In response to some feedback from the RAW ride crew and my own self assessment, I made sure to eat healthy before and after the ride, keep hydrated, and even did some yoga post ride to help stretch out my tired bones after last week’s RAW ride at Grayville Falls Park. I certainly noticed a difference on the following Friday and was able to tackle work and kid wrangling with much more energy and focus than on the week prior.
Grayville Falls Park was the site for last Thursday’s RAW Ride. My first time riding Grayville was 6 years ago on a day in August with 90 degree heat and oppressive humidity, basically what you would expect in this corner of Southern New England for that time of year. I remember struggling to pedal uphill against long stretches of steep grade littered with momentum stifling rocks . I didn’t go back there until a RAW ride last year. Grayville is challenging but I’m glad I’ve given it a couple more chances. I don’t know if I would have done so without hooking up with the RAW crew. So, if you internet at all, you’ve noticed that top 5 or 10 lists are all the rage. It must be some kind of digital marketing ploy to snare in our limited attention spans and make us buy more stuff we really don’t need, to great effect. So here goes, the top 5 reasons to go on a Central CT NEMBA RAW Ride:
1)Ride new places. Or, ride places you’ve ridden before and thought you hated, and would otherwise never ride again. The group dynamic is powerful. I know that I get really comfortable riding the same places over and over and will make excuses about the travel, not knowing the trails, etc. even though I know variety is the spice of life. The thing is, when you repeatedly ride the same trails, and can anticipate every turn and obstacle, your ability to adapt to new terrain atrophies. Riding new trails, especially when you have someone to follow helps keep your brain sharp and allows you to ride faster over unfamiliar terrain. Plus, it’s just fun to ride new places.
2)There are 37 days left until the Summer Solstice, which means this is prime time when it comes to post work daylight. Not only is there time for a 2 hour Ride after Work, there’s time to hang out and recap with the rest of the group after. Get out and enjoy it while you can. After June 21, the days just get shorter and shorter.
3)Your family and co workers will like you better. You may be saying to yourself, “I’m too busy for a ride after work”. I get it, going out to play for a few hours while there are so many other responsibilities to address is tough to justify. Here’s the thing, though. I’m no Psychologist, and I haven’t stayed at a Holdiay Inn Express in a while, but I’m pretty sure play is just as important to our well being and mental health as work and family. You will be in a better mood if you get out and ride, and that will make your family and coworkers happier to be around you. So try to make the time. Get all your stuff packed up and ready go the night before, and “Just Do It”.
4) If you’re an intermediate rider like me, you’ll get faster. If you’re a fast rider, you’ll have a nice social ride experience. I used to ride 2-3 times a week before joining the NEMBA rides, usually by myself. I enjoyed it, and still like my solitary woods cruises to clear my mind and “get away from it all”. But, I wasn’t progressing that way. The first few RAW Rides were a struggle for me, but I made it, and at the end of the ride I was feeling pretty good about my accomplishment. Last year I was able to go on more rides than the previous, and saw a marked increase in my pace as a result. I’m still at the back of the pack, but compared to where I was just riding by myself, I went from about 5.5mph pace to close to 7mph at some of the summer rides. You do want to have a good base of fitness and to be comfortable riding technical mountain bike trails before joining one of these rides. If you’re already riding at 7mph+, you’ll enjoy an easy ride with plenty of time to socialize as you wait for me to catch up.
5) You’ll be famous. Well, that might be overselling, but it seems that people enjoy the videos I’ve been uploading to YouTube. You can get in on the ground floor and maybe make the cut and get into the video before this all goes viral and we become this decade’s “Jersey Shore.”
So with all that being said, I’m not actually going to be able to make it this weeks ride. So, if anyone wants to take over GoPro duties, please do. I’m happy to edit if you just want to send me the video files, or look I forward to see someone else’s creativity in an edit of the ride this week at Blackledge Falls.