What did I ride? How was it? Well, I am glad you asked.
I did a Dry Loop. The trails were different from what I remember. The late summer storms I have heard account for the changes--ruts, rock and dirt deposits, etc. I did not "smoke the pipe." I was feeling a bit apprehensive about the trails in general. It was my first real ride back. And Chris and I agreed that I need to ease back into it.
My bike has a 32t chain ring on it at present. It feels a bit tall and I would prefer a 30t or less at present. Thus, there were sections that I ended up walking. I tried to be patient with myself and be ok with not making some of the climbs. I had to remind myself that I have been through a lot and have not really ridden a bike (i.e. mountain biked with any intensity) for months.
My second ride was one that I used to do quite a bit. I climb just above the altar, descend crank, return to the altar and go down Frank and Dragon's Back. Wow, Frank was not as fun as I remembered. See the note above about changes in the trail. I was much slower. See the note about easing back into it. None the less, it was still a
Then I rode Taj Mahal. This time I was on Chris's bike. Mine suffered a catastrophic break of the the XX1 grip shift, again. Chris was so frustrated he said I had to replace the grip shift with a trigger. If you recall earlier I said that I would be good with either. None the less, the trigger shifter is out of stock. So we threw a shorter stem and my seat post and saddle on his bike. It felt a bit awkward, but still felt good.
Taj is a bit intimidating. The side hill climbs tend to make me a bit nervous. I got pretty confident with it last spring, but felt a little uneasy this time around. I was also on the look out for a rattle snake. Chris and Jon ran into one a couple weeks ago on this trail. I lucked out and did not see anything. I did end up walking quite a few climbs.
I look forward to getting more comfortable, gaining fitness, and being back to my old "riding" self. This week of riding reminded me how much fitness affects skill. While I understand I may have lost some skill during my hiatus, I think the lack of fitness is the overwhelming reason my riding is lacking. But fitness will come...