Fun in the Mud

Had a super ride on the ‘cross bike today. Inspired by the on- and off-road we did on Thursday, I decided to link up my own such route. What a fun time. I pumped up the jets to a solid 40 psi and rolled out the front door. Quick pedal later and I was in the Averbode nature preserve. This is an awesome place to ride. It has everything – big heavy muddy fire roads, sandy climbs/descents, twisty muddy singletrack that traverse a pretty sizeable hill, uber-fast descents. I rode around in this cycling heaven for an hour or so and then popped across the street to the Averbody Abby.

The Averbode Abby is a popular riding choice for a lot of mountain bikers. It also offers a wide range of terrain with a pretty good network of linked trails. There is a ‘cross race at the Averbode Abby next Sunday so part of the course is already marked. I rolled around on it for a bit and then headed off deeper into the forest. Ended up riding on some pretty deep and muddy fire road/horse trails. Popped out eventually in a little community called Veerle Laakdal. Picked up the forest trails again and roamed all around. Then did a bit of road riding ending up on the edge of the Blauberg Forest. Dove into the Blauberg forest and roamed all over the place – some more singletrack combined with deep muddy roads and a bit of sand thrown in. Eventually popped out onto a road and rolled home.

All in all, an excellent two hour romp on the bike. It was so relaxing to be out riding in nature. I saw the odd cyclist, a few horses, some runners, and a few dog walkers. It was super stimulating to be surrounded by nature. Perfect opportunity for me to clear my head and focus on getting better technically. At times I found myself reverting to my old ways of grinding through the mud… Luckily I caught myself and reminded myself to get my feet turning over and repeated the “pedal, pedal, pedal” mantra over and over in my head. I also worked on riding on the tops of the bars – this helps me keep my hands away from the brakes and allows me to practice pulling up on the bars to help get through the heavy conditions.

Bit cool today with some sprinkles of rain, but in the woods I didn’t notice the weather. Just me, my bike and my trusty iPod for company. Could have stayed out longer but I got a couple of serious soakers and my feet were a bit cold – as well my stomach was rumbling.

Really looking forward to doing a similar ride again this week – I hope I can link things together so well again. Really it isn’t a problem living here since there are forests and trail networks all around us. Guess the bonus is that each ride is probably going to be a bit different. Fun stuff.

I took a couple pictures after the ride. One of my muddy Stevens Super-Prestige and the other is a muddy photo of myself (I’m not so good at the self-portrait and yes, I do need a haircut – but what do you think of that jacket???).

As for the rest of the day. Well, I’m going to see if the Super-Prestige race in Gieten, Netherlands is on television. I’ll chill out and watch it and then I’ll head to my favorite watering hole (cafe) in Westerlo for some decaf cappuccino and a bit of writing. Pretty quiet night tonight – everyone I know is away right now… But that’s okay because the most important person is arriving tomorrow! Yay!

(Congrats to Fearless Leader for his solid 6th place ride in Sterling, Mass. Also massive shout out to Josee for her most impressive 19th place finish in Sterling.)

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