Mountain biking is my husbands "thing". His love. His hobby. His happy place. For a while, back before I realized how much joy running, and being out in nature were to me, I used to actually get angry when he "had" to get out for a ride. To put it simply: I just didn't get it!! Fast forward a few years later, I totally realize just how important it is for him to get out and do his thing! Being that we are both so active, we have a great working relationship in making sure we both have time to get out there and move our bodies, and also getting the kids involved as much as we can! So this "adventure of the month" is dedicated to him as I headed out to the trails with some of my girlfriends to hop on our bikes and do some bad-ass mountain biking on the trails of Long Island. I say bad-ass with tongue in cheek, because honestly I spent more time on my "ass" then anything else!
I'm very blessed in my life to have all different types of friends. I have three girls in particular who are the type of girls everyone should have in their lives. These girls are the ones who if I woke up and said to them "lets go climb Mount Everest today" as a joke, their bags would be packed, and plane tickets booked before I even had a chance to them I was joking. Always up for an adventure, Yvie, Jenn, and Julie are my girls. With finally a sunny, quasi-warm Sunday afternoon, Yvie said she wanted to head to the trails. My afternoon calender looked clear and the thought of fresh air, girlfriends, and the chance to take my bike off the trainer that it sat on all winter was getting me all giddy. A quick phone call to Jenn and Julie, and we had our little girl posse heading out to Cathedral Pines in Middle Island, NY. We were a motley crew as we each got out of our respectable vehicles. "Bad-ass" we were as Yvie, Julie, and Jenn hopped out of their sparkling jeep wranglers and me, with my sexy, gigantic mini van with the sliding doors. Watch out...I had arrived. I was geared out. I had on the bike shorts, a tech shirt, bike gloves, bike shoes, and my hydration pack secured tightly to my back. I looked the part. I felt the part. I emerged from the van and the girls stared at me like I was the essence of the mountain biking goddesses. Of course I was the only one laying on the ground multiple times and bleeding like a pig. Goddess I was not. "One" with the ground is more like it.
Then there was Julie. She made a great attempt. Out of the back shed she dusted off an old bike circa 1982 and threw it into the back of the jeep. She said perhaps the tires needed some air. I had brought the pump as requested, but there was no hope for the "rusty nail" as we nicknamed the "bike" she brought with her. The tires were done. The bike was even more done. She gallantly threw ol'rusty back into jeep, but that didn't stop her... she came there to get exercise and exercise she did, running laps through the park and trails...We bad-ass girls don't give up! She could have easily gone back home, but no she got her body moving!! Hopefully her and Rusty will have a little one on one time and get him back up and wheeling soon (or throw him to the curb, and upgrade, us girls are good at that!)
So then there were three..and off we went. This was my first outing out on the trails with my bike shoes and the clip-in pedals. I knew going into this that it was going to be a challenge. We got to the trail head, I took two pedal strokes and there I was, eating dirt. After a round of hysterical laughter from the girls, I dusted my "bad ass" off and continued on. Jenn was a natural. She took off as elegantly as a swan, flowing through the trails, over logs and up hills. She took off so well that within three minutes we lost her. I mean the girl was gone. poof. Leaving Yvie and I alone, like two little Hansel and Gretels trying to find our way. Instead of bread, well, we had nothing. I would love to pretend I have the survival skills to feed off the land, and walk hand in hand with the neighboring wildlife, but honestly I cant even find my big, honking mini van when I come out of the local Target. We made it to a main trail and called out Jenn's name over and over again like two little lost puppies until she reemerged like the bike goddess she was. We were off to a little rocky start, however we persevered ahead, making sure to stick together more closely for the rest of our journey.
Deeper into the trail system we crept. Mountain biking to me, is like a mental adventure. Everything around you in life fades away because you are so focused on the task on hand..the obstacles in front of you. In my case trying not to expel anymore blood then necessary for sustainable life. All my other stresses of the day, week, month slowly fade away and I literally coast: through nature, up nature, down nature, over nature. There is something so fulfilling about mentally engaging my mind as well as my muscles. It makes me smile, it makes me cringe, it makes me curse, it makes me laugh. That is a beautiful thing.
Jenn continued on always a little head of Yvie and I, who decidedly felt it was best to be a little conservative since it was the first time back on the trails due to this little thing known as the Long Island winter from hell. I also kept dealing with my bike pedals and my non stop fear of eating another piece of Cathedral Pines soil. So it came as no surprise once again as I went from vertical to horizontal in a matter of seconds. Bike on top of me, foot stuck in the pedal, bark in places where the sun don't shine, and blood. I was a sight. Yvie came up from behind to find me once again on the ground and shook her head, as usual I was the "hot mess". Somehow we continued on, me wearing my new red blood like a badge of honor. I decided it was time to have a little chit chat with my husband and by chit chat I mean making him take off the pedals from hell and then me throwing them over my fence.
After another hour of us enjoying each others company, the new Spring sun, and the peace of nature all around we decided to call it a day. Ok, truth was we were exhausted and I was bloody, and still wondering if that was a tree branch stuck in my shorts. But, we were smiling from ear to ear, happy as could be that we got out there and did it! There was definite satisfaction felt by all of us, and we were already planning our next bad-ass mountain bike adventure! When I got home, my husband took one look at me, dirty, bloody, and didn't know how to respond. Was I upset? Did I officially hate mountain biking? I hugged him and thanked him, for introducing me to a sport that made me feel alive, and challenged me. Then I yelled at him to take those damn pedals off!!