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  1. #1
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    Describe Your First Ride

    Or at least the ride that inspired you to MTB ride regularly. Here's mine...

    In 1988 I was in my late 20s working a desk job, and I noticed I was starting to grow a gut. I was interested in finding a form of exercise that was fun enough to do for it’s own sake.

    About that time, some friends and I went to Big Bear Lake, California. There were four of us, and two mountain bikes. Two of them were into running, but I hate running. So one of the guys with a bike agrees to run and I used his Stumpjumper.

    So two of us ran and two of us rode the bikes up a dirt road for a mile or so, then down again. It was fall and it had snowed a few days earlier, so the surface varied between hard dirt, gravel, snow, puddles and mud. We were still two years away from suspension forks and I wore no helmet (those were for nerd wimps), but I immediately enjoyed the challenge of handling the bike on whatever kind of surface I was riding on.

    It wasn’t long before I visited a bike shop and road away on a rigid-forked Univega mountain bike with Biopace chainrings. My ride now is nicer & plusher, but I still enjoy the zen of dealing with whatever your tires are rolling over.
    Last edited by Racnad; 04-04-2014 at 05:00 PM.

  2. #2
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    Isn't it interesting how we just get hooked into this wonderful sport!! I had a motobecane 29er that I never rode off road and took it on a trip to NC with 2 very good friends of mine. First time ever for me I was on a trail in NC. Bent Creak to be exact. I do not remember which trail but there was a steep drop off on one side and a very narrow trail. I was white knuckling it down hill scared to death I was going to fall off the edge. At one point my bike slid from me constantly locking up my brakes and almost slid off the edge. My back tire was off the edge. It was a 3 hour ride. I did not have bike shorts and I was riding the seat all the time. It felt like Mike Tyson punched me in the taint. I almost cooked my brakes. Was scared and my whole body was tense the entire time, I was of course the slowest of all the guys I was with and felt bad that they would have to stop and wait for me. But I fell in love with this sport and could not wait to get better!

  3. #3
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    My first ride is very fresh in my mind as it was just 3 months ago. My best friend and I had started jogging and working out together and had been discussing mountain biking for a long time. He rode a good bit in his younger days and still had his 1997 GT Avalanche hanging from the ceiling in his garage. I ordered myself my first “real” mountain bike an entry level GT Karakoram 29er, I had a big box Schwinn prior. We pull down his bike, perform a little maintenance and hit the trail.

    Now keep in mind that I haven’t been on a bike since I was a teenager and had NEVER ridden a mountain bike trail in my life. I look around for the nearest trail to me and we head off. Little did I know that the trail we were hitting was one of the more technically difficult in the area. It was riddled with lots of short, steep, root covered climbs and rock gardens galore. I learned quickly that my legs and lungs were nowhere near the shape I thought they were and did a fair amount of hike-a-biking on the uphill stuff. Like the old saying goes, “what goes up must come down” and boy did it ever. After the first downhill section I knew I was hooked. They were an absolute blast and really made me think about what I was doing trying to avoid the rocks, trees and roots as I’m rolling through.

    Now I’m still a complete newb that still has trouble with uphill rocky and/or root filled sections, but I now hit the trail at a minimum of twice a week and don’t come off the bike near as much to walk through a section.

  4. #4
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    My first ride was in 1994 on the Chorro Grande trail in the Los Padres National forest in southern CA. I went with a bunch of friends who were all casuals (everyone had a mtb at the time). Only one of us was wearing a helmet and I actually ditched my waterbottle so I could carry a smoking utensil which we made good use of. This ride is pretty gnarly and we were all in way over our heads but we managed to come out fine and have a blast. We had one minor crash and we all drank from a questionable spring with no bad effects. It was an awesome adventure.

  5. #5
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    Re: Describe Your First Ride

    First time I rode singletrack was when I was just looking for a spot to burn one when I took my bike on a trail and followed it. I was looking to ditch a friend and the trail made good work of that.

  6. #6
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    Not the first, but one of the most memorable:
    Way back when I was still on a 20" bike, my bro. and I raced a singletrack, through a major babyhead-strewn downhill, with a creek crossing at the bottom. Whoever hit the water first won. ...unless you couldn't get up the other side. The trail was too narrow so neither of us was on it - we were racing down either edge of the rocks, shoulder to shoulder. We both hit the creek and both sank our front wheels into the far bank where we were expecting an upward transistion. He flipped over and landed on dry ground, leaving his bike right where it plugged in the muck. I wasn't so tall so I endoed, my bars hit the bank, and I tipped back into the creek. We laughed our heads off.

    I was happy that I could keep up with the elder, and exhilarated at the speed. After that, I often hurled myself at obstacles and descents without much thought or fear. Plus, I wasn't worried about the bike since it was all made from found parts.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  7. #7
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    Had just moved to Whistler for snow sports and needed something to do in the summer and the default here is mountain biking so I had picked up a Giant Reign X not really knowing much about bikes or mountain biking at all. My buddy took me out on the local XC trails (more like DH trails around here...).

    We're riding along the road to where the trail starts and suddenly buddy pops into the woods and starts climbing. I thought he was messing with me because the trail looked like something I would have trouble walking up and I couldn't imagine people bike up stuff like that. Sure enough, that was the start of the trail and I started climbing, slipping off my pedals every two meters as I'm trying to get over roots and rocks. Eventually made it to the top an hour later and was ready to puke. Buddy has been sitting there relaxing for the last 30 mins or so... I kept thinking this wasn't a sport for me at that point but everything changed when we pointed the bikes downhill. It was the most fun thing I had ever done other than skiing and even though I went OTB several times, I was hooked.

    Now I actually look forward to technical steep climbs like that and don't feel like I want to puke at the top each time. It definitely whips you into shape.

  8. #8
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    DATE: 02/24/2007
    TRAIL: Hurkey Creek Park (24hrs of Adrenalin Race Course).
    TRAIL CONDITIONS: 46 degrees F, with light snow flurries.
    BIKE: 2006 Trek 4900 Disc hardtail, with 2.10 commuter slicks and plastic demo pedals. Bike alone weighed 33 pounds, and was one size too large for me.
    RIDER PHYSICAL CONDITION: Poor - just quit 25 years of smoking, one month previous. Seventy-five pounds overweight and had NO IDEA what this 6.6 mile XC race loop had in store.

    EXPERIENCE:
    I was absolutely jazzed about my very FIRST trail ride. My buddy Ozzie picked me up at 8am and we drove 30 min up the hill on a chilly, overcast day. We geared up and I first realized I had to wear a heavy hydration pack(borrowed). I was the first up the 5%, one-mile, semi-technical hill climb. But, less than a 1/4 mile into the ascent - I was already furiously panting for air and allowed the rest of the pack of five others pass me by. I took about seven rest stops, while the rest waited for my fat, slow ass to finish that first climb.

    I took the first descent way too fast and deliberately laid the bike down....as I knew no other way of scrubbing off the excessive speed I was carrying - a HUGE noob mistake. On another clay-strewn descent - I resorted to simply walking the bike down the slippery, rutted surface. It took me almost 3 hours to complete the 6.6 mile loop!

    Fast-forward to today....and now I can complete the initial technical climb in ONE SHOT, without rests. My personal best times for finishing that loop is now 48 minutes(XC Sport-Class lap time, is 39 min).

    This was the pivotal ride that fueled my passion and love for MTB. I now crave epic, five-hour rides over 30 miles in duration. And, I have all the scars to prove it!!!!
    Last edited by Zachariah; 07-01-2013 at 11:24 AM.
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  9. #9
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    Spring '88, a half gallon of mushroom tea for breakfast, a rental bike and a trail that traverses a section of the continental divide above Steamboat with a multi mile descent into town to finish. Grins and giggles, creek crossings, rock gardens, miles of buff duff at high speed through the aspens and fresh caught brook trout for lunch. Too bad days like that don't happen more frequently but I've been chasing the memory for a while.

  10. #10
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    My roommate and I had fancy road bikes, and a couple of old one-speed klunkers to use as town bikes. One day around 1973 or 1974 we took the old bikes out on a trail and had a lot of fun. So we kept doing it, and now the bikes are better than the ones we rode that day.
    It don't mean a feng if it ain't got that
    shui.

  11. #11
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    2005: hadn't ridden a bike in 10 years. Purchased a used bike and joined my buddies for a (now) easy 10 mile, one hour ride. Get passed by everyone on the uphill and get off the bike on what is now a joke of a downhill. Now, I'm the one motivating everyone to ride, and don't get passed so much, uphill or down. What a great sport!
    Quote Originally Posted by VanillaEps View Post
    A little bit of pee just trickled out of my pipi when I saw that.

  12. #12
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    Oh...

    OK, back in 1992 I bought a mtn bike and rode it on a dirt road. Was fun. Did it a second time and so on.

  13. #13
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    I started BMXng in 1979 on a 1977 Team Mongoose BMX, in 1986 my dad got me a Cannondale SM600 MTB which I rode all over the woods in Puerto Rico until I left in 93. El Yunque, Guajataca and all the towns along la Codillera Central are my favorites.

  14. #14
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    I was in middle school and out camping with my family in Ocala National Forest, FL. One of my Dad's work friend, Jim, was headed out to Santos trail head and invited us along. He picked us up from the campsite & had to help change a rear flat tire before we left. Then on the hour long car trip to the trail head discovered that we did not have any helmets (I am sure that he was questioning what he got himself into).

    All I can remember now from that ride was descending down a section that had railroad ties as water breaks, which I considered to be sweet jumps... been hooked ever since!

  15. #15
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    My first real(kinda) ride was actually on my sisters mountain bike going down the big hill in our yard. She was 12 and got her first real bike, a Trek something-or-other from a lbs. I wanted a mountain bike too but my birthday wasn't for another couple of months. We went back to the lbs to get a couple of accessories and get a minor tune-up a week or so after that. While we were waiting for her bike I was entranced by the row of GT mountiain bikes on the floor. I of course knew I couldn't get anything super expensive but I picked out a GT Talera before my parents could pick one out for me. I begged them to let me pay the difference in price between the GT and the Trek. It was about $150, no small chunk of change for a 13 year old. Thankfully they relented and a couple of months later I took delivery of my badass GT. My best friend had a GT Mach One(he still does, actually) and we were set for a summer of biking awesomeness. I remember riding up and down all the hills between my friends' houses and mine instead of taking the roads. All the time pushing myself to go faster and faster, but trying not to break my neck. I had that bike for over 10 years and kept it relatively well maintained. I replaced all the cables, adjusted the brakes & deraileures and replaced the rear tire to sell it to a friend of mine. I'm not really sad that I got rid of it but I am sad it's taken me so long to buy another mtb. I bought another GT, an '06 Avalanche 1.0, and am in the process of getting it back to severe-duty capability. Thankfully I live in CO where I can reeeeeally enjoy my new mtb and can push myself even harder & further than when I was a kid

    I'm trying not to tear up from nostalgia...

  16. #16
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    which I considered to be sweet jumps... been hooked ever since!

  17. #17
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    My first ride..."Man this is hard!!"
    One Gear Under God

  18. #18
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    In 2007 I met a guy who took me mountain biking on our first date. I had never ridden off road before and since I am adventurous I was thrilled to experience something new. He lent me a bike and off we went. I enjoyed our conversation and scenery. I was slow but trying to get the hang of trail riding. Then I encountered a steep down hill section and I promptly went OTB landing hard on my hip. I laughed and dusted myself off. I got back on the bike and kept riding. Although my hip hurt like hell, I didn't want to whine and cry like a baby because I didn't want to ruin the date.

    The next day I had a bruise the size of my face on my hip, plus multiple bruises and scrapes on my legs and arms. Yup the first time riding a mountain bike was memorable. That mountain biker named singlesprocket, asked me out on another date and we've been riding together ever since. I ended up marrying him.
    F*ck Cancer

    Eat your veggies

  19. #19
    29ers Forever
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    In 2011, after purchasing my F9, I tried out the trail network in Rutland, VT called Pine Hill Park. I had no idea where this place was, so when I eventually found it and when I began to ride, I got lost and ended up riding on a walking trail. There, I met up with this local kid who told me about this really fun trail on top of the hill. After almost a half hour of having to walk up a forest road, I found the trail "Underdog". This was the first real trail experience I had, and I absolutely loved it. At the top, I rode down the road I climbed and jumped a few water bars in the process. . I loved mountain biking so much that when I got home, I started to save up money to buy a new bike.
    Big Wheels Keep On Rolling

    Forth Eorlingas!

  20. #20
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    First time was when a buddy showed up at college in 1986 with a Raleigh mountain bike. I rode it up a trail on campus that was moderately steep and it hurt my legs. I turned around and rode back down fast. I thought this climbing stuff is for the birds but I loved the ride back down.

    Back then, there were no lift services trails so I had to endure the climbs to get the descents. All the trails were technical multi-use trails. You learned how to ride that stuff pretty good. No such thing as a flow trail. Downhills occurred on ski slopes after riding up.

    After 25+ years of riding I prefer the climbs and have only ever ridden a lift up a mountain 2 individual times. All I do now is look for good climbs. I do still enjoy the descents and love the flowy trails like at KT in Vermont.

  21. #21
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    I saw an advertisement in "Boy's Life" magazine for a Murray Baja and I knew I had to have one. I saved for almost three years before I had enough to buy it, and rode it from age 14-16 very regularly. I've been hooked ever since!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repack Rider View Post
    My roommate and I had fancy road bikes, and a couple of old one-speed klunkers to use as town bikes. One day around 1973 or 1974 we took the old bikes out on a trail and had a lot of fun. So we kept doing it, and now the bikes are better than the ones we rode that day.
    Are your initial CK? If so, I bought your book in the late-80s, and we've chatted before on the CompuServe cycling forum.

  23. #23
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racnad View Post
    Are your initial CK? If so, I bought your book in the late-80s, and we've chatted before on the CompuServe cycling forum.
    Yep, Repack Rider has ridden with the TRUE Klunkerz gang; Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze, Keith Bontrager, Tom Ritchey, et.al....
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  24. #24
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    My first ride was a few years ago. Not sure about the date, but my wife convinced me to get a bike. So I found some MTB bike on craigslist for 60 bucks. Got us both bikes. And off we went to Ocala Florida for some riding. We prob did 4 miles.LOL At the time it felt like 400. I was 6.2, 285lbs, with a 42 inch waist. I was very unhealthy. Today, I weight 175 lbs, with a 28 inch waist. I road and MTB at least 200 miles a week, and race. Life is funny sometimes. I could not loose a pound to literally save my life until I found my love for riding.Describe Your First Ride-img_0128.jpgDescribe Your First Ride-img_0978.jpg

  25. #25
    Retro on Steroids
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zachariah View Post
    Yep, Repack Rider has ridden with the TRUE Klunkerz gang; Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze, Keith Bontrager, Tom Ritchey, et.al....
    Never rode with Keith Bontrager, who lived over 100 miles from Marin County and didn't take part in any of our activities.
    It don't mean a feng if it ain't got that
    shui.

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