Originally, I was going to blog about mountain biking because I’m getting back into it after a long hiatus; however, I used to road ride too and enjoyed it very much. As a fan of Shemar Moore, I’ve been following his Facebook page where he often gives updates about his training. He’s spending a lot of time on his road bike to get ready for a century (100 mile) ride and is doing it to raise money for MS. Visit his page to find out more and donate if it’s a cause close to your heart.
|Shemar Moore-Criminal Minds-Riding for MS|
When I met my Hubba-luv, he and his friends were big mountain bikers. I was a runner back then, but I loved to hike in the mountains and the thought of biking had some appeal. In the end, we enjoyed being on two wheels so much we spent our honeymoon biking through the Netherlands.
For my first mountain biking excursion, I borrowed Hubba-luv’s best friend’s girlfriend’s bike and the posse took me to Yellow River. The bike I borrowed is the one I currently own because girlfriend didn’t get into the sport. I only participated in one event and entered the novice class. It was me and a bunch of eight year old boys. Good times!
For my introduction to mountain biking, they supposedly took me on the easy route. I learned two things that day: I loved to climb and I hated to descend. The thrill seeking men thought I had that backward. They said the reward for the grueling climb is the fast, fun descent. They had mojo which I clearly did not develop over time.
Climbing is rhythmic, slow and steady. I have time to pick my line (the best place for the tires to go around rocks and over roots) and power up the mountain. Descending is scary. The switchbacks and hairpin turns come fast and furious. There’s less time to think about where to aim your front tire. The advice I was given was “Don’t look where you don’t want to go.” Easier said than done.
I met a female mountain biker (I’ll call her C) who taught me many things like how and when to shift my weight on the seat, when to pop up the front tire, and to keep one finger on the front brake and two on the rear.
C was also a cyclist and somehow, Hubba-luv’s entire mountain biking posse, including me, all wound up with road bikes. We rode in and around Atlanta some weekdays and then drove to the mountains on weekends for much longer rides. C’s fiancé frequently raced centuries, but most of us weren’t that devoted, so we did a metric century (100 kilometers~ 62 miles) for bragging rights.
Photograph by Paula Preston Turner
It was during this time I ran triathlons. Cycling was my favorite of the three events. It didn’t hurt my knees like running and there was less chance I’d get kicked in the head or eaten by a shark on my bike. That’s not to say there are no injuries/accidents on bicycles.
Clipless pedals (a misnomer because you clip your shoe into the pedal) are dangerous when you first learn to use them. If you don’t unclip your shoe in time, you fall. It happened to me in a parking lot full of people. Road rash is a painful injury where you leave layers of epithelium on the roadway. In my case, I rarely fell while riding my road bike, but often fell while descending on my mountain bike. Scratches, scrapes, bruises, two cracked ribs, and a sprained wrist are a few of the injuries I sustained trail riding. There’s also the chance of cyclists getting run off the road, things thrown at them, and even killed.
Our two-wheeled sporting slowly dwindled when we moved from Atlanta to Florida. There were no mountains to bike on, but there was a trail through the National Forest near our home. It was very sandy and if you’ve never tried to ride a bike through sand, I don’t recommend it.
Eventually, saltwater fishing became Hubba-luv’s sport and I devoted more time to yoga. Rather than getting beach cruisers, we kept our mountain bikes and frequently peddled around the back streets of our little town. I didn’t shift gears on my bike for about ten years so it wasn’t a huge surprise when we moved to Alabama and discovered the shifter didn’t work. Hubba-luv tuned everything up before we hit the trail. I’m still on the easy trails until I get more confidence, but at least I’m back in the saddle again.
Do you have any tales from the trail or the road?