I'm lucky enough to have several trail systems between my house and where I work, so I get to commute on my mountain bike. I stuff my pack with clothes and food and leave the house between 5 - 5:30AM to get some pre-work training in. This morning I rode a trail system that I haven't ridden in a long time -- so long ago that the trails may as well have been new to me.
And those trails were amazing - well packed, seemingly groomed single track that weaved through typical Cape Cod forest. The area is pretty flat - no hills steep enough to get me off the saddle of my singlespeed Surly Karate Monkey.
The best part of the ride? I got lost. Well, I'm not sure I can say I got lost as that might imply that I accidentally took a wrong turn when I thought I knew where I was going. This was no accident - this was all on purpose. I just simply got on a trail and kept going until I saw another one and then followed that, and so on.
I haven't been lost on my mountain bike for a long time. And being so reminded me of days long past when I first started mountain biking on trails that I now know well enough that I could ride them blindfolded.
I felt like a two-wheeled explorer. I found a grove of older-growth trees that survived the forest culls to make way for farmland or to harvest building materials; I rode a trail cut scalpel-straight through a field of lightly bowing ferns; later, I rounded a corner at too high a speed and shouldered a pitch pine as a square foot section of bark exploded into the trail around me and I rode away laughing out loud for a full minute.
It was euphoric, this ride to nowhere. I was riding without purpose, except to have fun.
I don't do enough of that - riding just for fun - especially now in the midst of racing season. But I'm at a point now where I have to take a hiatus from racing as child # 2 is due in a couple weeks. So I had hoped to do some long base-mile rides up until my daughter arrives, and then rest and hope that my fitness doesn't fade too much before I can get back on my bike again.
The pre-baby base miles plan took an exciting turn this morning, and I definitely plan to ride this rediscovered trail system again as soon as possible and maybe explore some others I haven't ridden in a long time or haven't ridden at all.
I can't wait to get lost again.