Dancing with Gary

Dancing with a new partner is always a challenge, particularly when you’re rhythmically challenged like me: when I’m supposed to be stepping left I’m stepping on my partner’s toes, the hip sway is out of sync and we’re careening into others on the dance floor. It ain’t pretty.

Maybe that’s why I favor mountain biking over some other forms of entertainment.

Music might have helped my first outing with my new Gary Fisher. Listening to tunes while I bike or run helps me stay calm, to move more fluidly, not overthink what I’m doing. But I was in such a rush for this dance with my new bike that I left the ipod at home.

the terrain is lyrical enough without earbuds

the terrain is lyrical enough without earbuds

I took the bike to Otis, God’s own mountain biking playground. It was our shakedown cruise, and I’m thankful nobody was there to witness the awkwardness, the stumbles and the near-catastrophes. The new baby is smaller and lighter than my old bike, has thumbshifters instead of twists and is a hardtail versus the old Giant’s full suspension.

When I wasn’t trying to remember which push or pull on the shifters would help me over a hill or through a rough patch I was talking myself out of going too fast, trying to anticipate how the bike would react to the next rock garden or sand pit. There was no room in my little brain for lyrics and rhythm, it was all about acting and reacting to avoid disaster and pain.

Decisions, decisions..

Decisions, decisions..

It may just be perception, but I feel like I’m going 100 miles an hour on it. The tighter suspension on the front fork and none in the rear make the bike skitter down those sandy/rocky trails, and the smaller frame allows it to turn more nimbly. There was a lot to get used to. Once when the bike and I were a bit out of sync — it was going one way and I was going the other — we had a very near miss with a tree that reminded me a lot of riding my sister’s cantankerous horse many years back (ha, I outlived it and got the last laugh).

Otis is the place of strange landmarks, like this stove approx a mile from any building, or the lawnmower in one tree..

Otis is the place of strange landmarks, like this stove approx a mile from any building, or the lawnmower hanging in one tree..

While I wouldn’t say the 3-hour tour de Otis was a complete blast, I learned a lot about the new ride and still can’t think of a better way to spend a chunk of a cloudy Saturday. Covered some new terrain I haven’t seen before (not a surprise in such a vast playground) and definitely looking forward to my next dance.

 

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