Rolled outta bed early this morning for a group mountain bike ride. Old mountain bike club pal, Tom, told me of this ride awhile back - and I've seen 'em all riding a few times - when my personal rides crossed paths in our local woods. Tom refers to this ride as the "Old Guy Ride". Since I'm now approaching officially old, thought I'd check it out.
Ride meets every Saturday morning at 8:30 AM. I wake up at 8:00 AM, wharf down a bowl of cereal, and ride over with sleep still in my eyes. As I rolled up to introduce myself to the gang, only recognized one face - the Principle of my kid's elementary school. That's pretty cool, eh?
I've actually run into him a few times riding and we've chatted about bikes when I've spotted him at the school, though have never ridden together. The few other dudes I've never met, but everyone is super friendly. About 5 of us for this cruise. And yeah, let's just say everyone is a bit on the older side, me included.
We buzz the trails at a pretty easy clip, but certainly fast enough to be entertaining. I've been on these trails a zillion times over the last 20+ years, but always interesting to follow someone else for a change, and see how they link the pinball maze of trails together. The ride was fun and total old school in a way. Just a bunch of guys riding for enjoyment - doesn't matter what you're wearing or what you're riding. It's just about being in the woods on bikes.
The trails were wet after the recent rain, and getting a bit muddy felt good after the dry summer. Something about riding in the fall, in the mud, is just plain right to me. Technical wise, I was all over the place today. Sometime you have the flow, sometimes you're a floundering mess. I unclipped repeatedly for simple technical sections and even crashed once. Sweet.
I discover this ride has been going for 15 years now - summer, winter, rain, or snow. Sometimes just a few show up, sometimes 15 people join in. People take turns as ride leaders. Another tradition is the stop at the local espresso stand - right across the street from the singletrack. Somebody buys for all and the payback goes around during future rides. Nice.
One aspect, out of many, that keeps me hooked on bikes is the social aspect. Folks from all walks of life, meet up for rides and get to know each other a bit. With the bike as the common thread, pretty easy and comfortable to do.
I plan to occasionally hit this ride in the future. Always good to experience and add what you can to a tradition.