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  1. #1
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    Just popped my singletrack cherry...

    And learned the importance of starting out small! The trail was a brand new trail built by the Gateway Off Road Cyclists, a great volunteer organization that builds and maintains MTB trails in the St Louis Area.

    The trail was listed as "Intermediate," but being in pretty decent physical shape I figured I could handle it. I lift several times a week and run 6 miles a couple times a week. Last week I rode for the first time for 10'ish years (And back then it was paved trails) and whereas I did get off road, I ended up doing 20 miles over two days of mostly hard packed dirt and gravel on wide trails. Real easy.

    This trail wound it's way up the side of a mountain. Going up, obviously, was mostly uphill. There were several switchbacks in steep (By my standards, lol) dips and several places I was pretty sure that if I had rode it I would have ended up in the ER.

    So...it seemed like on the way up the mountain I was off the bike more than on. I'd pedal for a tenth or a quarter of a mile, have to take a break, then try again. Coming down was clearly much faster and more fun, but I still had to take several breaks.

    All in all a good day, and this trail in particular is a goal for me. Before too long I WILL be able to ride at least most of that trail.

    I've got to learn how to climb, work up my stamina, and inflate my balls a bit. I'm sure that some of the obstacles I walked over I COULD have done if I'd had a bit more confidence.

    My GPS app said I did 9.5 miles today in just over 2 hours, though I did spend probably a good 30 minutes trying to find this trail in the first place, as it's not marked yet. Man, it seemed like I was on that mountain a lot longer than that!

    There was a pretty cool view from the top.



    Earnest Hemingway once said "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part.

  2. #2
    govt kontrakt projkt mgr
    Reputation: ArmySlowRdr's Avatar
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    I used to live in the st louis metro.

    Be sure and check out Castlewood. Further is the Berryman, an IMBA epic.

    Just across the river at SIU-Edwardsville is a fantastic flowy trail system.

    Highland, IL has the Silver Lake trails.

    I am sure you are going to have a great time in the Gateway area riding !

    Congrats on your 1st ST ride

  3. #3
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    Is that Klondike park or Matson hill? You should ride lost valley.
    -always thinking about the next ride-

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmySlowRdr View Post
    I used to live in the st louis metro.

    Be sure and check out Castlewood. Further is the Berryman, an IMBA epic.
    Thanks man. I actually live in Eureka, so I am surrounded by this trail, Castlewood, Chubb and Greensfelder. After being on this I know I'm nowhere near ready for Chubb or Greensfelder, as they're supposed to be more technical, but I have enough trails within 15 minutes to keep me busy for sure.

    Fremen, it's the Bluff View trail, just outside of Castlewood SP. I'll get up to Lost Valley at some point for sure.
    Earnest Hemingway once said "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part.

  5. #5
    BBB STYLEE
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    You have inflateable balls? D:

    Glad you were able to experience the heaven that is single track! Keep us updated on your progress!
    Im referred to as a BBBM. Big Beautiful Beard Man.

  6. #6
    I like bikes
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    Awesome stuff. I love hearing of more people jumping onboard the singletrack love train. Keep posting your progress, brings back some fun/scarry/zen-like/near-death-experience/epic memories....lol.

  7. #7
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    Hey bleedinblue even when you are walking your rig you are still getting a great workout! I tell myself that all the time.

    Nice pics.
    -----
    Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups

  8. #8
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    Eureka? I have fond memories of Hidden Valley

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by StopStaring@myUnit View Post
    You have inflateable balls? D:

    Glad you were able to experience the heaven that is single track! Keep us updated on your progress!
    Not inflatable, but I'm checking Ebay every day. Ebay has EVERYTHING.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghglenn View Post
    Awesome stuff. I love hearing of more people jumping onboard the singletrack love train. Keep posting your progress, brings back some fun/scarry/zen-like/near-death-experience/epic memories....lol.
    Quote Originally Posted by el_Fernando View Post
    Hey bleedinblue even when you are walking your rig you are still getting a great workout! I tell myself that all the time.

    Nice pics.
    Thanks guys, I'm going to keep at it for sure. When I got the idea to start mountain biking several weeks ago I don't think I imagined any of the scary dips/jumps/drops/downhills. But...I like it

    As far as the pics, I may need to start taking an actual camera with me and not rely on my phone. The Razr takes good pics in ideal lighting, but even a point and shoot probably still has it beat for all around clarity.

    Quote Originally Posted by gentimmy View Post
    Eureka? I have fond memories of Hidden Valley
    We've lived five minutes away from Hidden Valley the last two seasons and haven't gone yet. It's definitely on the to do list for next Winter.
    Earnest Hemingway once said "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part.

  10. #10
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    Great place to live for sure. I live on ries literally about a mile from castlewood.

    Go clipless and it will suddenly get alot easier.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bleedinblue View Post
    We've lived five minutes away from Hidden Valley the last two seasons and haven't gone yet. It's definitely on the to do list for next Winter.
    Don't go expecting anything but a ski slope in Missouri haha

  12. #12
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    I hit it again today. All in all it wasn't much better, still lots of resting and quite a bit of walking uphill. I was able to complete a handful of the switchbacks though, lol. It's going to be tough to work up the legs to do decent on uphills only making it out to ride a few times a month. Because of a lot of ill timed rain, I've only been out riding once since trying this trail the first time.
    Earnest Hemingway once said "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part.

  13. #13
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    I wouldn't sweat it...most of us seasonal riders take awhile to get are riding legs, beginner or veteran. There's only so many Spin Classes I can stand to do leading up to riding season.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghglenn View Post
    I wouldn't sweat it...most of us seasonal riders take awhile to get are riding legs, beginner or veteran. There's only so many Spin Classes I can stand to do leading up to riding season.
    I hear that, 20 years of spring pain and I still never do winter spin class. If I am not out on the bike I just can't do it. To me spin class or just the trainer at home is like watching paint dry, I just can't turn my mind off to do it. I need the fresh air, the wind, the dirt the cars trying to run me over heading to the trail head LOL.
    Giant XTC 2 29er
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by fahza29er View Post
    I hear that, 20 years of spring pain and I still never do winter spin class. If I am not out on the bike I just can't do it. .
    Agreed! The first 2 or 3 weeks of riding is always the most difficult after a long winter. Im always muttering to myself "Why did I pick this sport!" while huffing and puffing along. But... alas I fall in love again every season.
    RIDE GIANTS

  16. #16
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    Be careful inflating your balls, they can get hung up on the top tube...

  17. #17
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    Taking a bike patrol class through the department this week. It's hell, but a lot of the techniques taught are going to be of great use on the trails. Yesterday was nothing but slow speed precision work. The absolute worst was a 9 foot square formed in cones that we had to make three laps INSIDE of. Today was more basic with just dismounts/quick turns/stops. Tomorrow is going up and down stair cases. Not too thrilled about going UP! Going down shouldn't be much different than a technical downhill. Probably easier, even.

    The department bike I'm using is a piece, outfitted with a super cool shock seat post and pedal cages (pedal cages are required for the class...) It's going to be nice to get back on my Airborne!
    Earnest Hemingway once said "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part.

  18. #18
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    Congrats on your riding! It will get better and the way you are doing it is an easy way to measure gains......meaning ride the same loop/trail over and over and pick a landmark just slightly farther than the last time. I also commend you for being on the job.....I retired in 2006.

  19. #19
    Happy Trails
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    I was all set to wail on you, but ... nice work. PosRep for you, bro, and happy trails. But please ... no more cherry-popping references.

  20. #20
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    Pedal cages required? That's seems crazy. Did they mention why they're required? Seems like it would slow down your starts and your dismounts when you're chasing/engaging perps. Cages are horrible IMO.

    BTW, I switched from flats to clipless (CB Candy 2's) shortly after starting MTBing a couple of years ago and never looked back.

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