Bicycle! Bicycle! I Want to Ride My Bicycle!

My bike Dire Wolf and energy calculations
How much energy does the Dire Wolf pack?

Like most people who ski, I like to bicycle ride.

I have a Trek 7000 I bought over ten years ago just prior to taking up skiing in a big way. The bike is a cross bike compromising between mountain bikes and road bikes. That suits me fine because most of my miles are spun on gravel trails and I generally try to avoid the roads, at least as much as possible.

About one-quarter mile from my house is an old railroad right of way converted to a recreational trail. I see mostly bikers on the trail but I will share the trail with horse riders, runners, strollers, and people with their dogs. The bikers are of all levels, grandfathers with their grandchildren to hardcore decked out bikers with hella expensive rides.

I am okay with the trail, but as I noted in a previous post it is rather dull. The trail is continuous old railroad right of way from Oshkosh to Hortonville (and then it will go out on the roads) and as is the case with all railroads the designers and engineers always sought out the flattest suitable terrain. This trail is significantly downhill form my house going to it is a snap getting back home is a challenge.

While I do not know the numbers it is easy to tell it is downhill from my house going south. I can go south faster than I can go north on the trail and the terrain varies from a very slight grade to absolutely flat. The scenery is not much better. Occasional woodlots or fence-rows surrounded by farm fields. Some fields are actually horse pastures with pricey outbuildings and houses to match. There is one swamp the trail goes through and I like that, I slow down listening and looking for critters. All I hear and maybe see are sandhill cranes and blackbirds (not just redwings and regular blackbirds, have yet to see a yellow headed blackbird in that swamp).

Around the swamp there are a number of lilac trees, check off another sense. Mid spring the lilac trees are in full bloom and even zooming by on my bike I can really smell the lilacs. It is a great smell, especially sweet in contrast to the earthy smells the rest of the trail has.

Biking in and out of the woodlots is interesting too. Early in the season the weather can be quite cool so I like to get out of the woods and wood lots as quick as possible and take it easy when in sunshine. Yes, during the hot weather my preferences reverse. The contrast on the skin is quite noticeable too, that sun can make a huge difference, and you can feel the difference just like walking through a door.

No matter how long my ride is, I always kinda dread turning around and heading back, because it is easier going out than coming back home. I know going out, the way is downhill and I have a serious hill climb in the last quarter mile. On the way back I try to forget the end of my trip, but focus on completing segments. It really does wonders to ease my mind allowing me to focus on the task at hand. I complete successive goals and eventually the small goals add up to the big goal.

Good Stuff!

2 Comments on Bicycle! Bicycle! I Want to Ride My Bicycle!

  1. Hi Mark,

    That last paragraph of yours got me to thinking. I’ve been working on trying to live in the moment. Your analogy really describes how I use to live most of my life. Worrying about that last hill back home. Thanks for the food for thought. Have a great day!

  2. Hi Debbie,

    Yeah, in the past I have written on how skiing can force an intense and narrow focus. If I am skiing fast in a challenging situation the only thing that matters is staying up and not crashing. My peripheral vision is near 0 and even if I have my MP3 going I do not notice it. I also note there are times on the ski hill when the focus is not so tight and intense, that is the time I spend on training and thinking about what I am doing, rather than just doing.

    Yeah, life is exactly like that. There are times for narrow intense focus and times for a broad and wide focus. There is a time for ever season under the sun.

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  1. The Wisconsin Skier » Blog Archive » There is a Time
  2. The Wisconsin Skier » Blog Archive » First Ride on the Wiouwash Trail

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