Being inclined towards laziness [ I feel some of us have to act to counter the damned Puritans and their work ethic ] I am naturally drawn towards fishing, with it’s emphasis on patience, stealth, standing in one place for a long time, and sitting around drinking beer. While in a perfect world this would be enough to maintain a physically healthy equilibrium, alas, science tells us it is not so. So a couple of times a week I try to think of my physical well being and go mountain biking.
Now, I want to make it clear here and now: I am in no way some fearless young hotshot adrenaline junky. Au contraire, I am 49 years old, a bit of a wimp, know my limits [ which doesn’t mean I am beyond testing them from time to time ] and learnt several years ago that the body takes a lot longer to heal than it used to. However, for an aerobic work out, combined with the odd heart in the mouth moment and the fun of a real life video game, few things can come close to tearing down the side of a mountain on two wheels.
Of course, first you have to get to the top of the mountain. There are a couple of ways to do this: California style, i.e. get someone to drive you, or crank your way up the honest way. The nice thing about living on the valley floor is that you usually get your workout early in the piece, and once you get to the top, the rewards are all down hill from there. So it is with this ride. From home, about two and a half hours in the saddle, with about eight miles and a little over 2000 feet of combined vertical, followed by about ten miles of largely downhill single track.
Of course, my mind works in mysterious and at times counter productive ways. After a workout like that, it is easy to convince yourself that you have earned a beer and a plate of wings at Bensons, thereby undoing some of the good achieved on the ride. But to be honest, I would have probably eaten the wings anyway, so it all balances out in the end.
And a special thanks goes out to Doug Green for carrying a well stocked first aid kit.