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Old 05-23-07, 09:42 AM   #1
SaiKaiTai
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This MTB thing is HARD

First, let me check that I actually put ALL the words in the title this time :\

OK, As some of you might have read, I got my Kaitai back from the shop and -now owning a real roadie- I've decided it's time to get the Fisher off the beaten path, as it were, more often (and to wipe down the chain before every ride, too, but that's another story).

So, I take it out on the berm the other night, start climbing up to the top of the point, fall... repeat often. But -no quitter, I- I went out again last night to try a different approach. Literally a different approach since there are easily half a dozen different routes to the top.

So, up I go... not to bad... a pretty easy incline, good hard pack, then maybe 10, 12 feet from the top (I thought) it goes up sharply and there's a rut. A brief moment of indecision and, well, here I am stopped again and unable to get the traction or momentum I need to get over that hump. I look around... no one's in the vicinity... discretion being the better part of valor, I get off and walk the last 10, 12 feet. Yes, folks, I got off and walked (no way I was going back down and starting over). And what is the top? Not the top, at all, but, rather a wider, flatter path (cars used to take it to get to motocross events at the top. In fact, I think it was once a military road leading to a coastal defense installation. We have a lot of those in Pacifica). Looking down the road I know that -next time- this is how I'm coming up. I remount the bike and start rising to the true top of the point. I'm pedalling, I'm standing, the road is rough and uneven with chunks of concrete and loose dirt and gravel. It gets sharp right at the end. The bike is bucking and squirming like crazy as I fight it and muscle up the hill. I glance at my HRM; 166 -oh, lordy- 167... I keep fighting... I'm so so close. I hit the crest. 174bpm. I haven't seen that in a couple of weeks. I fear a clutch in my chest! No, nothing wrong. Just a brief fear of seeing that 174. But, I'm at the top. Ohhh... it's beautiful. And just look at all those trails up there leading to... anywhere... I actually took one after I caught my wind back. Coming back, I know I'll have a little climb, I can see that but I know I can make it (and I do).

Then, back down the main "road" I go. I haven't ridden downhill on a road like this since I was maybe 14 years old. I was giggling like a fool. Hopping ruts, standing on the pedals, carefully working the brakes.

And, today? Today I am sore. I haven't felt like this since I started back riding last year. Truth is, I didn't even feel like this then. Climbing up the loose stuff, fighting that bike... it's hard. Really hard. Can't wait to go back for more. Me and that ridge top, we have a date in the future. I will own that point.

Lesson learned? Duh, Crossroaders aren't really made for serious off-road riding. That's what knobbies are for. There just isn't enough "bite" in these tires -especially at 90psi- to keep traction if I lose the "mo".
The other lesson learned is that my technique sucks. Practice makes perfect, though, eh?

Maybe I'll post the 180 degree panorama I shot from the top later on if anyone wants to see it.

Being 54 doesn't mean you can't have fun. This is fun. Serious fun.
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Old 05-23-07, 09:52 AM   #2
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Welcome to the dirty side of biking! WARNING it's addictive. As you put it so well, "This is fun, serious fun." BTW I would like to see the panoramic shot when you get a chance.
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Old 05-23-07, 10:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai
This is fun. Serious fun.
Ain't that the truth?

You have recently discovered two of my favorite activities, road bike riding and MTB riding. Big time fun, both of them.

You might find that running lower pressure in your tires will make them work a lot better offroad.
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Old 05-23-07, 10:17 AM   #4
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Welcome to the even darker side.
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Old 05-23-07, 10:38 AM   #5
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Maybe I should start thinking about a MTB?

I hate to miss out on any fun...but I sold the Trek 3900. Only went off-road once.
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Old 05-23-07, 10:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
Ain't that the truth?

You have recently discovered two of my favorite activities, road bike riding and MTB riding. Big time fun, both of them.

You might find that running lower pressure in your tires will make them work a lot better offroad.
For truth... I know 90psi is not really the way to go for off-roading but I do like the higher pressures for the road and I'm too lazy to "flat 'em out" and then pump 'em back up again. I should try it though, I know it's a BIG part of the problem.

The "darker side". Heh, yeah... it was a scream flying down that trail last night. I truly was a kid again. And I loved it.
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Old 05-23-07, 10:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Digital Gee
Maybe I should start thinking about a MTB?

I hate to miss out on any fun...but I sold the Trek 3900. Only went off-road once.
Well, to date -until this week, anyway- the extent of my off-roading was this mile long flat earthen berm and the gravel road running east off of that to the main highway. That's it. Beyond that, I'd only take the Fisher on the more questionable roads that I'll not take the Reno on (at least not until I get the Armadillos on it)

Seemed to me, I was wasting half of the Fisher's potential. And who doesn't want to be a kid again?
This is my cacoon
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Old 05-23-07, 11:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai
And who doesn't want to be a kid again?
This is why I have my GF Wahoo. I ride the trails with my 6 year old grandson. When I'm with him, we are both 6 years old. Although my wife keeps reminding me I'm not a kid anymore. Then again, what does she know?
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Old 05-23-07, 12:09 PM   #9
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I know people love their roadies but MTBs are fun, lots of fun. I can go faster than I really want to go on pavement on my MTB (Cannondale F900) so the fact it isn't as fast as a roadie isn't a big thing.

But, 90% of my riding is commuting on dirt roads - think jeep roads. I comute about 20 kilometers a day on the stuff - honest it does get easier. What you learn is that mashing is bad, very bad when on loose rock. Also, bunnyhopping is a life saver and a lot of fun.

One of the biggest secrets to making the transition is to stop being glued to the seat. Change you position to help when going up and down hills. Staying in the seat is a great way to wipeout by the way.
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Old 05-23-07, 01:05 PM   #10
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I would love to see the picture.

After reading this report I can't wait to get the new mountain bike out on the trails I'll be sticking to the beginner trails and not attempting anything near your trail.
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Old 05-23-07, 01:06 PM   #11
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HR of 174 and you could still stand- Time for a new bike to really enjoy yourself.

Roadies poke fun at me because I do not do a real ride but as you found out - a 25 mile Offroad is a metric in real terms. Now as to getting those tyres sorted out-----
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Old 05-23-07, 01:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beverly
I would love to see the picture.

After reading this report I can't wait to get the new mountain bike out on the trails I'll be sticking to the beginner trails and not attempting anything near your trail.

Well, Beverly, smart, very smart... I shouldn't have been attempting it either and I'll definitely keep that in mind next time out...

Yeah, 174 and still standing. My cardio would've totally FLIPPED. I used to think, "Cool my max is higher than I thought" and then I learn that my BP when I'm over 166bpm is just a potential time bomb. Either he's wrong or I've been very, very lucky. All I know is, it's not nice to fool Mother Nature... Oh, it's work, alright.

I'm loathe to give up the tires, if for no other reason than it's a 5 mile paved ride from house to these trails
Knobbies on pavement? No thanks
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Old 05-23-07, 01:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
Maybe I should start thinking about a MTB?

I hate to miss out on any fun...but I sold the Trek 3900. Only went off-road once.

No way- Just put Knobblies on the Cypress, or even on the Roubaix and go and enjoy yourself.
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Old 05-23-07, 01:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai

I'm loathe to give up the tires, if for no other reason than it's a 5 mile paved ride from house to these trails
Knobbies on pavement? No thanks
Have you tried the knobbies on the pavement? I only traveled 6 miles the first time I took the mountain bike out and I was really surprised at how easy they rolled on the paved trail. I was expecting a real dog after riding the road bike but they weren't too sluggish. There were only gradual grades on the trail so I don't know if hills would have made a big difference.
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Old 05-23-07, 02:31 PM   #15
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I did a metric century on knobbies because I didn't know any better. But it wasn't THAT bad!
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Old 05-23-07, 02:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beverly
Have you tried the knobbies on the pavement? I only traveled 6 miles the first time I took the mountain bike out and I was really surprised at how easy they rolled on the paved trail. I was expecting a real dog after riding the road bike but they weren't too sluggish. There were only gradual grades on the trail so I don't know if hills would have made a big difference.

Actually, no.. I never have... wait! Once, when I test drove the bike. But I was so out of shape, I don't know that I could even tell what difference the tires were making. Once I bought it, before I even took it home, I had them swap the tires out for these:
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Old 05-23-07, 02:43 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai
First, let me check that I actually put ALL the words in the title this time :\
I just wanted to congratulate you on your success this time...
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Old 05-23-07, 02:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaiKaiTai
Yeah, 174 and still standing. My cardio would've totally FLIPPED. I used to think, "Cool my max is higher than I thought" and then I learn that my BP when I'm over 166bpm is just a potential time bomb. Either he's wrong or I've been very, very lucky. All I know is, it's not nice to fool Mother Nature... Oh, it's work, alright.
So were your eyes going blurry in time with your heartbeat? That happened to me at the top of my worst climb yet, have not been looking for a repeat performance of that sensation.

Your attitude is just right and your writing is very good. You make me think maybe I might need a mountain bike about next myself.
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Old 05-23-07, 02:52 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
I just wanted to congratulate you on your success this time...
Yeah, I take 'em where I can get 'em...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrierman
So were your eyes going blurry in time with your heartbeat? That happened to me at the top of my worst climb yet, have not been looking for a repeat performance of that sensation
Well, no... I don't think that's ever happened to me.
The few times I've gotten my heart that high, I'm just struggling to breath into my collapsed pipes.
Pretty much the only I notice is my efforts to get oxygen.
And then, at the top, once I back down a little, I just feel goooooood for making it.

For that to happen to you must've been quite unnerving... I don't think I'd like it at all.
I'm sure I wouldn't, in fact. That would scare the bejeebers out of me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Terrierman
Your attitude is just right and your writing is very good. You make me think maybe I might need a mountain bike about next myself
Thanks. I try to get into words what it is I'm living at the moment. It's just the 14 year old in me talking.
As for the attitude, this is one thing in my life I can control... if this doesn't get me stoked, I'm dead or should be.
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Old 05-23-07, 03:15 PM   #20
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SKT has said it-Mountain biking is hard. Most of you realise that an MTB does not work on tarmac as good as a Road bike- even taking the tyres into consideration. MTB's are built for punishment and that adds weight. They also have lower gears to take in those hills. A 15% hill for 1 mile on the road is hard. No matter what bike you ride but it can be done. Now try a 15% hill for 1 mile offroad with loose gravel, ruts that you have to stay out of or follow the length of them, wet clay that gives you front and rear traction problems and nice little pebbles about the size of a football that always seem to catch your front wheel.Plenty of other things to keep you awake like Scree where the wheel sinks 3 " lower and you cannot steer, or you get wheelspin at 3mph and have to get the cadence suddenly up to 120 to get out of it, or there is that shiny bit of rock that attracts you to it- only to find that it is wet with no grip whatsoever. And as to those trees that suddenly jump out in front of you- !!!

I may be riding a road bike more often now- but I have to get out on those muddy trails and enjoy myself occasionally.

And SKT-- Those tyres will grip offroad. Drop the pressure down to 50psi from your 90 and you will get grip. This would appear to be the standard type of tyre fitted to low end MTB's and they work well on dry hardpack and even gravel. Just don't show them any mud.
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Old 05-23-07, 03:49 PM   #21
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I have to go up and over a 3,000 foot mountain just to get a descent desert - and it is all the kind of stuff you are describing stapfam - about 10 kilometers of it. For the next 4 months we are living down in the valley while our house is redone - that means another 4 kilometers and some of the steepest sections.

Okay, now tell me again it is fun... What is wild is the ride down. You just have to watch your speed the whole time.
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Old 05-23-07, 04:03 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beverly
After reading this report I can't wait to get the new mountain bike out on the trails I'll be sticking to the beginner trails and not attempting anything near your trail.
Well, just because a trail is a "beginner" trail doesn't mean you can't get hurt!

I went out to do a nice easy swoopy singletrack ride last Sunday--one that I'd done without incident a couple of times before--and about a quarter of a mile in I hit a root the wrong way. The bike stopped but I kept going, and I landed on my face. I was lucky--I've got some abrasions and bruises on my face and shoulder, a sore neck and back, and a cracked helmet, but no broken nose, broken wrists, lost teeth, or concussion.

So be careful! Falling is hard on these old bones.

mtb crash face.jpg

mtb crash shoulder.jpg
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Old 05-23-07, 04:53 PM   #23
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Ouch!
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Old 05-23-07, 05:16 PM   #24
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I can see it now. The agony. The ecstacy.

Hard-tail? Or dualie?

Panaracers? Or Kendal Nevegals?

Full face helmet? Elbow guards? Shin guards? Nard guards?

After the ride: Pete's Wicked Ale? Or Singletrack Ales?

I'd warn you not to go there, but I fear it's too late for that.
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Old 05-23-07, 05:38 PM   #25
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Ouch is right! That must have been a nasty fall. One thing I have found about roots and rocks (and this may or may not apply to divingbiker's crash) is that I fall or have close calls more often from going too slowly over obstacles than from going too fast. Big mo' is very important in going over irregular ground. You need to have enough momentum to keep the wheels rolling when rocks, ruts and roots try to stop or divert them.
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