Winter came for a visit again, thanks to whoever invited it. With riding plans this weekend, my standard dropped to “Just be dry, please!” as I begged on all fours. Even THAT was too much to ask for! This morning, I woke up to a thin layer of snow in my backyard, trees swaying in the strong winds, and ominous clouds. As I ate breakfast while watching my dog happily lick the snow off my porch, I pondered how my fate of riding was diminishing exponentially by the second. Then the snow storm came, translating to the cancellation of any rides for the day. The next hour was spent pondering which felt worst: Cycling in 46kph wind under rain-snow mix & temperatures feeling like -7C; or the disappointment of cancelling a highly anticipated ride, my 1st mountain biking experience. The latter was worst.
With temptations on the rise, my pal Garry and I decided to go for it. Off we went to Hilton Falls in Milton, offering 33.5 km of trails. I didn’t know what to expect as someone who has only ridden on roads. My closest resemblance to trail riding was gravel or someone’s front lawn.
Our 1st obstacle was 2 unleashed dogs as we entered the trail who paid no attention to their owners’ calls and surrounded us. With my lack of bike handling skills, I thought I would create my 1st roadkill. Fortunately for the canines, today wasn’t my day to break records. It was refreshing to be able to ride on rocks, twigs, roots, and branches without worrying. I must not make it a habit though, unless I want a flat when I return to road riding.
Then comes riding over fallen trees which was too technical for me, resorting to carrying the bike over them. That was fine except my hand slipped one time & I landed on the top tube on an area which would’ve been painful for a guy. Some mud riding added a nice touch; I was glad I wore sweaters and sweat pants for easy cleaning, just throw everything in the wash later and be done with it.Although the trail was deemed the easiest in the area, it was a good wake-up call to improve my bike maneuvering skills. There were numerous times when I spotted a nice path to ride on, only to ride parallel to it in a ditch. Riding straight was another issue that I knew beforehand from road riding, but became more apparent on trails. It wasn’t uncommon for me to ride on a good path, only to veer off midway onto rockier sections. Quick sharp turns on an incline was another skill I lacked. This was a fun introduction to MTB, especially for a stubborn roadie such as myself in the past. I’m glad I finally expanded my horizons which may also mean expanding my bike collection soon ….