Monday, November 8, 2010

Tree Hungging Good Times...

This season has been crazy. I’ve tried to get in tune with a regular riding schedule and it never fails; something f*%*s it all to hell. If you have kids, you understand. If you are a man trapped in a women’s body, you understand. If you are a washed-up, has been trying to re-live your childhood memories, you too understand. So what’s my deal? Hell if I know. Maybe it’s the fact that I can’t say NO. I take on too many projects around the house. I try to see my friends and family regularly. I try to be a good dad and husband. I try to be a kick ass mtn biker (or… least look good trying).

I was having a great season until my sweet baby, my little princes, my lone bicycle got destroyed whilst driving into the garage with said bike on the roof rack. Holy shit! Yes, you just did that and it might be o.k., if your really damn lucky. That day, I was not lucky. Moving on. Still paying for a bike I’d sold to a friend. Buying [it] back and riding the rigid fixed gear on the trails. This set me back a few light-years in speed and ability. I think I can finally ride the thing over whatever I want, but I’m still not very fast. Blah!

I’d been getting out to ride quite a bit as of late but my local trails combined with a fully rigid fixed gear was starting to get to my tendonitis in both elbows…again. I had suffered from this a year ago and had bought a suspension fork and things were better. So I’d been looking for a new fork (yes, my old one got whacked in the garage scenario too) and I thought I found one. Turns out I bought a 120 mm fork for my bike built for an 80 mm. Stupid me! Screw it. I’m gonna ride that thing chopper style and see what happens. That’s when we get to the following short story of…

The Old Fat n Slow Guys Ride Part 1 (a.k.a. treehugger):

I invited a hand full of old pals over to ride at SMP at a fun and casual pace with lots of stops and potential for beer drinking and goofing off. Brad had just bought a new bike (at the expense of his daughters college experience) that had never touched dirt. Nick was a seasoned rider (but has, more/less a broken back and is so tall he has to ride in the fetal position to clear branches). Randy is getting into riding harder (but I think he needs a beer hanging in front of him on a string to keep him pushing it to the max). Then there’s me…I was trying to ride a Harley…and I knew better!

We left my casa and headed into the park on some paved trails. At the ‘Y’ I asked if we should take the easy or hilly variation. No answer…so I took the hills. We all cried like girls but made it…eventually to the summit and bushwhacking section of the adventure. After gaining the single track we all started having a good time in the dirt. Dabbing seemed normal to us, as we were going so slow we’d bounce backwards upon impacting a rock or root. None of us seemed to have the stamina to really crush it today.

Miles of technical rocky trail was conquered. We were nearing the 4-way were a decision would be made as to what direction we’d go home; long, medium or short in length. I decided to sprint through some fun downish hill section of bench cut when my front end washed-out to the downhill side and directly into a good sized tree. I had never hit a tree full-on before. I had never even tried to break a 2x4 with my karate skills and in all my years snowboarding had only hugged one insignificant aspen. This was a good hard thump. I tried to brace for impact by tucking into the tree with my shoulder, which was followed by my shin. WHAMM!!! I thought to my self “ I might be hurt”. I had a ¼” deep dent in my shin but could stand and walk. My forearm had a nice monkey-bump on it and otherwise, I was still ride-ready. I caught up to the group and was hurting. I think I verbalized that I might be hurt but we seemed to avoid talking about it much and rather, chose our route home and took off.

All in all we had a great ride. The fellas were trying all of the hardest obstacles, and successfully riding most of them. I was pretty impressed overall with the quality of our Old Fat n Slow Guys Ride. It had been too long doing rides with the bike-crazed, racer types (or alone). I needed the experience and good low key vibe of old pals, gentle flow of single track at a comfortable pace, and of course a fine malty beverage awaiting me at home. Lets do it again sometime soon!

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