Thursday, September 23, 2010

I Like To Move In The Night

Check out that dude’s mustache. Awesome. Anyway, this isn’t a post about the Eagles Of Death Metal, although I do enjoy listening to them. No, this is about my preparations for the upcoming Tree Shaker 12 Hour Mountain Bike Race. I haven’t decided whether to do the 6 or the 12 hour version yet, but I figured I should get out and do a little night riding just in case. I headed out to the U.S. National Whitewater Center yesterday right after work, and I planned to do a little riding (including a night lap.)

My first lap out there was just a warm-up so to speak, so that means I didn’t really go all out. I did all of the options though (minus one loop that was closed), and I was feeling mighty fine. I got back to the truck to refill my water bottles, and I waited a bit for the sun to go down. I installed my lights, and prepared for a little night ridin’. Just like my tubeless tire setup, my night riding adventures are setup a little ghetto too. I don’t ride at night enough to warrant one of those big, fancy, expensive light sets, so I used the cheapest option I could find.

Exhibit A:

Yeah, it’s an “economical” helmet light, but it works well. WTF ever.

Exhibit B:

Again, not the best, but it works well. These handlebar-mounted lights were cheap, but the light is pretty bright. By using three different lights, I am able to adjust the angle for each of them individually for optimum light placement on the trail. I’m so damn smart.

Yeah, I know it may appear as if I am cheap (why yes, I am, thank you), but I really don’t give a shit about that. It works well, and that’s all that matters. I’ve been using this setup for the last couple of years, and it hasn’t let me down. I was ready to get on the trail for a little night action:

I was pretty much alone out there. There was a group of riders from one of our local shops, but they took off on the trail before I did. My pace at night is much slower, so I wouldn’t have been able to catch them anyway. I wasn’t going terribly slow though, and I had a blast. Riding at night is so peaceful, and you get to see cool stuff out there:

The moon looked pretty cool, but that photo didn’t do it much justice. I had forgotten how much I love riding in the dark. The trail looks so different, and you really have to pay attention. I only crashed once, but that was because I got a little overzealous on one downhill section. I clipped a tree with my handlebars, flew across the trail and hit my shoulder on another tree, and I was thrown from my bike onto the dark, dusty trail. I giggled at my stupidity, dusted myself off, and kept going.

Aside from that minor incident, I really enjoyed the ride. There were these little frogs everywhere on the trail, and all I could think about was the snakes that were lurking in the dark to hunt them. Also, every time I looked into the woods I kept seeing little red eyes staring back at me. I wasn’t worried at all. In fact, it’s all a part of the rush. I’ve spent plenty of time in the woods in my lifetime, so I was comfortable out there. It was a great way to clear my mind and just enjoy riding my bike. Night riding is so pure, and I wish I could do it more often. Maybe I will.

If I decide to “race” for 12 hours at the Tree Shaker, then I guess I’ll be ready for the night portion of it. If I only do the 6 hour version, then I guess I’ll still probably sneak out for one night lap just because. I’m really leaning towards the 12 hour though, since this riding in the dark shit is so cool. Besides, the more suffering on the bike the better. I’ll see y’all tomorrow with something a little different.

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