Today, despite the pouring rain of the morning hours, I decided to head out on a trail ride with a buddy. We knew it was going to be wet, but nothing could have prepared us for the rivers that were on the trails.
The thing about mountain biking is, the more mud you add, the more fun it is (save for, of course, the much larger potential for spills on the trails). If dry trails are a challenge, wet ones are more challenging. But rivers on the trails means every root is slippery, even just a normal turn will send you into a rear wheel skid, and if you don't sit back on the climbs, you'll be spinning your rear tire faster than you can clip out.
I liked the added challenge, and thankfully, once you were wet, you were yet. Once the bottom of your pants are soaking and you have that nice mud trail climbing up your back, it won't get any worse than that (provided you don't slide off the trail into the low-side lake at Issaqueena where we ride). At times it was a little too wet for me, and the mud was so crazy that I even had it in my face by the end. Who knew that the front wheel could kick up so much crap?
The one unfortunate thing I am learning is that if you want to keep your bike in top shape, that means cleaning it every time after you ride, especially after a super dirty ride like this morning. That means taking apart the brakes, wiping down the spokes and the rims, degreasing the chain and the cogs and gears, and making sure the forks are free of dirt and grime. I don't necessarily go to that extreme, and in some cases I am lacking some of the tools (like degreaser and a stiff brush to clean the gears) but those things will come in time and I have gotten in the habit of washing down my bike pretty good when I get home (and my shoes too).
Basically, if you don't mind getting a little dirty, mountain biking is a great sport to take up that keeps you in some serious shape. It'll kick your butt, literally, and murder your legs. But it's really fun too, and nothing can really beat flying through the woods pedaling as fast as you can while dodging trees and hopping rocks.