Spring To Come

Nikki, Karen and Deva

Nikki, Karen and Deva

by Matthew George

This is the worst part of the year for me. Our typically long, warm fall and mild, ride-able early winters are long gone. The snow and cold still come and go, but are around long enough that my riding is sparse and unpredictable. It shows, my body has grown weak and my physical status could be summed up by a word; slow. I’m wrestling with a long work commute, my personal distaste of the cold, the waning remnants of early darkness and a flat out lack of motivation to work out. Nothing unusual really, a cyclical, yearly groundhogs day situation. I’d imagine we all get this way sometimes. Even while I was a  mountain biker in Florida, this cycle persisted in mirrored effect as the mild temps rapidly rose to become a blistering, humid swamp in the summer, motivation for outdoor recreation vaporized. Everyone deals with this to some extent, our friends in Nashville are flooded out with rain and the Pacific Northwest is socked in with snow. There are a lot of riders anticipating change, for the better or the worst right now.

The seasons bring with them a type of hindsight enlightenment for me, a lesson never learned. Every September I want for the cooler temperatures that October may bring and even begin to loathe the fierce Colorado sun. I sit now having just ridden last weekend, well into February and on dry trails in Colorado, with lustful musings of warm spring days. Never content. I spoke in my first article, The Case For Being Last, about mountain bikers and how we are typically not content by nature. I suppose this is a good thing.

Black Bear Trail at Deer Creek Canyon, Ken Caryl, Colorado

Black Bear Trail at Deer Creek Canyon, Ken Caryl, Colorado

There are some good things to look forward to; March is nearing and the weather here is either dumping snow or 60 degrees and Sunny in the third month of the year. My favorite trails tend to be shady, rough, steep and cool in the summer, not the type of single track that thaws in March. That said, reprieve is on its way. More and more of the Front Range trails will become skinny tire ride-able, regardless of the freeze / thaw cycle. This will begin the annual migration towards group rides, seeing friends not often seen in the depths of winter and a resurgence of activity on the FRMB group.

The end of February starts my yearly countdown to our annual Fruita Fat Tire Festival trip, this year will be our 6th. This annual trip to the Colorado desert helps to shake off the dust, months before its actual departure date. To remove at least part of the proverbial winter coat, get the legs moving well again and preparing for the local grinding climbs all become paramount, especially before a riding trip that marks the start of peak riding season. For most of us, it’s much more than that though; it’s the jealousy of seeing bike racks and loaded pick up trucks headed to a trail as you’re just getting off work, rolling down the windows for the drive home at dusk after barely getting off the trails with enough light to ride, after ride beers with friends old and new on a random Wednesday and navigating the trail crowds on a Saturday after accidentally sleeping in.

Time for a bath and some upgrades.

Time for a bath and some upgrades.

So we’ll wait for spring to come. Knowing that our riding friends are doing and thinking the same as us. Walking out to a cold garage to notice the beaten down condition of our riding gear and pondering what to pawn to replace the ghosts of last season, thinking just a bit more about how our food choices affect us, saying yes to that slightly cold late winter / early spring ride that you know is going to hurt, seeing pads, shoes and camel backs soaking in a soapy sink and mentally preparing for another epic season of riding. Maybe this is the best part, in its own way. The calm before the highly anticipated storm. The madness and sometimes exhaustion that comes with someone wanting to ride almost every single day, friends goading you into some 38 mile epic at elevation and endlessly tired legs sounds pretty good right now.

We can’t wait to see more of our friends who hibernate a bit in the winter (including myself), meet new group members and relive this madness with you all, all over again. I hope that you’re looking forward to it as much as I am. For now though, I’ll wait.

While your waiting, go check out the new jerseys from COMBA and Check-In Foundation. It’s that time of year to get some fresh gear and it may as well be gear for a good cause.

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Matthew GeorgeComment