Sometimes you’ve just got to get away from the sealed road. No, I’m not talking about that trendy gravel garbage. I mean properly away from the road, away from anywhere a car can reach. Proper trails!
If you haven’t embraced the down and dirty ways of the mountain bike, I implore you to give it a go! Mountain bikes have come a LONG way since the 90’s and 00’s. They are so much more capable these days. Big 29″ wheels, grippy tyres, dropper seat posts and suspension that actually works. All of which is perfect at compensating for my total lack of any real skill…
Away from the bitumen, you don’t have to worry about what’s coming up behind you either. Here in Tasmania drivers are pretty relaxed, but there’s always the chance of an aggressive encounter or distracted ditz. There’s zero chance of that on the trails, and also no chance of a gnarly 18-wheeler rumbling down the single track (and if there is, you’re on a logging road, and lost).
“Twenty-six road train wheels played a tune upon his head…” – TISM
Today I finally got back to riding some local trails that I’d been eyeing off for some time. I’d seen others hit them up on Strava and Trailforks, but Covid-19 had put a dent in my plans of riding them sooner. I’ve been away from the trails for so long I’d almost forgotten how much fun they are (and how tough the climbs can be).
Starting at the water’s edge, it’s climb, climb, climb from here!
My trail rides are roughly twice as lumpy per mile as my road rides. I seem to spend a LOT of time toiling away uphill. It’s a rocky, crumbly, slow going climb. By the fourth ascent and utilising my lowest 30/50T gearing, I was starting to understand the benefits of an eBike! Not yet young man, you’ve gotta earn those downhills.
Around 2200 feet of climbing in 20 miles. Standard stuff.
It’s all worth it of course for the flowing descents. Unlike on the road, there’s no rest or recovery on an off-road descent – this is the fun part. There’s a reason gravity focused mountain bike parks are all the rage. You’ve got to stay sharp as you rocket from berm to berm, hopping over logs, avoiding trees and hitting tabletops on your way down, staying loose over the ever-changing terrain. It’s not even that “fast” compared to a road descent, but it certainly feels it!
Fast and loose from the top of the mountain down to the water!
I am in no way one of the fast guys, but I love it! There’s no time to worry about what’s going on in the world or in your life. Just enough brain power to focus on what’s in front of you. Senses engaged and thinking only of the next section of trail. It’s a great workout – up and down – and a real change to the smooth road stuff. So what are you waiting for?