I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I bought that bike. The race I did up in Michigan was great, I loved it and did not find it too difficult or scary.
However I have now realized that those trails we were riding at are like a six lane California highway compared to trails here in Southern IL. I got a pretty good preview of what real mtb trails should look like two weeks ago at the FTF and then today was just a confirmation.
Holy shit! I again feel (and look) like a person who has picked up a fight with Mike Tyson. I am all beaten up. My arms hurt. My lower back hurts. My upper back hurts. My shoulders hurt. My shins hurt. And I have a bunch of new bruises to prove my lack of skills and lack of fear. Lack of skills and lack of fear is a dangerous combination in this mtb thing my friends. I am a living example of "confidence is the feeling before you fully understand the situation" because I go where I have no business going and when I realize it it is already too late so i just roll with it and sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not. (although I fell only 3 times today and I am mostly blaming a loose cleat for that since I could not clip out fast enough. so I am improving)
All my pains are musculars (except for bruises and scratches), no "bad" pain, which to me is an indication that mtb works my whole body. It is so much different from road riding. On a road you relax your upper body and let legs do the work. On mtb I engage everything (including my tongue to mutter curses) to move around/over rocks, roots, brooks, logs. And I find it a good thing, of course! It is like a whole body workout!
I did a four hour ride with some seasoned mountain bikers today and I was trying to learn some tricks from them, although it was hard since I was a mile behind them. They invited me to come ride with them again next week and as of now I am thinking I do not want to do it. Because it will hurt (both during and after the ride). It seems that I am starting to learn fear. Which might be a wise thing (yeah, there is a high probability that if I continue like this I will end up with stitches or broken bones) but not necessarily the best thing (I mean I really like it but if I start being constantly worried about wiping out into a big pile of pointy rocks it will stop being fun eventually) if I want to keep riding.
The best thing would be a combination of having great skills and lack of fear but I'm far from that:)
Anyway, I was starving after the ride. I immediatelly ate two hot dogs (I have not eaten a hot dog in probably 10 years but there was nothing else and I had to eat something), 2 hours later two cheese/tomatoe/turkey ham sandwiches, some Halloween candy, some potatoe chips and 15 sushi pieces and I drank like half gallon of orange juice/water mix. I have a 3hour aerobic ride/run combo tomorrow so I better feed the machine, right?