It is still early February, but we have officially had our first warmup of the year. The beautiful weather coincidentally started on Friday in time for the weekend. After weeks of cold, cloudy, rainy weather we are having a respite from the dark clouds that have been following me around on my bike for weeks. This was going to be an excellent weekend
Saturday dawned bright and sunny with a light breeze and azure skies. After a tasty breakfast and a couple of cups of strong coffee, I was kitted and off on my bike for a 20-minute ride to my local trail system. As great weather often does, it draws large crowds and today was no exception. Horses, hikers, mountain bikers, cyclocross riders, all out for the first beautiful day in a month. Like bears waking from hibernation and shaking off indoor mustiness, everyone is eager to take in the glorious sunshine. After my cruise up a paved bike trail, I make my way to the fireroad that climbs and winds it’s way to my favorite trails in and around a giant lake called Folsom. It’s a commonly used trail on any given weekend, and to no surprise, it is unusually packed and akin to riding through an indoor mall on a Saturday afternoon. I pick my way carefully through the groups of hikers, dog walkers, runners and little tykes weaving their small bikes down the flat trail with dad in tow. These little guys and girls are so impressive and as I pass by I give a wave and a word of encouragement.
I sweat my way to the top of the fireroad before bombing down the other side to the killer singletrack awaiting me. Man, I feel good, the warm air is at once exhilarating and motivating as I pedal my way onto the first singletrack, weaving through the grasses and trees. After so much rain the native plants are glowing green against the white sandy trails. The many oak trees dotting the terrain stand in stark contrast to the dayglo green grasses dancing in the gentle breeze. The vegetation surrounding the narrow trails are putting out tiny buds, a sure sign spring is growing near. I snake my trusty mountain bike up and around, climbing rocky singletracks to the top of my favorite downhill. This trail has everything, rocks, berms, ruts, roots and sand patches. I carve my hardtail into the corners, fly over sparkling granite rocks jetting out from below the loose dirt, smoothly attacking the berms and power my way to the bottom, back to the trail junction. A big grin comes across my face as I realize I was barely in control, flying by the seat of my pants.
I continue on through the park coming across other mountain bikers enjoying the incredible riding conditions, a quick hello and off I go. I am flying now, or at least I feel like I am. I hit the next dusty short climb with gusto, egging myself to go faster until my legs are on fire and I have to back off. I stop at the top of the hill to take a swig of water to relive my dry throat. Beads of sweat drip off my forehead and into my glasses so I wipe them clean and hop on my bike for the descent back down. Boy, I haven’t sweated this much in a long time, and it sure feels good! Feeling a little spent and hot from the sun I reluctantly decided to head back home and cool off. On a day like today, you could just ride forever, but I quickly remind myself that tomorrow is Sunday and it’s set to be another stellar day on the trails.
On the ride back to my house I suddenly realize how thirsty I am and how I could really go for something cold and tasty. I start thinking back to when I was a little kid like the ones I saw on the trail today and remember what I craved when I was hot and tired all those years ago- Bomb Pops. The cold, icy, refreshing popsicle all done up in red, white and blue in a white wrapper. My friend and I would ride our bikes down to 7-11, park our bikes out front, run into the store and rummage through variously frozen confectionaries until we found our favorites. Creamsicles, ice cream sandwiches sidewalk sundaes, too many to chose from and all delicious but in the end, I would always want a Bomb Pop. That was always my favorite and to this day is still my favorite warm-weather treat.
Mountain biking always brings out the kid and me. Therefore, each and every time I get on my bike, I flashback to my childhood and I can not think of two things that go better together than riding a bike and eating popsicles.