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  1. #1
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    Keep Riding it gets Better.

    A month after I got back into riding I joined a group ride with some guys I didn't know on a local trail I had ridden a portion of a couple of times. They set off on a blistering pace and after the first mile I was nearly exhausted. Thankfully they paused to practice a very difficult trail feature and I was able to catch my breath. With in the next mile we came to a creek crossing with a 24" wide bridge followed by a climb. I was riding last and went off the side of the bridge onto my head. I made the climb up to where the group was and let them know I was in over my head, and on my head, and was turning back. I thanked them and proceeded to return to my car shaken and a bit dejected.

    Fast forward a year and I joined them on another ride on a different trail. Not only was I able to easily keep up but on some sections I pulled lead. On one climb I was riding third and the two in front of me fell over at the same place on trail, one to the left one to the right, leaving a small gap in between for me to ride thru which I did. We later talked about my first ride and they asked what I had been doing since then. I said about 2000 miles.

    BTW I now ride the bridge easily, with little trepidation, and that difficult trail feature is actually pretty easy.

  2. #2
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    Nice story, props for your perseverance.

  3. #3
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    When I moved from Michigan to Los Angeles, the very first ride I did was a "shop ride" from the LBS where I got my bike. What everyone neglected to mention was that it was with the Trek MTB team. I was so far out of my league that I didn't even make it from the shop to the actual dirt trail. The climbing just killed me . . . in Michigan, there is no climbing. Its all slow rollers or flat.

    Fast forward about 18 months and I see the Trek guys again at a demo and sure enough they remembered me . . . as the guy on the $3K bike who couldn't make it up the hill. Well I obviously still can't keep up with them, but they were all pleased to see me riding still. Similarly, they asked about my "training" and I told them that it took me a month after my first ride to be able to make it up the hill (its 2500 feet of steady climbing), and another month to be able to do it non-stop. Now its no sweat and I ride it 2x per week and am in the top 25% on Strava for the same stretch.
    Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!

  4. #4
    Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
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    When I started riding, I was about as good as a newborn deer is at walking. After a few weeks of learning balance over bumps (I was good riding on the road), steep downhills, and steep uphills, I began to get the hang of it.
    Lucky for me I live on the top of a steep driveway, so I went out every evening to ride up the driveway once or twice (after sometimes pushing my F9 up my hill far into the pines and riding down through the pines).
    That was a year ago. Now, I can ride up my driveway while still gaining speed. I remember when I couldn't even walk up my driveway without panting uncontrollably.
    Big Wheels Keep On Rolling

    Forth Eorlingas!

  5. #5
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    I can relate to your experience. I struggled while trying to learn mtb basics. I could not keep up the pace during group rides and so I was always dropped. My husband who was a very skilled and experienced rider would hang back, encourage me and gently coach me as I rode at a snails pace. I was determined to get better and stronger and I kept practicing all year: rain, snow, ice, heat, easy trails, hard trails, hills, flats, and eventually dh.

    My tenacity and determination eventually paid off ... those riders who initially dropped me on the trails, don't have the dh skills to keep up with me on technical sections and I can ride with them on our local trails.
    F*ck Cancer

    Eat your veggies

  6. #6
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    It sure is amazing what more time in the saddle can do! The first time I ever ride on a single technical trail I crashed over on a bush....breaking it off, along with my chain. Frustrated I turned around, but not before another crash down a ledge! I've now made a 180 and it's great to look back and see how far I've come...granted I've still got a ways to go

  7. #7
    Bandit 29 FTW!!!
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    Kudos for getting back on your "horse". Time on the trails builds strength and confidence. Fatigue is your enemy on the trails and as you build your endurance and technique you be a better rider with less mistakes.
    Let's make like a Bike and get the Huck outta here...

  8. #8
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    Just goes to show that it gets better with time
    F*ck Cancer

    Eat your veggies

  9. #9
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    I have been riding long enough to have multiple stories like this. Sometimes life gets in the way of riding and you have to return. I am 47 and am riding as good if not better than I did 10 years ago. At least I never lost any technical ability in those lean years, just cardio. This let me beat guys in better shape but who had less experience.

  10. #10
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    Just like with most things out there time and training will allow you to progress. Not many people can jump on a MTB their first time and blaze up the steep climbs or across features without any problems. Good on you for sticking with it.

  11. #11
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    Thanks all for your comments and your stories also.
    I now ride regularly with a group and we are all basically equal in ability and stamina and push each other in a friendly way. My wife has taken up Mtb's now also and she will be able to join us on some rides in the future if she keeps riding.

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