Honestly, everyone was right. The trail was in amazing shape. Me...well....more on that topic later...but more about the trail.
When someone says "hero dirt" it can be as relative a term as "fast". Because "fast" for one person is clearly not "fast" for other people. In this case the trail dirt was simply a perfect mixture of everything Yankee has to offer. Some newly scattered rocks from the multi-direction use, the usual sand pits, the pine areas, the loose rocky climbs and all of the roots...all packed into tightly woven dirt trails. I will not say "hero dirt"....but I will say PRIME. I have not often seen Yankee in better shape.
Now, a bit about my actual ride. First off, it was just nice to be out in the woods with temps hovering in the 60's. I was shocked, but shouldn't have been, when I pulled into find a packed parking lot. With the Time Trial coming in a week that is generally the norm.
I geared up and headed out. I hit the warm up look and wasn't feeling bad. Not bad at all. But the trail here is fairly flat and I was just getting warmed up. I just found a comfortable pace knowing that I was going to feel dead by the end of the ride.
The lack of riding started to rear is ugly head before I got back to the trail head. That's right....2 miles and I was gassed. Oh how far I have fallen. But, I trudged ahead and just kept pedaling. The trail was in such good shape that I was just focusing on how amazing it felt to be out there. The pain of the ride only really showed up when there was a hill.......which if you have ever ridden at Yankee is often.
I just kept plugging away and Jay ended up catching me. We chatted for a second and he was off to the races again. It felt good to be riding, slow or not. I will chalk it up as a solid ride for a heavy out of shape guy that has some major work to do. Still, I was riding.
But being out there and knowing how I was struggling was allowing my mind to wander. My landed firmly on the concept of riding alone. How I really enjoy riding alone because I can just ride my pace and I don't have to wait for anyone and, in my current health, nobody has to wait for me. I just ride. I can stop. Tinker. Look at the woods. Walk up climbs if needed. Nobody there to witness the misery I was in. I understand that Misery loves company, and there is always a time and a place for company....but right now just isn't that time. Why? Because I don't want to be the excuse for someone.
Excuse? Yes. Each of us has said "well the ride was good but we kept having to wait for (insert name here)". We all have....especially because we are all each on our own journey with these 2 wheeled machines. I am very guilty of blaming people for "ruining" a ride because I wanted to go fast and they simply couldn't keep up. I have also been on the receiving end of that where it was totally my fault that the ride went long. When you ride with groups you are bound to be both sides of that coin as some point in your life.
Right now, because I haven't been riding, the best bet for me is to just simply ride solo. I know my limitations and don't like to hold up the group.....or have the feeling that I might die trying to keep up. I wasn't really joking when I said I basically had to start over because of what I have done to myself. It is only fair that I suffer alone, for now, until I get some of that speed back and can keep the gaps smaller. It won't take long, I have that beast inside me just waiting to be quicker....faster....stronger.....back to who I was when I know I had speed and endurance. Riding alone is just one of the first steps in this journey.
The time for me to get shit out the back of the group will come soon enough. But mentally, I am just not ready for that scenario.