots, rock slabs, and some leaves. I did never get through it fully after trying it five more times after the fall. I look forward to cleaning that section next time.
As the ride went on I simply ran out of energy. Muddy trails, lack of strong physical conditioning, and carbs (the buffalo burger) made the last five miles of my ride pretty tough. It felt like my legs simply had nothing left in them. I was so slow on the last 1.5 mile leg of my loop that is on the W&OD bike trail that one of the commuter cyclists passed me–gasp! Sad times.
Maybe someday I’ll record some point of view video of me riding so you can see how much fun this sport is! In the mean time, the photos from my iPhone will have to suffice. Oh, and since we’re working on a wish list, I’ll place better conditioning right up there!
Self portrait after a recent
wet and muddy bike ride.