Posted by: marissaridesbikes | January 16, 2012

Off Season Ride Report

Touchstone Climbing teammate, Heather Nielson,  posted about one of her very favorite Fall rides from the off-season. So we’re cross-posting it here. Enjoy! And if you want more delicious posts about women’s racing and riding – then check out her blog and site here.

Touchstone Climbing Team Camp is this weekend, stay tuned for stories and photos as the women ride together and learn from the best. We are keeping our fingers and toes crossed for great weather.


French Meadows Ride Report

Sep 26, 2011   //   by Heather

I’ve only ever done one ride report before this one, and that was for King’s Ridge. The trend then seems to be for those rides that hold significance in both length, scenery & adventure quality.  Yesterday’s French Meadows loop definitely qualifies I think because something really interesting happened yesterday.  This was one of the longest, hardest rides I’ve ever done.  Total ride stats were about 75 miles, ~10,500′ of climbing & ~6 hrs in the saddle

It’s the off-season & I’m trying to take a break both mentally & physically and spend the extra time toward really investing in my new ‘jobs’.  However, at the last minute I was invited to do this ride & I’d heard about it many many times & always wanted to do it so…. why not?!  It turned out to be quite an adventure.  First of all, the description of the ride damn near scared the crap out of me with its’ warnings of incredible remoteness & very few places to get water.  I took my camel back with me but after the first 10 miles (which was all downhill) I was already regretting that choice as the extra weight really threw my center of gravity off in the corners and it also put an added pressure on my hands & shoulders that about made my hands numb by the time we got to the bottom.  Everyone else had done the ride quite a few times previously & suggested that I leave my camel back in their ‘super secret hiding place’ with the rest of their extra water bottles that they had brought in their jersey pockets as we would be returning to this spot after completing the ~50 mile loop part of the ride.  Boy was I glad I did.  There were several, very long & some averaging between 15-20% & I had purposely put on my largest cog set, even with my compact cranks so that I didn’t over-do it for this time of the year.

I had a mix of feelings, emotions & thoughts that ran through my head during the entire 6 hour ride.  the fact that my iPod shuffle died also allowed for a lot more inner dialogue.  I found myself having an intense desire for stillness, re-centering, to re-connect with nature.  I thought about wanting to rest & to allow some things to go dormant while I work on other things.  I also noticed the weather, the leaves, the crispness in the air & as I was driving home with my friend I said ‘you know, today was the first day I really FEEL like it’s Autumn.  I hadn’t felt like I was ready to let go of summer until today.  I’m ready for fall….’

Then I came home & realized that the day before this ride, was the autumn equinox.  How coincidental is that?  I started thinking about how I re-claimed the holidays last winter I started thinking that perhaps I am becoming more in tune with nature, it’s natural rhythms.  I looked up the Autumn equinox to research its’ traditions and meaning for the first time and found ideas like celebrating wealth, good fortune by holding traditions of ‘thankfullness’.   I’m thinking then that part of the process of ‘giving thanks’ requires one to review the past year/season & take a break to re-connect with nature & be still for a time so that reflection upon these things can result in a genuine ‘thankful’ attitude.
This morning, the first real clouds that whisper of rain with cool air loom in the sky and that also feels just right.  I welcome that too into my world.

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