Mountain Biking - The Best Things in Life are Dirty
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10-19-05, 04:52 PM
In the general cycling forum, I was complaining about the mountain bike forum losing its soul. There are endless posts about equipment and technique. But where are our stories? Where's our reason for doing this? Where's the fun?!
Here's my challenge: Write something about riding. Not about your bike. Write about "the ride", about what you see, about why you risk scraps and bruises and major organ failure, just to get one more afternoon. Write about what makes you soar...or sore. Give me passion.
I'll go first.
I blasted out of the trees and lined up for the trail that has the downed log. Crap! There’s a couple of dog walkers just going down the trail. I guess I make the jog up to the next entrance. I whipped through the trees like I’ve done a thousand times before. Dodge left, dodge right, duck…it’s an old dance. I dropped down into the bog, luckily it’s been dry so there wasn’t any mud.
Now I was on to the flat part where I could fly! Down along the river, through a couple of trees and into the gully. Hey! “There hasn’t been wire on that tree before”, I thought as I dodged left to avoid the other wired tree on the right. That one has always had wire on it to keep the beaver from eating it. “You know, I’m a little close to it, wonder if I’m going to…” I thought just as my handlebar went into the wire. As the bike pulled to the left, tangled in the wire, I knew I was going down and I was going down hard! Automatically I relaxed to take the impact but it never came!
Demonstrating Newton’s principles of motion, the bike, acted upon by a force, went with the wire. The bulk of the mass in motion (me) continued in a straight line until acted upon by another force, the top tube…under the knee… and the pedal to which I was firmly attached. And I was just left hanging there. Didn’t touch the ground. Just hanging off my bike like I was riding it sidesaddle but at an absolute dead stop.
With the dog walkers snickering. I think the dog was even grinning.
10-19-05, 05:24 PM
uh OK, check out the forum ride report.
"This monster doesn't look too bad. I'll start in the middle ring and see how it goes. I feel strong on this section, might keep the gear I'm in. Whup, a little steeper here, maybe I'll stand for for this section. Yeah, standing at that section was the right move. Soon you can sit and pedal. Still waiting, still waiting, 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, ahh...sit. Can't keep this gear while sitting, legs are dying, lungs are hot, drop to the granny. Yeah, easy cadence, push down, scrape the poo, push down, scrape the poo...wait, my legs, what's wrong with them? It's so hard to pedal. I look up, see the destination, you've only gone halfway. Don't look up again. Don't even think about looking up again. Focus on the trail, focus on the objects 5 feet in front of your tire, don't think about the pain shooting through you legs, it's an illusion. Your lungs have more capacity, you can gulp and still make it, just keep going. YOU LOOKED UP! Don't do that again, just keep pedaling, it will be over soon, just focus on the trail in front of your tire, pass that rock on the right, that one on the left, push down on the pedals, forget the technique for now, your close, you've never been so close... You have to stop, you have to rest. Stop! Take a drink, catch your breath. That was the hardest climb I have ever cleaned!"
10-19-05, 06:42 PM
I posted what I thought was a good ride story, but no one replied. Here it is if anyone wants to check it out.
Nice Curtis! You do it once you should do it every time.
10-19-05, 08:02 PM
Sanctuary is hard to find.
Close by, but hidden. A small path into the bushes behind a cenotaph.
Never saw behind the curtain of trees before, to the rocks and trails beyond.
And trees, wicked gnarled ancient oaks, quiet and moist in the mornings mist.
And beyond more rocks, outcrops and boulders, mosses edging trails to and from the bluffs.
I start climbing, crawling over the landscape, exploring the forest.
Soon near invisible trails appear among the rocks and trees.
Not paths, micro chutes between nature made by mtbers and animals. Tricky flowing lines running over and around nearly unreadable wildness.
No bike tracks, not a moss mis-placed, but you could see the path of riders past.
I had not been feeling well, sick, the ride was a therapy ride...
I took of my riding glasses, the plants, trees needed clear vision -they were almost too beautiful, often I found myself sitting on the top of glacial smoothed stones, breathing deeply.
Looking and eating voraciously the hills with my eyes.
The smells were wild, the deep mosses, the molding berries and mints and creosote bushes.
Riding I lost the ability to think, just react. Free-ride, flowing over rocks and trails like liquid.
I didn't even have to make the bike go over obstacles, it flowed, I followed.
Things started to go so fast I couldn't think about riding, I just had to be there in the exact moment reacting with all of my skills. Trusting in my abilities -
Riding better than I have ever, pushing my riding to the brink of the bikes design and my handling skills.
On a course I've only been riding a few hours but so wild soon the trees all looked similar, was I heading up the trail I just came from?
The sun was obscured by clouds, I had no direction, I had no reason to ride in any direction.
Lost by choice.
Soon I found large paths, these were awful, going in circles. A few folks and asked one the orientation of the park.
A lady told me it took her a year to learn to navigate it.
Also said cycling was frowned upon there.
I replied that it was my first time there, and had come in through small trails lower that had no signage.
We talked a while, I got good directions but left them where they were spoken .My only option to leave was to get lost again.
Soon finding the invisible lines laid down by other visitors on cycles, I had to go out as I came, thought the cutes, down the animal runs, riding back through my mornings adventure.
Checking that I had left little or no affect to the park with my bike..then down and out to the sea.
Paying my respects to those whom the park is dedicated, veterans of the great war and the place itself -I arrived at the cenotaph and rode into an unreal world.
I may cycle there again, in the morning before any other person is there.
I most certainly will return on a bike or not.
Sanctuary is hard to leave, I can always return.
10-19-05, 08:22 PM
Nowhere near the poetry of Jeff Williams but here is the race report (with some editing) I posted over at my MTB club forum:
The raid I decided to enter followed heavy rainfalls that were the remnants of Hurricaine Ophelia and this made for very wet and muddy conditions. Since I was committed to enter at least one race at the end of my first season mountain biking, I wasn't going to back down. I did decide to only do the Petit Raid (21km) since I never rode a distance of 60+ kilometers on trails and I had no real idea of how to properly hydrate or nourish myself. I figured the shorter distance would be a good test.
I showed up relatively early (7h15) which was a good thing because it meant I was able to get a parking spot on the gravel parking lot. The latecomers were sent to a water-logged field. I saw a lot of cars get stuck trying to get out. With the tires I have on my car, there was no way I would be able to get out of that parking lot.
My only goal for this race was to participate. I had no goals to chase people down. I wanted to ride at my own pace and finish. With the added issue of muddy, slippery conditions this was definitely a good plan to have as i had no experience riding in the mud.
I really was trying to figure out water and energy management as I've never done any sport that required this. I drank like crazy before the race and I felt like a water pinata at the start of the race. Also as I was riding I kept hearing Greg Meunier's voice telling me, "Ne laisse pas la fureur du coureur te faire oublier de boire!" I swear to you, it was like Obi-Wan Kenobi was telling me what to do. (NB - Greg Meunier is a club member and he gave me advise, "Don't get carried away with the race to the point that you forget to drink")
Riding conditions. What can be said, muddy and slippery. The clay stuff was crazy. The first few kilometers were the worst. The stuff was deep, slippery and tough to push through. The fact that the group doing the shorter distance were the last to start meant that we had lots of tire ruts to go through. I did choose to power my way through the stuff rather than walking. I actually caught up to a few peole who prefered walking this stuff but as soon as the nasty stuff cleared up they pedaled away from me.
The slippery hills were impossible to climb even by foot. I can see how the shoes with the toe studs could help under these conditions. I also preferred to walk down the slippery hills that were indicated with "DANGER!" signs. However, once we were on the single track, it was pretty doable and fun. There was mud but at least it wasn't clay and there were actually some sections that obviously had good drainage because I was able to actually pick up some speed.
I could not believe how much mud got accumulated on the bike. Shifting was next to impossible. I was pretty much stuck on one gear because anytime I tried changing from it, the chain kept spinning or bouncing between gears. My front tire looked like a giant brown marshmellow.
For the longest time I was riding alone. I could see no one in front of me and no one in back of me. I actually was worried that I might have taken a wrong turn and was inadvertently following the Grand Raid trail. Then at one point I came down a hill and was told that my race was over. What!?! I could have gone on for more. I had tons of energy left, I wasn't feeling cramped or anything. I should have signed up for the longer distance.
I did have fun and I am definitely hooked. The results showed that I finished close to the bottom in my class (30-39 males). I was pretty excited to see two people were classified after my name. They were DNS.
10-19-05, 08:25 PM
This one time, at band camp...
10-20-05, 03:29 PM
This one time, at band camp...
Very funny movie.. :D
My body is completely exhausted from the 2500 foot elevation climb, but every bit of the pain was worth it. We finally made it to the peak! we look in awe at the wonderfull view containing the bay and the ocean to the west . We rest, and sit down to eat some ramen we brought with us, man the salt is wonderfull. We finally begin the ride down, all the uphill work has finally paid off. At first Im going slow untill I reach my comfort zone and bam! my friend takes a crash no longer than 30 seconds after we start. For some reason he enjoys speeding up through sharp turns instead of slowing down. We fix his scrapes and begin once more. Finally some speed! the view is awesome in every direction. We max about 25-30 mph down a steep winding partially paved road. Im letting the wind blow through my hair, all of a sudden a bee flies right into my mouth(we ride right through spots with lots of bugs and at our speed they hit our face) ewww, I spit it out. I keep going, and as I come around a sharp turn I almost go right into a female biker, she is screaming loudly and I go straight into some bushes at top speed. Phoo, that was a close one. So I start once more, no more than 1 minute later I almost run into another lady biker but this time I skid and miss her. Finally Im home free, winding down the mountain, getting a little bit of air off minor bumps. Wow this is great, we finally reach the bottom where we have to make the trek through the city back to my buddy's house. WOW, what a rush.
10-22-05, 12:19 PM
We were out today in Pisgah. Got on the trail about 8:30 and had a great ride. I forgot my clipless shoes at home so I switched my pedals and went with platforms. I havent been on platforms on the trail in years so it was kinda weird but the riding was good anyway. We are still waiting for the color to come in around WNC. It was still a pretty ride with good folks. The trails were in good shape. My son had a new riding bud and the kids dropped the old guys on the climbs. No major crashes no injuries all smiles.
We're all loaded up and ready ride again ths afternoon.
10-22-05, 12:51 PM
I've done this trail millions of times, what could go wrong? [imagine a 2 metre deep river, now imagine it without water, imagine it "U"shaped and imagine a trail crossing it, going from the top of the left side of the "U" down into the bottom middle and back up out on the other side.]. Sure, I'm on a borrowed rigid bike, who cares, it rides nice. I've got a mate with me anyway, I'll push myself just a tiny bit more.
I start pedalling faster and faster, I feel the flow as I curve left and right, drop, root, rock. I see the river bed crossing, I speed up even more, go down into it, holy ****, I'm going real fast, this is great... HOLY ****! The speed and the lip sends my flying, and as I'm in unexpected air time, I'm shocked and my feet slip off. Next thing I know I'm lying on the floor in great pain and bleeding all over.
Aftermath: I sprained my right ankle, and lost a 2"x3" patch of skin on my right thigh (nearly had to have skin transplant), and my right knee and right elbow looked gross. By the time I got home I was drenched in blood.
The wound on my right thigh got really infected and I couldn't wear anything on top of it, so I ran around the house in underwear for the two following weeks. :D
ok, this is from last weekend(last time i have been on the trails)
we just had one week + of rain so i was just itching to get out there. it was a wonderful day, a couple of clouds in front of a blue sky. i got out there at around 4:30 and the trails were a mess. totally covered in leaves, downed trees all over. i could hardly tell were i was. i decided to do something different this ride. the set of trails i ride are much easier to go the way i usually ride them, well today i rode it backwards. the uphills were techy, long, and very tiring. i would say this is the hardest ride i have done so far. i made it up almost all of the climbs, i was off the saddle and pumping the crap out this bike almost the whole ride. it felt like it was uphill both ways, but on the downhills i was taking it easy and going slow due to the fact that i could hardyly tell what was what in front of me becasue leaves were covering everything and i didnt want to go off a fallen tree.(which were made into small ramps by other riders) it wasnt that exciting, but it was a good excersice. the only thing that was close to a crash was was going down a little step type thing at a moderate speed, and i messed it up. did a nose manual and almost went over but i quickly recovered and got right back on track.
cant wait to get back on my bike, it is killin' me.
10-22-05, 11:54 PM
I just finished a wonderful week off from work and some good ride time. All on my old trusty hardtail. I love riding this time of year, the smell, the cool air, the misting rainfall. The ground is slick and the leaves are falling, only adding to the already sketchy conditions. Easy trails become more difficult and the difficult trails become almost unrideable.
Even got a day with the girlfriend out. Nice liesurely ride on trails similar to a rail to trail. Little more single track feeling but very easy. 2 hours of riding and it was just fun to take in the fall time with her on her bike and me on mine. Nothing beats fall riding.
10-23-05, 02:49 AM
Another storey. Not by a member of this site, but by a fellow mtber :)
10-24-05, 08:25 AM
Cool guys. More. I want more.
Give a little to get a little. Here's mine
"Rachael, go into this dip fast so you can carry your momentum through to the uphill on the other side! Push it! Faster! That a girl! I'm right behind you!"
"Hey, Dad! How did you get up there? And when did you learn to FLY!?" "That buzz you just heard was a snake and I'm not coming down until I find out where it is!"
Ah, yes. The western diamondback. As in snake. As in rattlesnake. With fangs. Growing up out on the plains of eastern Colorado, you learn early on that when you hear that distinctive buzz, you jump into the air and you don't come down until you find out where the snake is. Even if it means
flying for weeks at a time. Whole towns have been known to walk around 6 feet in air and not because they are overly happy! And if you did happen to find out where it was there was only one response - kill it!
My mom only has one super power and that is her ability to kill rattlesnakes - large or small. In Fowler, where I grew up, they call her the Terror. She would be walking down the road, just an innocent looking
Annt Bee type of lady carrying a small hand bag and wearing one of those silly pill box hats. She'd hear that buzz and out would come a full-sized, razor-sharp shovel and the snake's head would be separated
from its shoulders - so to speak - faster than a French King's! And then she would leave the snake where it lay as a warning to all the other rattlesnakes of the world. Very effective!
Now I can jump into the sky and never come down when I'm around a rattlesnake, much to the amazement of all my friends and acquaintances. It's even more impressive when I have a bike attached to my feet and I
just hanging around still on the bike. I've never shared my mother's blood lust when it comes killing rattler's since I figure that I'm invading its home and it's just doing snaky things. But being a guy, I have the typical guy response to anything that is dangerous - I get a stick and I poke it! Or throw rocks at it. Standing there like the moron that I am with my daughter on the side of Green Mountain poking a poisonous snake with a stick - a poisonous snake that is already mad because I almost ran over it, I thought this is really dumb when "BBBZZZZTTTT!" and we're both standing 6 feet off the ground. That's
when I realized I had just the answer - I need a longer stick!
10-24-05, 04:36 PM
10-24-05, 11:16 PM
I get out of work and notice no clowds and a perfectly clear day. Its 1c (33f) and just plain perfect. I catch a cab home (I hate riding my bike to work) so I can jam in a 40 minute ride before the sun sets. Seeing as it would be a 30minute walk and sun goes down at 6pm. (at least it makes single track completely unrideable)
I rush home and throw on some shorts and long sleeve shirt and haul ass out the door. I am lucky I am within 5minutes to a nice short, but techy xc trail. I ride like a man possessed. Pushing me speeds up and just enjoying the ride. Muddy and slick from the last week of rain, the trails are pristine. Roots are slick, mud is tacky and the rocks varry. 40 minutes later I completed the 2 seperate loops in record time, it was getting too dark to ride and I got my days frustrations out. All I could think of was how much longer I could ride with a little headlight.
Nothing clears my head like a day in the mountain. This wasn't a big long climb but definately lots of fun in 40minutes. The shortest and one fun trail.
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