Posts Tagged ‘Mountain biking



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.


This one's for me

I went out on this morning’s ride, telling myself that my only goal today was to ride the former circuit that I use to crush. And I did that. In fact, I did it with relative ease.

Getting stronger...

Getting stronger...

The thing that surprised me the most was the fact that I did it on mostly the second and third front chain ring. For you non-cyclers, that’s the tough stuff. Your inner chainring is you “granny gear” — your outside one is your “road” gear (ie, flat, easy surface).

But you know, it wasn’t until I stopped at about the midway point that I realized how far I’ve come in just the past week or so of riding. My legs had that old rock-solid-burning-yet-could-turn-to-jello-at-any-minute  feel to them. I was bleeding from a thorn in my forearm and some scratches on my shins (par for the course). I even had my first crash today — stupidly, I was coasting with my left foot down, and it snagged a vine. I couldn’t clip out, so BAM, over I fell. And you know what? I was laughing and bemoaning the fact that no one was there with a camera. And at the end, I know I had a shit-eating grin, despite breathing entirely too hard for what the course is.

Parts of the ride weren’t pretty. And yeah, the part that I haven’t ridden has changed a bit since I was last there, so I walked parts of it as I figured out where the new trails went. But I also made it up parts that just yesterday I was thinking to myself, “There’s no way I’ll do this for awhile yet.” Today, zoom, no sweat. D-U-N done.

Even at the end, I was on the outside chain ring, cruising back to the car. Thank you muscle memory. The riding legs are coming back. I’m ecstatic.

So today, pardon me if I don’t share my steak and beer. Today, it’s all about me, and it’s all mine.


First blood

So its Roaring Run in Apollo and not Deer Lakes ... sue me.

So it's Roaring Run in Apollo and not Deer Lakes ... sue me.

I’m cut, scraped up and sore … and grinning ear to ear.

I made some big improvements from yesterday’s ride. Riding a little more aggressively. Taking some hills that I couldn’t take yesterday (thank you muscle memory!). Breathing really hard but still chugging along.

Ride hard.

I even got my first cuts of the ’09 MTB season. One on the left arm, 2 on the right, and nice scrape on my left knee, which extends all the way down to the middle of my shin. This is why when I start to tan, you will find I have a million small scars on my arms and shins.

Thorn bushes suck.

I do need to work on my downhills and my switchbacks, but that’ll come with time.

But I did get to chase some deer, and I extended my ride by about 1.5 miles. And I feel like my goals of getting back into decent MTB shape will be reached in a matter of weeks, not months. That’s pretty freakin’ exciting.

While I still got a ways to go, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I can safely say, “I’m back, baby! I’m back.”


Idiocracy is here

I don’t know how many of you have seen the movie “Idiocracy” — but I swear, I see more and more signs of it becoming true on a daily basis.

(for those of you who have never seen it, here’s a trailer)

For example, I recently got an advertisement from — a site that sells mountain biking gear. You know the drill — “Crazy blow-outs! 80-percent off! End of season sale!” Yadda yadda yadda.

Well, I am in need of new MTB shoes. After about 5 years of use, my old MTB shoes have seen better days. And they squish my toes, so I’ve never been all too fond of them. But, being the cheap bastard that I am, I decided to hold out on getting a new pair — for a shoe that you can’t exactly wear out in public (without tearing up someone’s floor), I just don’t feel the urge to plunk down $70+ for them. Plus they’re almost always all Euro sizing, which is — aggravating — and can make online ordering an adventure. Besides, the pair I had before my current ones, well, I had them until the sole actually tore away from the rest of the shoe as I was trying to unclip. (Imagine my surprise when my foot was sideways on the pedal, but I was still clipped in and promptly fell over. Luckily, there were no witnesses for that greatest of moments.)

So, I figure, up to 80 percent off could bring a decent MTB shoe — or rather, a shoe that I could use to ride my cyclocross bike (set up for road riding) down to the fruit and vege market without leaving a trail of dirt and grit throughout the store.

I find one that could work. Simple, basic, and hey, $20. That’s in my price range.

And then I read the Q&A underneath. I don’t know if this is similar to FAQs, but I sincerely hope to God that it isn’t.

If I order qty 1 of the Sette Rival II Shoes do I get 1 or 2 shoes?

You will get 1 pair (2 shoes) of the Sette Rival II Shoes if you order qty 1.

… *trying to talk, but can’t* …

… *baffled, pained look on face* …

… *brain failing to process* …


I’m sorry, but if you need to ask that question, you need to stay off the Interwebz. You really ought to consider giving up mountain biking (like Rocky — too many headshots), or at least wear a damn helmet if you do. And for the love of God, never attempt to drive a car!

And for Pricepoint, is it even necessary to throw that out there? Wait wait wait, don’t answer. I don’t think I want to know.

Here’s an idea: Let’s stop talking down to idiots. Let’s set the bar a little higher and make them aspire to join the “average” level. You know, the level that understands that if you’re going to order shoes and gloves, that you will get 2 of them. And if they don’t get it or can’t grasp the concept, hey man, that’s Darwinism — welcome to it.

And no, Darwinism has nothing to do with that guy on “Bewitched” reruns, either.

I’m going to go cry now.

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