Let me tell you......I'm in pain!
I normally ride my road bike at an easy pace. Started riding 3 months ago after being off the bike for 3 years. Normal ride is usually 20 miles. Longest ride to date is a Metric Century. Now that you know my background, here's my Mtn bike story.
2 buddies & I decided to go to the Poconos to ride. We went to Jim Thorpe, PA. Got there and rented 2 bikes (Specialized Rockhopper with "Acera" (sp) components).
We asked the rental place if whether we should take a shuttle up to the trails or ride up ourselves. We gave them our riding experience and they said that it would be too boring for us if they shuttle us up to the trail and they suggested that it will be more challeging if we rode there ourselves. The trail is only about 4 or 4.5 miles from the town (Jim Thorpe).
We decided to ride to the trails ourselves. We decided to ride a 15 mile trail (intermediate trail). Well, we left the town (and went on Rte 209 to Rte 93 for those who are familiar with the area) and were on our way.
Rte 209’s climb wasn’t that bad (maybe 3 or 4% grade????). But when we reached Rte 93, we had to stay on Rte 93 for 3.5 MILES!!!! The grade was 9% (we saw a sign). Boy, that was tough!!!!! And the rental bikes were very heavy! I think the total increase was about 1,00 or 1,300ft within 4 miles (anyone know how to calculate the average grade????). The trail started at this place called "State Game Land # 141". Anyone know that area?
Well, it took us a good amount of time to get up to the trails and we were dead tired from the climb.
We thought: “OK, the tough part is done, let’s have some fun”. But the problem is that the trail is mostly flat and with very little downhill! There were LOTS of uphills as well. Lots of Rocks and stones and man, this is a totally different beast than what I was used to on my road bike.
I was bouncing all over the place. After about 1 hour in the trail, I had a headache probably from my brain bouncing and pounding onto my skull
But at the end, we were tired as hell, but the best part was that we had to descend back to town the same way we came. My buddy’s bike’s (I think Santa Cruz (sp) with XTR components) computer’s battery decided to die out at the end of the trail, so we didn’t know how fast the descend was. But I know it was well in the 40+ MPH range. Damn, I wished I had my road bike for that session.
But now, I have so much respect for you Mtn biking folks. Those trails beat the crap out of you!!!! During a descend on the trail, I guess I wasn’t standing up enough (wanted my center of gravity to be low and far back) and the boys took a few hard rapid hits! OUCH!
Seriously, my helmet was bouncing all over the place almost covering my eyes. My glasses were about to bounce off my face! But it was an awesome experience.
I would love to do it again. However, next time, we’re taking the shuttle up to the trail and will probably do and “Easy” trail (I hope EASY = more flats and more downhills).