The ride normally starts at 6:15 but seeing as I didn't really want my first ride to be in the dark, Jerry and I met and started at 5:00
Since I knew my fitness would be off, I brought the bike with gears and not the singlespeed. And,, since the geared bike also has suspension at both ends, it would help prevent the jarring and bouncing. You'll notice in the picture that the bike is absolutely spotless..I don't ride it much to begin with and for the last 5 months I haven't been able to do anything but clean and tinker with my bikes.....every one of them looks brand new at this point.
I have to admit, I was tentative and slow. In addition to my fitness being off by quite a bit, the thought of crashing and being back off the bike for an extended time really had me kind of rattled. As we finished 10 hills and Brandon though, I started to loosen up and relax.
By the time we were coming down towards the stone bridge, I had relaxed to the point that I could just ride and not spend the entire time dwelling on the "what ifs".....I was still slow, as a matter of fact Jerry was faster than I was on just about every downhill.
I don't think I've ever used my brakes quite as much as I did on this ride and I have to say, those Deore XT hydraulics are awesome.....very smooth modulation, no fading, no squealing (now that I have the Alligator rotors anyway) and no issues at all.
Eventually, we made it around the lake and back to the paved path towards the marina. It was here, after surviving the loose dirt, the rough bumpy trail and the foot deep ruts that I almost got taken out by a young lady on a mountain bike. As I came around the corner, she was on my side of the trail headed straight for me looking down at her pedals.....As she looked up, I went left and she did the exact same thing....so I went right and she grabbed both brakes, skidding and almost turning back into me....
Luckily, there was no collision and although she was seemed rattled, she didn't fall and continued on her way. Obviously a new rider and although I was in the right and riding in control, I felt bad about scaring her.
Eventually, we made it back to the parking lot never needing our lights and, hung out chatting while we waited for Bob who, also recovering from a broken collar bone, was still out hiking.
All in all it was a really good ride on a beautiful Fall evening. I couldn't get over how excited I was to be back on the bike and how great it felt to be riding. I've enjoyed the hikes I've been doing and didn't completely hate the little bit of running I did, but none of those things filled the empty spot in me that riding does.....even slow, tentative, worried riding....