For the past 4 years, I've done nothing but struggle to keep in shape and keep on my bike.
Consistency in my health has been pretty elusive, though I have managed to keep pushing through the barriers.
Life is like that, you just can't say " I quit ", and I don't have alot of respect for people who do.
Especially given the fact that what most people consider difficult is pretty laughable.
Sure, the outcome may not always be what you intended it to be, or the one you wanted.
But if there is one thing that anyone should remember its that win, lose or draw, you gotta finish the race.
Sometime over the winter, my window of opportunity to really put the hammer down finally came my way.
I got the trusty Fisher 26 out of the cobwebs, replaced some old parts and tuned it up.
Along with the help from the dudes at a couple local bike shops, I not only got it back on the trail, but picked up a new Specialized 29'er as well.
Forest Park as always served me well as a training ground especially in the rainy spring months.
It's close by and though its not the most challenging of turf, its awesome just the same.
I've got a couple of loops I like to do around the city, but FP is my fave if I don't have the opportunity to get out of town.
My goal was to ride at least 4 good rides in a week, no shorter than 20 miles per.
After a couple months of the new schedule, and summer finally emerging, it was time to step it up and hit the mountains for some good single track and serious fun.
LRT #31 and I go way back and I have had some epic rides there in the past.
Its a tough one, but the elevation changes, technical aspects and views are simply amazing.
Most of my riding buddies ( as well as the one who introduced me to some of the best rides ever ), are no longer around due to one reason or another.
I don't mind doing these types of rides solo, but its way cooler with a pal and there is an inherent danger if things go wrong.
This ride I would have to go solo, so good preparation was key.
So off I went, looking forward to seeing my old friend the trail once again.
LRT has always been in my top 5 for wilderness rides, and it had never let me down.
The weather was finally cooperating with high clouds but warm temperatures which was perfect for my first difficult ride of the season.
Once at the trailhead, I proceeded to get my gear together and fuel up.
I don't know what it is , but if there is one fucking person within a mile of me, no matter how busy I appear to be.
They are going to want to chat about the dumbest shit imaginable.
Not to mention, am I the only person out here that know where I actually am?
Buy a fucking map people!
Nothing gets them off my back quicker than just proceed to change my clothes right if front of them.
Yep, Im busy and I don't have time to give you directions or listen to how some strangers guacamole is way better than their neighbors.
Soon they bail, so do I.
I've got 10 solid miles of hard single track, one way, and 10 back to the car.
There isn't much warm up starting at the northern end of the trail but oh well !
Its good to be back in the forest.
Just me and the bike
There isn't one section of 'ol 31 that isn't totally amazing in some way.
Even though starting from the northern end is a bit front loaded on the elevation, there is so much change up along the whole thing, it doesn't feel as if there is one side thats higher than the other.
No place to space out or get too comfortable out here, especially if your alone.
Just the shear intensity of what's happening every few hundred feet, keeps me totally focused and aware.
Watch the edges
Stay loose and find a good rhythm
Hiking up a rooted and rocky slope with your bike because its the only fucking way your getting up the creek bank is just totally awesome.
And there is plenty of it.
The view and sound of the river is always near by and just adds to the overall rad-ness of this place.
After an hour and forty minutes of gnarly riding, I reach the southern end of the trail and some much needed rest.
If you haven't had a buckwheat pancake turkey sandwich, your missing the good stuff....
I grab some grub, stretch out and climb back on for the 10 mile round trip.
A couple hours later, Im back at the car, break down my gear, load up and hit the road home.
Megadeth powers me all the way back to the city, ( obeying the speed limit of course ).
Its been a good test of physical and mental fitness.