Sunday, March 2, 2008

Post Race Therapy

Otis Trail Ride
25mi, 3.1hrs

After a miserable ski race experience yesterday (report forthcoming), I was still licking my physical and psychological wounds. My lower back and hip joints were killing me. Nothing a small handful of Ibuprofen and Starbucks couldn't fix though. The local side streets were still a mess after the usual weekend storm, something Cow Hampshirites are now accustomed to this winter. But streaming webcams showed the Cape escaped snow. Temps were supposed to much milder down there too. It was a no brainer. I badly needed a recovery day, but perfect trail riding conditions were too good to pass up. While other bloggers are ranting about how sick of their trainers they've become, there are so many other outdoor opportunities to get your fix in.

Self PortraitI went down to the Otis trail system this time, as I only touched what's there a few weeks ago. This sits adjacent to and on closed military base land. Today I learned just how vast this network is, and I haven't seen nearly all of the trails yet. I did two 12+ mile loops, one roughly following Rt 28 nearly to Bourne Rotary, the other more on the hilly interior network of trails. No singlespeed, as my lower back needed recovery from the ski race. I used my granny gear a lot. I counted 18 other riders in the first 15 minutes of my ride, then gave up counting. It was a very busy place on this nice day.

Buzzards BayThe cool thing about cycling and cross-country skate skiing is how they compliment each other. Both are incredible aerobic workouts, but they stress different muscle groups. You can't do both hard on back to back days, because aerobically, one wipes you out for the other. But skiing saves your cycling leg muscles, and cycling saves your upper body skiing muscles. I had no top end today, but did not expect to nor plan to derive any intensity efforts from the ride. I just plodded along for three hours at sub tempo pace much of the time, occasionally harder up hills.

Nearly 80% of what I rode today was new material. I had no idea where trails I took would lead. Of course, I always picked trails I thought would lead to high points. A candidate trail would tease me, working higher, then turning away with elevation loss. But the trail would come around again, reaching higher elevations, getting ever closer to the high point. There is a certain satisfaction upon reaching a high point, akin to a song ending on that one note it is supposed to end on. The summit is the destination, the descent is anticlimactic.

My body and mind felt much better after riding 3+ hours in the woods. Bright sun, clean air, changing scenery, zero cars, and no snow, what more could you ask for?

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