Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Monday, April 9, 2012


Hey people.  It's spring and I've been sprung.  Today is my official 6 week point, so I'm calling it good, even though I still don't feel 100% normal yet.  I feel pretty dang good though.  Hey you guys-- it's spring!  Check out the radishes.  Doesn't it make you feel like eating differently, and being outside, and finding your groove thang again???

Things are sprouting, coming to life, and so am I.

Yesterday I went on my first mountain bike ride of the year.  First things first.  When I was down and it was super nice I couldn't ride, but I could shop.  Check out the rad new shoes I got for riding.  The entire top is ventilated, and they match the new shorts I got-- black with red and white trim.

The shorts could not be captured on film because my legs are so blindingly white they flared-out the camera, but here is one of my cool new jerseys.  I'm not saying I won't still be caught riding in my usual get up of cotton cargo shorts and a tee, but I figured it was time for some more sporty duds, and hey, who doesn't like clearance deals? 

So, fashion crisis handled, I hit the trail with faithful hubby Dan, camera in tow.

He was going to shoot a lot of video of me riding, but if you've ever watched mtb vids, you know the most exciting ones are of big crashes, or people riding really amazing stuff and doing stunts etc.  Most footage of me is sort of like this:  (which is why this is about 10 seconds long)

Yes. Trail conditions yesterday? "Watch for excessive amounts of ham and cheese on the trail anywhere in the vicinity of Sue."

But seriously, it went pretty well.  I wondered how I'd feel the first time out, mentally.  I think this is my third season riding.  The biggest obstacle for me is always fear.  Last year I lost a lot of it, but dialed back my ambition too.  This year when I first rode up the trailhead entrance, it felt very natural.  I didn't even really think at all, and it didn't feel scary either.

I started out feeling pretty good, and felt like going fast.  It became quickly apparent that I haven't done anything strenuous for months.  The bottom half of my lungs felt full of cobwebs.  I rode pretty fast and zipped up the first big climb sort of surprised it didn't feel harder, but it caught up with me. 

I began not making a couple little no brainer climbs, which was humbling, and partway through the second section, I'd already had to take about 3 water breaks.  Normally I could ride the first two sections in about 15 minutes and not take a break.  Time to take it down a notch and pace myself, just work on my skills and have fun.

I didn't make everything, and there are about 4 things I used to ride that have gotten washed-out and I'm psyched-out about now, so to reduce my stress I've just taken them off the menu.  My first ride was a good benchmark of where I'm beginning this year, in worse shape than usual, and rusty.  But the skills I've gained over the last couple of seasons are kicking in.  It's not "do or die" on many things now that I can balance better.  I can hesitate and not put a foot down, and ride sketchy terrain in control as opposed to just bombing down and hoping to not die.

For now I have to just be patient with myself and remember a few things.
-I'm not *too good* for granny gear, not right now.  I tend to ride like a single speeder.  Shifting is not defeat.
-If I'm not having fun, I'm doing it wrong.  Expect dirty rides.  Expect to be challenged and not make everything every time.  That's the deal, and is not failure.
-This year- ride social.  I'm leading a bunch of all-girl rides in an effort to get more gals on the trail.  I now know tons more of the guy riders too, and have discovered I really like the social aspect of riding, despite my introverted tendencies.

It feels good to be getting back to ~normal~ (or something, heh heh).  It felt really good to ride along and just feel the trail and bike rather than think so much like I have in the past as I've been learning.

It caught me off guard at times, riding along going, "Oh yeah, my shoulder dips right... HERE to avoid this one tree" as it happened, and, to find myself just doing it rather than thinking "Yeah, stay left of that rock, get your face over the bars, keep your butt on the seat and don't quit pedaling" (running down a mental checklist) to get up a difficult climb or whatever.  :)


strugglingwriter said...

You are awesome! It's great to read about you back on the trail.


Maery Rose said...

It sounds like you were experiencing the out of breath, can't climb this hill world that I'm always in. Difference is, you won't stay there for long. On the flip side, I do experience the body memory you have on your bike, even after a long break, only I experience with my horse. Sounds like you have a lot of rides set up. I wish I could get the same thing going with horse trail riding. It's more fun with other people.

Linda said...

Great pics and great post!! You'll get your stamina back. You inspire!