There is something to be said for just trying.  I don’t want a participation trophy or anything, no ribbon of appreciation.  Throw me a few bandaids, though.  After Saturday, I am a little roughed up.

I feel a bit more like an amateur these days.  Saturday morning, I met some riding friends to ride a few trails.  One of the trails was familiar to me, named XX and it’s a beast of a trail — rocky, narrow, twisting, up and down with plenty of large obstacles to ride.  I have traversed XX enough to know what to expect, enough to make it through without putting a foot down.  Though I set no speed record, I was happy to have survived XX.

We stopped in the parking lot for nutrition and water.  I wish there was a supplement I could have taken to give me a bit more courage.  The next trail was a real booger.  Remember that I am riding in Illinois, in Chicagoland, so there really shouldn’t be too much scary stuff.  This trail is situated in between a slough (a lake) and the I & M canal, rocky and elevated from all of the debris left there when the canal was dug out.  It’s also a relatively new trail, built to be difficult.

I tried not to curse.  Cursing is something I try to avoid.  I do have my own form of cursing, made up words that sound like I am cursing.  For the first part of the trail, as I stared straight down at a descent strewn with large, sharp, nasty looking rocks, I managed the faux curse words.  At the bottom of the descent, faux curse words turned to stronger ones, such as POOP, something that threatened to fill my shorts as I immediately shot up the tricky ascent that followed.  For miles, it was the same thing, rock after rock.  By the end, I was sweating blood.

It was fun.  It was ball breaking, but it was fun.

The beer in the parking lot was a cold, refreshing, very welcome recovery drink!