The blog of the adventures (or mis-adventures) of an active mountain woman.

Licorice Keys and Cross-Training

My new buddy (bike), Jake

Some people can observe the way the majority of the world completes a task, evaluate the method and successfully mimic it. I am not one of those people. Professional life aside, I would say I’m not really one to think the little things through. It is more my style to plunge in head first with little to no forethought and later say something like, “you know, there may be something to this one-leg-at-a-time method of putting on pants.”

Take my recent revelation regarding cross-training. As an athlete I acknowledged the similarities between mountain-biking and downhill skiing. After all, the upper/lower body separation and mental component to evaluating the rapidly changing terrain is pretty undeniable. But here in Wyoming, there tends to be a bit of a lag time between ski and mountain bike season (unless you’re a die-hard “hike to wherever the snow is” skier- I am not), which means by the time I am pedaling up a steep hill, my legs no longer have the ski spirit. And then I got a road bike.

Technically, my Kona Jake is not a road bike but a cyclo-cross bike (thanks Andy and crew at Wilson Backcountry), but for me it’s close enough. During our crazy long spring that finally concluded at the end of June, I was able to pedal my bike on the dry-ish concrete rather than feverishly checking the trails to see if they were dry enough to pedal (it’s bad karma to bike on a muddy trail and a good way to ruin it for everyone). When the trails finally dried up, I set out solo for my typical early-season huff-and-puff on my favorite little trail, putt-putt.

Early season biking, even on putt-putt, is tough. Typically this first few rides are accompanied by an inner monologue going something like this:

“Is this the big hill? It better be because this is hard. Oh crap, that was the little hill BEFORE the big hill. Was it always this hard or do I forget how much it hurts over the winter? Why do I like this sport again? Keep riding and the next ride will be that much easier… don’t stop don’t stop you big chicken- it’s only putt-putt…”

But this time, the inner monologue was silenced. It seems that all the pedaling on the concrete translated to cardio-strength and leg muscle for the mountain bike. I virtually flew up the big hills with September like strength. Whoa. If I had known that road biking would help my mountain biking season start off with a bang, I would have bought one many moons ago. But I didn’t think it through. Just like I didn’t think through playing the piano while eating licorice last night. School of hard knocks, I am ready to graduate.

One Response to “Licorice Keys and Cross-Training”

  1. […] even have slick tires. I was laboring away (happily, I might add) on my Jake cyclo-cross (see this post for more info on Jake). While I appreciated the margin of comfort provided by the tread, I do […]

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