With an ever-growing waistline and me getting more disgusted with myself, I decided that I had to get back to mountain biking. Had to. My normal “fat weight” (what I call my “winter weight”) is around 208 … and honestly, I don’t think I’ve dropped down to that in almost 3 years. So, with all the other changes that have gone on in my life, the return to the trails seemed to be a logical move.

One of the reasons I didn’t ride much anymore was because of the pain. I was getting crazy pressure on my hands and feet from not being positioned properly, and it took what can already be tough activity and made it more painful. So, I bought new shoes and positioned the clips differently. I made a few more adjustments to my seat. And on test rides on my trainer, things felt a lot better.

Thanks for the fun!

But the true test came on Friday, March 18. That’s when I officially took to the trails carrying a good 20 extra pounds and while being completely out of cardio shape. As you could imagine, good times.

Actually, it WAS a good time. Despite the mud, the slogging, the spinning back tire and getting winded every 20 feet, I could feel the instincts coming back. PTAG had cleared some of the trees that fell over the trail, so the trails were pretty fast, despite the soaked ground. My instincts were still good — but my skills were rusty. My quads weren’t screaming, but I knew that if I did my normal circuit, I would conk out in the middle and would have to push my way out, 3 miles from where I parked. That wouldn’t be fun.

But despite all that going on in, there was one thing that became crystal clear: my trusty helmet was ready for retirement. Half the pads were shot — oh, who am I kidding — ALL the pads in it were shot. The straps holding it in were done. It had ginormous cracks on the shell. It was sliding around on my head, and, at times, it slid forward and limited my field of vision. If I did have a bad crash, it was going to protect my noggin in much the way my Thundercats tassel cap would have … meaning it wouldn’t.

So, I finally broke down and bought a new helmet later that day. It’s a new, specifically designed for mountain bikers kind of helmet. The venting on it was excellent. It fit correctly, and was super easy to adjust. The downside? It looks like I’m riding around with a mushroom cap on my head.

But I’m still kinda sad to retire that helmet. It (obviously) took quite a number of shots over the years, and protected my noggin well. When I was looking at it, I started wondering how many miles it had been with me. How many crashes it survived without failing. I know it’s just a piece of equipment, but you know, somehow it feels like something more — especially since it probably prevented some nasty head shots on more than one occasion.

Now I’m thinking about hanging it up on my wall near my fireplace … a reminder to get out and ride when I can. That more adventures await. And to always wear a helmet when I get a chance to go out and ride.

2 Responses to “Retirement”

  1. 1 Chrissie
    March 20, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    Don’t throw it out…Crosby might need it.

  2. 2 Jenny
    March 20, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    That was bittersweet!

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