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April 21, 2002 Tuesday

The Don Revisited

This is the first time I've ridden the Don this season. Despite a mild hangover from yesterday's party, it was with eager anticipation that I took the TTC train with my bike to get off at St. Clair and start my warm up ride until I reach the technical trails of the Don. I felt like on my way to see an old flame I haven't seen in ages. I was full of optimism, exuberance and joyful thoughts of good trail riding ahead.

Finally, I reached the trailhead by Pottery Road where you see that steep hill climb warning riders of the difficulties ahead. I made it to the top as usual, but this time, I was catching my breath like crazy. Doing the stairclimber in the gym is NOT the same as doing this hill on a mountain bike...body English and all to sustain traction. The weave through the technical single-track, the steep ascent and equally steep descent through ruts, rocks and logs were something I sorely missed. As much as I thought I knew the trails, it didn't seem the same...not after a year's absence. Just like being face to face with an old flame, there's an initial feeling of awkwardness...of trying to feel your way around despite past familiarity. And just like any lady worthy of a second take, it never ceases to fascinate.

As my schedule would have it, I had to back track before I could finish the entire trail. I had to meet some people for a game of Ultimate Frisbee at a park in Rosedale.

Ultimate Frisbee

From an outsider, it would seem like a leisurely weekend sport - something to play with your kids with on a lazy Sunday afternoon in the park. So when I got invited to attend a friendly game, I said "yes" with utmost confidence. It'll be a warm up for my regular afternoon gym workout...or so I thought.

It turned out to be more demanding than I thought...both physically and mentally. On a physical level, it was exhausting going slow and then bursting with full energy on a sustained run and slow again, only to repeat the cycle in a fast paced momentum. Thank God, we had team members who alternated with us between scores. On a mental level, it required tactical know-how in positioning yourself for a free pass and being able to pass to someone well positioned to make a score. There's only a split second to make a decision and quick thinking is mandatory. As TheLoneRider, I never had to worry about other people in the team. There was no team...just you, your trusty bike and the trails. It was whole new ballgame for me.

How did I fare? Let's put it this way: I was invited twice and I attended twice. The games are still ongoing and I have yet to receive my third invite.


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