This morning I challenged myself to ride the mountain bike trails at the Battle Creek Regional Park. I got my butt kicked.
I've never been to BC Park before, but I'm sure I will again. In summer it is a mountain bike trail and in winter a cross country skiing facility. Some of the trails are lighted for night skiing. I read that a nationally sanctioned xc ski race will be held there this winter so quite a bit of work is being done to reduce the brush encroaching around the ski trails.
The Park's geography and soils are influenced by the nearby Mississippi River. As a result, it is quite hilly, with climbs and drops that are beyond my ability whether on ski or unicycle, and trails can be sandy. At first I found the challenge of steep hill after steep hill (and the dismounts and walking that resulted) quite disheartening, but as the ride went on and my balance improved, so did my attitude about the hills. I transitioned from feeling upset about not getting up the hills, to working on getting up as far as I could, and feeling ok about that. Some of the hills were covered with fresh wood chips as the crews got ready for the ski season, and because the chips are so soft and squishy they were impossible to ride. The deep sand in some places was also a pain. But the ride had endless challenges that I never have to deal with on the Gateway. Some of the internal paths, including part of the singletrack that was only used by bikers, was a joy. Not quite so much up and down, more twists and turns with a few roots and rocks, and travel through tight growth.
After an hour and a half of riding I was just a rag. I did more mounts and dismounts today than I've done in a month of riding. And more walking too! After a bit of backtracking (the trails aren't particularly well marked) I found my way back to the car where I had a nice exchange with a couple of bikers I saw on the trail. As with many bikers I talk to, they said they could never ride a unicycle...I always tell them it is more about determination than skill, but I 'm not sure they believe me.