At Last, Mountain Biking!

At last, I have tried mountain biking. And I can say that it did not start off well. It just barely ended on an up note. Someday, somehow, I must get over my fear of falling and smashing in my teeth.

The Mechanic and I went camping near Harrisonburg, VA, just overnight, for his birthday. Ironically, most of the bike-y people I know were not far away, doing the Shenandoah Mountain 100. From the scraped up arms and ribs I saw at work today, a good time was had by all.

Even a place for disabled hunters to go!

Even a place for disabled hunters to go!

Our campsite was a “no facilities” park, Slate Lick Fields, that catered to campers with horse trailers, and the location was indeed full of horses. We got the last available campsite, at the end of the road, which was perfect – large, fairly flat, and next to a lovely stream. The campsite was next to the access road to the reservoir, which was where we went for my First Ever Mountain Bike Ride.

Definitely no facilities.

Definitely no facilities.

Slate Lick Lake, which they are draining to do repairs.

Slate Lick Lake, which they are draining to do repairs.

Because it was a reservoir, rather than a lake, it was uphill to get there – which mean downhill coming back. I didn’t like that part at all. The trail was full of very large pebbles, and I was terrified of slipping, so I walked down most of it. The flat parts were mostly okay. The Mechanic was convinced I wouldn’t like mountain biking.

However, after brunch at The Little Grill Collective in Harrisonburg, we went out to Hillandale Park, a park with mountain biking trails that The Mechanic has talked about before (a lot).

"Green space packed with activity areas"

“Green space packed with activity areas”

Although I asked to walk the train before we got the bikes out, I was encouraged by what I saw – packed dirt, not loose rock. So we got the bikes out. The Mechanic wisely opted against offering unsolicited advice, and let me go at it my own speed, and this paid off. I didn’t get pissed off, and I eventually felt more comfortable with the bike (did I mention this was the First. Time. Ever. on this bike, too?), and on the trails. I did get off and walk over the biggest rock clusters in the trail, but by the time the heat and humidity did us in, I was beginning to get more confident about going over roots and small rocks. Yay!

In fact, I’m looking forward to trying it again, and soon, before I lose my nerve. I think that I could eventually begin to slowly lose my fear of smashing my face. Hey, I had a lot of dental work in junior high and don’t want to do that again! (My mother would thank me for this as well.)

Lessons Learned:

  • Uphill, ironically, was more comfortable than going downhill. Am I the only one here?
  • Letting me work through it on my own was the best way to learn.
  • Being confident on one bike doesn’t automatically mean I’ll be confident on another bike.
  • Perhaps wearing a skirt on a mountain bike isn’t the best idea. It kept catching on the nose of the saddle. This, of course, leads to the last lesson:
  • I need new clothes in which to mountain bike!

What do  you do to help get past fear of something you really want to try? I’m open to tips! (And I just solicited them, so no worries there!)

Feeling better!

Feeling better!

Once I get past the fear, hopefully I'll love mountain biking almost as much as The Mechanic!

Once I get past the fear, hopefully I’ll love mountain biking almost as much as The Mechanic!

2 thoughts on “At Last, Mountain Biking!

  1. You are not at all alone in your fear of and finding more difficult the descent on MTB trails. I’m with you on that. I have walked my bike down many a rocky downhill. And, actually, I don’t much like mountain biking at all. I’d rather hike the trail and ride other places 🙂

    You need an MTB cycling skort! With reflective bits!

    • Haha! I do need a better mtb skirt/skort. Not sure it would need to reflect in the woods, though! I think I need to do more mtn biking to truly determine how I feel about it, but I’m not sure I see it overtaking my interest in bike touring! But stranger things have happened!!! 😄

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