A noob perspective.
Until two months ago, I hadn't really touched a bike in 15 years. I'm sure it had to have happened randomly a few times over the last decade and a half....certainly there were times, such as at the beach, where I was presented with a bicycle and I took a ride. But in the last fifteen years, I can honestly say, I haven't ever consistently ridden anything.
This wasn't always the case. I rode throughout high school and into my early adult years....the last bike I bought was in 1997. That bike was a Trek 850 shx, with a crappy as h@ll early rockshox fork. I loved riding that thing...for the little time that I had with it.
But life happened. I moved for a job and couldn't bring my bike..it went into storage. Then I met a girl...got married...kids.....three of em.
I forgot riding.
Two months ago my two oldest kids participated in a Iron Kids triathlon. They are 10 and 8 years old. After the race, as we were walking back to the car and the kids were still high on the adrenalin of competition, my eight year old pointed out to me that I never ride bikes with them. She pointed out that she knew I had a bike hanging in the closet off the garage...but still....I didn't ride with them.
She was right.
So the next morning I went out to that closet off the garage and pulled out my bike. It was that same Trek 850 from 16 years ago. It's 100% original....down to the damn tubes. I rode that bike maybe 3-4 times before I left it behind to travel for work. I'm quite frankly amazed that I still have the thing after all of the years...all of the moves. But i do.
Original tires and tubes...surely they have dry rotted. Nope. I pumped them up and they held. Brakes? Still worked. Drivetrain? Looked new...I bought some chain oil and threw some on. I got on it. Rode it up the driveway and down the street. Shifted gears...mashed the breaks...everything, to my utter dismay, still worked. So I headed home and pulled into the garage...where my eight year old little girl meets me (she is getting ready for school). She points out that I was riding a bike without a helmet. Sigh......
So over the next week I pretty much ride every day with my kids. We race down the hill in the neighborhood; we play follow the leader in the woods behind our house. I gotta tell you..I was having fun. I had forgotten how much fun I used to have riding. I decided that first week...riding was going to be something that I would make time to do.
I rode with the kids and on my own for about one more week before I realized that the old 850 just wasn't gonna cut it anymore. I took a trip to the LBS (same one where I bought that 850) and came home with a closeout 2013 Trek X-Caliber. Totally a better bike than I am rider, but it was on clearance and I didn't care! That was the best purchase that I have made in a while.
Two months later, I still ride with the kids. I also manage to make it out to Big Creek or Rope Mill in Atlanta a couple of times a week.
I'm an incredibly bad rider. Really. This crap kicks my a@@. I knew I wasn't in great shape...but go run a singletrack...let's just say you will get an honest assessment of your fitness level. I was...still am...a bit lacking.
Uphill climb..ug. Great..you have a root on the switchback while climbing...I hate you. My legs hate you.
Cornering. God I am so incredibly bad at cornering. I know why. I chicken out. See..I can say it. I chicken out..so i end up taking too little speed into the corner, which just makes it more difficult.
But I love it. I love how absolutely out of breath and dead to the world I am when I make it to the top of the climb of the beginners+ trail (yup. That bad). I made it to the top! I've gotten better at dealing with carrying speed while navigating minor rocks/roots/drops...I actually have a little confidence with this stuff now.
I still really suck though at the cornering thing though. So here is what I'm going to do. I'm gonna go out to Big Creek around 10AM tomorrow. It's a Monday...nobody will be there. I'm gonna go out, and I'm gonna work on this cornering thing...as in stop being a (insert derogatory word here) and take some corners with a little speed.
Hopefully that will not hurt too much. From there we will increase speed until I figure out exactly what both the bike and I are capable of....this may be a great photo op for you if your in the area btw... There will probably be blood!
But that's OK too...I'm having fun. More fun than I've had in a while. I wouldn't trade this for the world.
Great post, it never gets easier you just get faster.
Sent from my Transformer TF101 using Tapatalk 4
Brother, you and I are in the same boat. I "re-discovered" riding a month ago. Went out and got a new Kona Lava Dome. My kids laugh at me because I truly am a kid again when Im on that bike. Theres nothing like hitting a trail and a tree or two (i suck at cornering as well). Im glad I've gotten back on a bicycle, its changed my perspective on things. Its good to have a real challenge again. Good luck buddy and great post!
A noob perspective.
I started MTB in April this year, and I'm amazed how far I progressed both at the skill level and the fitness level. For me, it is one if the best sports and activities that I got into. Keep at it and you'll find yourself making progress and taking it to a next level.
2009 Stumpjumper Comp HT.
An old Trek 820 ST.
Same here. I bought a KHS XC 104 two months ago and started riding. I LOVE IT. I've got some pretty aggressive trails around me here at Bootleg Canyon and I love to push it. I have gotten much stronger and much more capable on the bike. I've just ordered a 2013 Specialized Camber Comp 29er. I have test rode this bike and I'm so much faster and climb so much better on it. I can't wait until she is sitting in the garage begging me to take her for a ride each morning!
It's never too late. Way to go, and Props to your kids for kicking you in the butt to ride
If you used to ride and then took an extended break, you aren't a noob....you're a renoob.
Last edited by Stegerman; 10-14-2013 at 11:46 AM.
Back in the 60's my parents bought me and my brother Monkey Wards 10 speed road bikes. I rode mine everywhere. My brother did not. We lived in the mountains in northern CA. I took mine off road all the time.
Over the years I not ride very much. Now I am in my 50's, single, and want to get back into shape. I have had 3 blood clots in the lungs and 2 in the legs and a stroke from a clot that went through a hole in my heart, thus open hear surgery. I am in good shape concerning everything. Today, my blood is doing better. The first clot took me from 150 lbs to 106 lbs I was dying.
Now I have great interest in rebuilding my body. I am at the gym and taking Tai Chi and am considering taking Eagle Claw Kung Fu.
I just picked up a used Iron Horse Sport 24 speed and I want to get out and ride and ride. I know it will take awhile to get back into shape, but I do have the desire.
So OP you are not alone in your quest to enjoy life again. I am glad you have 2 little motivators as soon I will find my own in my area.
Good that you are out having fun, On cornering ,the first thing do to is check your air pressure ,for dirt start around 40psi and go lower until you pinch flat. New bikes don't necessary come with tires that work for you or your area.
The X-Caliber is a great bike. I have the Cobia, and it is a great frame and geometry. And in the future when other Trek riders come up to you you can say you have an X-Cal, not the new cheap one either, a real X-Cal.
Did you sell the 850?
Awesome, awesome post. Your desire to learn, and your acceptance of what it takes to get better will give you success.
I started mountain biking 3 years ago. I struggled with the same things as you've said, but I loved it too. I took a BetterRide clinic and it changed my life. Seriously. Not only does it teach you a huge amount of skills, it gives you skills to work on outside the clinic, every day, every ride. You're guaranteed to get better.
I took the 3-day clinic. The amount of information they give you is incredible. They go into detail about body position, vision, cornering, braking, etc. Did you know that cornering a bike is counter-steering? Neither did I.
It's worth every penny and more.
Neil Young- I Am A Child
I give to you, now you give to me...
I'd like to know what you've learned...
Your post makes me think of this lyric.
Gone are the days we stopped to decide,
Where we should go,
We just ride...
... fixed that for you ...
Originally Posted by JasonC71
"it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"
agree with pertime. awesome to hear you are having so much fun. I;m the same. 3 years ago a left a work area that had a great gym and let my fitness slide. last year i vounteered at a 24hr mtb race and rode as a track marshall. I rode one 13km lap up a mountain and it took 3 hours. I was severly disappointed with myself and how unfit i had become. This year were I work a new boss came in (military depot) and decided that everyone working there military and civies was to be involved in morning PT if they wanted to...so I jumped at the chance. two weeks ago I volunteered at the same event. rode two laps but had a blast riding and my fitness compared to last year was much much better..hoping next year to be back to competing
me on the first lap as track marshall, loved it. some areas where still to techincal for me as my skills have deserted me..but more riding will fix that up
"There are two kinds of mountain bikers in the world: those who are faster than me, and me."
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