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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-11-09, 11:45 AM   #1
gotls1
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My first trail ride

I took the new mountain bike out for it's first ride yesterday. We both got dirty and made it home in one piece, so I'm calling it a successful ride. I will admit that there was some spots where I was doing more hiking w/ a bike than riding, but I'm okay with that just starting out. There are lots of things for me to learn - mountain biking as I'm sure you all know is sooooo different than road riding. Some things in particular that I need to work on:

-Relax. The bike has fat tires and suspension for a reason. Let the bike do the work and find the right path down. I was able to do this in a couple places and it was so much more fun than when I was over thinking every little rock, branch and rut. I just need to be able to do it consistently and not panic.

-I suck at starting in a low gear going uphill. If I put the front derailleur in the middle ring I can do it, but not the small ring. It's a pain though when I have to put a foot down to get off the bike, shift the front, then get back on and get started and shift back to the small ring. I think that's just going to take practice on my part. I might not be starting out with the pedal high enough to give me time to get my other foot on the pedal and start spinning.

-I need to get with my doctor and find a better solution for my asthma. I was sucking some major wind yesterday. Those hills are hard! lol

All in all I had a great time. The friend that took me out was very patient with me and it even sounds like he might go with me again sometime. Here are a couple of pictures I took:

View from the top of the biggest hill we climbed. I rode all the way up. I had lots of time here to get out my camera while wheezing.


Some of the single track trail. This really doesn't capture how pretty this trail was. This was probably my favorite section.


My long suffering, extremely patient coach.


Me and my trusty steed at another vista point. I'll be back.
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Old 05-11-09, 12:03 PM   #2
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Nice pictures! I really need to get myself a small camera to use, so I can start taking a few pics when I ride.
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Old 05-11-09, 12:13 PM   #3
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Dirt makes anything better. Looks like you had a fun ride!
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Old 05-12-09, 09:10 AM   #4
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Nice pictures! I really need to get myself a small camera to use, so I can start taking a few pics when I ride.
I've got a Canon SD1100 that I really like. It takes pretty decent pictures, it's small enough that you won't even notice it in a jersey pocket, and it didn't break the bank (I think I paid ~$150 on Amazon a while back), so if something bad happens to it it'll be a bummer, but not devastating. Now I just need to remember to stop and use it more often.
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Old 05-12-09, 09:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotls1 View Post
I took the new mountain bike out for it's first ride yesterday.
Nice looking ride! Where is it? Saratoga Gap?

Quote:
-I suck at starting in a low gear going uphill. If I put the front derailleur in the middle ring I can do it, but not the small ring. It's a pain though when I have to put a foot down to get off the bike, shift the front, then get back on and get started and shift back to the small ring. I think that's just going to take practice on my part. I might not be starting out with the pedal high enough to give me time to get my other foot on the pedal and start spinning.
I found that practicing starts in front of my house using the granny gear helped me to get better at this. I found that the bike is actually reasonable stable at very low speeds; as long as you can get your butt into the saddle smoothly and not panic things usually work out. Locking-out the front fork helps a bit here; I find that I tend to put a lot of weight on the bars when I'm mounting the bike and it's easier to maintain control/balance if the suspension isn't collapsing under my weight.

If you're using clipless pedals, it almost helps to use an easy gear on the small front chain ring; you can almost pedal with one leg if you don't get both feet on the pedals immediately. If the trail is wide enough, it may help to angle the bike across the slope a bit when starting rather than pointing it directly uphill. BTW, if I'm forced to stop on a hill (and it happens more often than I'd like to admit) I never stand in one place! I always push the bike up the hill looking for a nice flat spot to get started again. And if I'm not in the right gear to start, I'll click the shifter a couple of times, lift the rear wheel off the ground, and spin the cranks by hand until the bike shifts into the gear I want. Not pretty, but it's practical...
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Old 05-12-09, 09:32 AM   #6
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MTB is a lot of fun. I have done more MTB then road riding this year so far. Sometimes it can be painful but in a fun way. The wheezing kills me as well. I usually turn hills into hike-a-bikes so I still have juice left to ride the technical features(logs and boulders) of the trails. I am a firm believer that MTB riding puts you in better shape for road riding. I find that I am able to climb better on the road after a few weeks of MTB riding mixed in. Nice pix! Thanks for sharing. My first MTB ride was the same week I went clipless. Needless to say the I have learned how to fall very well
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Old 05-12-09, 10:05 AM   #7
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Nice looking ride! Where is it? Saratoga Gap?
We were in the Long Ridge preserve west of 35 and north of 9, so we were in that general area. I think the specific trail was Peter's Creek, but I'm not totally sure. I was just following my friend. haha


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I found that practicing starts in front of my house using the granny gear helped me to get better at this. I found that the bike is actually reasonable stable at very low speeds; as long as you can get your butt into the saddle smoothly and not panic things usually work out. Locking-out the front fork helps a bit here; I find that I tend to put a lot of weight on the bars when I'm mounting the bike and it's easier to maintain control/balance if the suspension isn't collapsing under my weight.

If you're using clipless pedals, it almost helps to use an easy gear on the small front chain ring; you can almost pedal with one leg if you don't get both feet on the pedals immediately. If the trail is wide enough, it may help to angle the bike across the slope a bit when starting rather than pointing it directly uphill. BTW, if I'm forced to stop on a hill (and it happens more often than I'd like to admit) I never stand in one place! I always push the bike up the hill looking for a nice flat spot to get started again. And if I'm not in the right gear to start, I'll click the shifter a couple of times, lift the rear wheel off the ground, and spin the cranks by hand until the bike shifts into the gear I want. Not pretty, but it's practical...
Thanks for the tips. It's defenately something I need to practice.

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Originally Posted by BigUgly View Post
MTB is a lot of fun. I have done more MTB then road riding this year so far. Sometimes it can be painful but in a fun way. The wheezing kills me as well. I usually turn hills into hike-a-bikes so I still have juice left to ride the technical features(logs and boulders) of the trails. I am a firm believer that MTB riding puts you in better shape for road riding. I find that I am able to climb better on the road after a few weeks of MTB riding mixed in. Nice pix! Thanks for sharing. My first MTB ride was the same week I went clipless. Needless to say the I have learned how to fall very well
Fortunately I was able to make it through the first ride without falling, but then I don't think I ever really clipped in my left foot. lol I agree though that mountain biking will help with road climbing - I was sore after this ride for the first time in I don't know how long. Clearly I'm working harder getting up those hills than the ones on my road rides.
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Old 05-12-09, 10:30 AM   #8
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Climbing hills and inclines is so different. On a mtb trail, you have to not only climb, but get over rocks, roots, trees, etc., while simultaneously not losing rear wheel grip (if you're standing while climbing). Definitely make use of the granny gears and don't worry about shifting to the big ring since the only place to use that is long, straight downhills. I totally suck at mtbing so I have to get out to the trails more and get less sucky.
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Old 05-15-09, 12:14 PM   #9
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WooHoo!!!! Congrats on the first ride. You and the new bike look like you belong there.

When done right (so I hear), the roughest becomes fun. When I ride on the road i get the sense that I am participating in a long, smooth, soft song. When I trail ride, I feel like I am in a rock video.

Oh.....the wheezing is normal. I have also discovered that "hiking" the bike up is not a bad thing sometimes. I was talking with a couple seasoned riders yesterday in the mountains of NC and we were talking about a specific trail and it's "climb" characteristics. I must have had a look on my face that said "maybe that is more than I can chew", when one of the guys said "don't fret the steep, Dude. Just hike it and go".
I look forward to more of your pics on future rides.
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Old 05-16-09, 12:51 AM   #10
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Nice first ride. Glad the maiden voyage of your new bike went so well. Great pics too. I would love to try mountain biking, but will have to put that off for now, and just concentrate on getting my knee better.
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