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Played in the dirt yesterday.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


When Lisa arrived home from work Monday afternoon we shared a laugh while I briefly recounted my dead battery story as I shuffled past her into the garage. I grabbed a set of jumper cables, popped the hoods on our vehicles and returned my truck to the land of the living.

Just as I did on Monday, yesterday morning I excitedly loaded the truck with all my mountain biking gear along with a cooler filled with plenty of water and Gatorade. I tossed my bike into the truck bed, hopped into the driver’s seat and held my breath as I turned the key…

The engine instantly roared to life, and I was on my way to the trails!

Florida Flo - the main loop Mount Dora MTB Trails

Florida Flo – the main loop Mount Dora MTB Trails


As I made my way down Gravity Destroyer–the tight and twisting trail that leads to the main loop–I felt incredibly uncoordinated on my mountain bike. This came as no real surprise: last October’s 80 kilometer (50 mile) Ride Of the Living Dead at Santos was my last big mountain bike ride. In fact, yesterday was literally just the second time I’ve ridden in the dirt this year. I’ve cycled 9,200 kilometers so far this year and, up until yesterday, only 33 of those kilometers were in the dirt. That makes me… a roadie. There. I said it.

After riding these trails 4 or 5 times per week for more than a year, I once knew every turn, root and rock by memory. As I rode along it all started coming back to me, and I slowly began to feel the flow. I took the first lap easy, then rode a little more aggressively, but still far from all-out.

My confidence started to come back pretty quickly, and I began to relax and enjoy the ride.

The heat and humidity were off the charts, and so I’m glad I had plenty of Gatorade and water with me. After just 15 minutes I was 100% soaked in sweat. I drank 50 ounces of water and 64 ounces of Gatorade, and I still finished the 2-hour ride down more than 2 pounds.

I wound up riding 28 kilometers (17.5 miles) with about 400 meters (1,300 feet) of elevation. My average heart rate was 160 BPM, but that average came about in a very different way than the 160 BPM I averaged on Monday’s road ride. Mountain biking is such a different cardio animal than road cycling.

I took this picture of my dirt pants about halfway through the ride when I stopped for a break (click to enlarge):

Felt good to wear my dirt pants again!

Felt good to wear my dirt pants again!


My road bike’s Di2 rear derailleur came in yesterday, and last night I got it installed and adjusted. Shifting was flawless on the stand and during my brief test ride. I’m going to take her out for a longer spin this morning before work.

John Stone Fitness Comments

11 Responses to “Played in the dirt yesterday.”
  1. Starting to feel better Paul. Still weak and frail. I was riding a little around the neighborhood a couple months after the surgery but with all the complications since then I have no energy. I am hoping to get back out there soon and will let you know when I am up for a neighborhood cruise. Looking forward to it!

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  2. I am always surprised how dramatic the transition from road to dirt can be — even if it’s just riding my cross bike on dirt roads and light trails. It’s a very different workout in comparison to road biking, where much of the exertion is concentrated on legs alone. Off road it’s full body, finding the body “English” required to get through the tough sections without face planting.

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