MOUNTAIN BIKING CONFESSION: I HATE MUD.
These images are from this morning’s ride. Or what started out as this morning’s ride, until I saw that the road was wet, sloppy and was inches-deep in pudding-like mud. Then I turned right around and my morning ride turned into me, sitting inside, drinking hot coffee.
I’ve already confessed once before that I don’t like technical singletrack so I’m aware that what little MTB cred I had is dwindling fast.
But here’s the thing: popular culture makes it seem as if all mountain bikers love the mud. There’s the cliché image of the smiling mountain biker who’s face is covered in the stuff (applied neatly by some photo stylist, no doubt). And some of my cyclist friends would openly give me a hard time if I bailed on a ride because of mud.
But I don’t care.
Here’s what riding in the mud means to me. It means most of my energy is spent staying upright in the slippery conditions as opposed to down into the pedals. It means getting in half of the distance I planned on in the brief time I have to go ride. And after all that, it means that (if I give a shit about my bike - and I do) I have to give my bike an extensive cleaning and re-lubing. After one ride. Not worth it.
I know, I know. I’m blessed that I don’t live where these conditions are the norm. No, wait, scratch that. I consciously don’t live in those places because I hate that weather and I hate the rain and mud. There, I said it.
So am I still a mountain biker if I don’t like the mud? Oh, and technical singletrack? Well, I love the scenery. I love the escape. I love the crunching sound when your tires first hit the dirt. I love rounding a corner and being shaken out of my early-morning, ride-induced meditative trance by a startled deer. I love the regular group of trail runners and hikers I see every morning. I love tubeless tires. And no cars. And no stop signs. And no stoplights.
And I love the people – much happier than our tarmac-specific brethren.
Yeah, I’m still a mountain biker.