Stories about how much fun we had on the trails last sunday spread and grew... this sunday, we were not just 3 easy going guys, but we were joined by 6 more, some very
competitive and on superlight, carbon-framed XC racing machines.
I like riding with stronger guys, but I also enjoy pretty much being the one who sets the pace, occasionally accelerating on long climbs, getting to the top and stopping there for a while to wait for my riding buddies.
Not this time.
We were still riding 'fun', waiting for slower guys, but the riding pace was much faster than last sunday.
Several times I found myself going all-out, especially on climbs, where my heavier dual-slalom frame, long travel fork and Rohloff hub... but especially my lesser fitness (who am I kidding!) asked for a reality check.
Infact, my long time riding buddy Icio, on a similar bike, was keeping up with the 'world-cup' hardtail guys better than I did. He was also riding on super skinny mud tires (Barro Mud 26x1.70... the woods are perfectly dry, though) and going crazy fast downhill so, respect.
Icio, La Morra's boar, unstoppable on a mountain bike and when he's eating
After 3h of steady riding, on the last climb, Icio and Viberti spun easily away from me. While giving all I had to keep my third-to-the-top spot, I started thinking about my own lightweight XC racing machine (the Silk Ti), sleeping in the garage. Would that have made a difference? Sure. Is that the bike I want to use this time of the year? Better not.
Infact, next sunday I'll take the single-speed and get even more beating, physical and psychological. This is the time of the year I want to enjoy the trails and the subtle pleasure or suffering, with burning legs and burning lungs. There will be a time for racing and being fast... but that will be next year. I also need to remind myself not to be always so competitive.