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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Hi from TX Panhandle

    I became a registered member here about a wk ago, but I am just now getting around to introducing myself. My experience w/bikes is not all that impressive, but, as my daughter said recently, I'm beginning to get "obsessed".

    As a kid, my sister & I had matching Schwinn 10-speed road bikes. We "piddled" around on them in our neighborhood, but didn't even have anyone explain how to shift the gears to us, so we always kept them in whatever gear they happened to have accidentally shifted into while messing with them. What a shame that we were never properly taught how to use them. Nevertheless, we had fun on them.

    Fast forward a few decades...I am now 35 yrs old and had not been on a bike since then, until recently. In Sept. (2004), I had a major complication during a routine day surgery. The doc severed my hypogastric artery and iliac vein, and I nearly bled to death on the operating table. They were able to resuscitate me twice, but had to hold pressure on the injuries for so long, I developed huge blood clots in my left leg. They told my family they had saved my life, but might have to amputate my leg. They removed the clots & saved my leg, but later, in ICU, it was discovered I had Compartment Syndrome in my left calf muscles as a secondary complication from the original cut-off of blood flow. So, 1 am, I was back in surgery, trying to save my leg again. Long story short, after months of therapy & healing & etc, I am feeling strong & healthy again, and can walk with nearly no limp, but I still have permananent nerve, tendon, and circulatory problems in that calf and ankle. Walking long distances is miserable and usually results in a VERY noticeable limp & extreme swelling in my ankle. So, walking & running for exercise is pretty much out.

    I work at TX Dept. of Public Safety, and my coworkers & supervisors are currently wildly obsessed with mountain biking. I thought, "What a great idea! I bet biking would be a good form of exercise, since I primarily use my thigh muscles for that!" Despite warnings from the "bike gurus" at work, I purchased (please don't shoot me!) a Walmart "cheapie" to start on. Within one week, I could see what they meant about Walmart cheapies, but I am still glad I got it as my starter bike, so I could make sure I really liked it. Plus, I don't mind really abusing the cheapie on my daily rides. I am riding roughly 8-10 miles a day, plus another 6 miles a day, at lunch, on a stationary bike we have at work. I live in a small rural community where "paved roads" is a very loose term. I am gaining loads of experience riding on all sorts of surfaces (dirt, caliche, hard & smooth pavement, limestone, sand, etc.). I also try to find any sort of challenge I can, such as riding through steep bar ditches, thick, boggy sand, on overpasses, jumping over small branches, etc. I'm having a blast, though my muscles sometimes protest.

    Well, my coworkers have seen how obsessed I've become and have extended an invitation to start riding with them at "real" mountain bike trails at Palo Duro Canyon. I am so honored and excited to have this opportunity, but I have to admit, I'm a little intimidated at the prospect of riding with people who have been riding those trails for approx. two years or more. I don't want to prove to be an embarrassment or hindrance. Any tips on how to improve my overall skills & endurance would most appreciated. I have all the "gear" (padded shorts, helmet, jerseys, gel half-finger gloves, wrap around sunglasses, a Camelback, cycling shoes, etc.), so I think I'm ready.

    Oh yeah....my bike. Well, my husband has a great Trek 830 that he never rides anymore. I have begged him forever to let me ride it. Well, this weekend, he finally announced that he is very proud of my progress and is GIVING me the bike (woo-hoo!!). I am taking it in this weekend to have new tubes put in and have it serviced, since it hasn't been ridden in quite some time. I am SO excited!! No more heavy Walmart cheapie with the gears that slip and don't shift right!

    Wow! Did I write a journal here or what???

  2. #2
    Older, but wizened CalTex's Avatar
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    San Jose, CA
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    Purchased a Soma "Speedster" in May '08 to replace my cludged-together Peugeot "UO-8" with alloy upgrades which will be up for sale on craigslist in the near future.
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    Just wanted to return the "Howdy" from an ex-Panhandler--Pampa to be exact:1952-1970. I left twice during the '70s for California. The second time it took and have been happily "Californicated" ever since. Good luck with the Trek 830.

    Maybe you've already heard this one, but "You should never ask a man where he's from. If he's from Texas, he's gonna tell you anyway, and if he's not--well there's no need to embarrass him."

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lonestar1's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forums. Hope you enjoy it here. Spent 1 night down in Palo Duro Canyon. We had the b-b-q dinner & took in the TEXAS experience (an outdoor play about life on the high plains in early Texas-for those who might be wondering). We were returning from a week in northern New Mexico so that first night back in the August heat was shocking. Anyway, again welcome.
    "...You ask me what I like about
    Texas? Well I'd tell ya', but we could
    be here...all night long."

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    LOL...yep...I've heard that saying before. Thanks for the warm welcome. Pampa is one of the areas under our district's supervision. I don't blame you for leaving. (did I say that out loud? )

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    I'm glad you liked your Palo Duro Canyon experience. Back in college, I was really involved with the TEXAS stuff. Neil Hess, the choreographer, was my dance instructor at WTSU (now WTA&MU).

    Yes, the heat is stifling, but, as the saying goes, "at least it's dry heat." We locals know that just means better preparation when biking. LOTS of hydration prior to riding, a Camelback (or the equivalent) is a MUST, and plenty of extra hydration afterwards....and a good sunscreen....and a good bug spray (the biting flies are HORRIBLE this year). Just a few weeks ago, a hiker wandered off alone & succumbed to the heat and dehydration and died.

    I can't wait to try out the trails out there! They have several to choose from in varying degrees of difficulty.

    Thanks for the warm welcome!!

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