Tag Archives: Freeriding

More Visual Motivators

The last post talked about my visual motivator while on the trail.  But I find visual motivators at home as well.  Think back to being a kid and plastering the walls of your room with pictures of whatever you were totally into at the time.  I’m sure it still happens – that growing collection of cycling magazines I have is kept primarily for the pictures, not the articles.  When was the last time you heard that excuse?  But these days, riders are just as likely to scour the internet for an inspiring desktop background or sweet video.  I’ve been on a documentary kick lately and stumbled across a trailer for Pedal Driven, a “bike-umentary” about the future of trail building,  often done illegally on public land.  The conflict between freeride trail builders and the US Forest Service results from differing ideas of how the US population ought to be able to enjoy public land.  Since Pedal Driven is still in production, I only have the trailer to go on, but I am definitely looking forward to the finished product.  What are your thoughts?

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Superman or Dead Man?

I recently started training for SORBA-RAMBO’s 4 Ways in a Day time trial at Big Creek.  The 4 ways are XC (in both directions), Downhill, Slalom, and a brand new 750’ long climb with an average slope of 14% called “El Scorcho”that’s nestled in the heart of the freeride section.  Today I was able to ride the downhill, slalom, El Schorcho, and the XC trail in the clockwise direction.  I rode for an hour and a half with about 50 minutes at what I consider to be “race pace” after the dismal winter we’ve been having.  The XC tried to kick my butt and I need to knock off 5 minutes off the time I recorded today to be competitive in the race.  But the special thing is there’s a King of Big Creek division for anyone who does all 4 ways.  Last year there were only sixteen people who competed in the King category, so I’m hoping to put the hurt on some people with my 14 year-old GT.  I just hope I don’t break my bike before the end of the month so that I can knock one of my 2010 goals off my list early in the year.

On a whim I decided to wear my heart rate monitor and I was averaging 174 BPM.  I know I need to get this number way down for my regular rides, even with the race pace riding I was doing.  But the big surprise when I got done riding was my max HR of 245!  I must be Superman, because that would have killed mere mortals.

I Think We’re Going to Need a Bigger Bike

My friend Charlie, who is the mechanic at our shop, is into freeride and downhill mountain biking.  So while out riding the cross-country trails at Big Creek, I caught up with him in the freeride section and did a bit of filming with my cheapo point-and-shoot camera, threw the footage together and showed it to my family.  My grandmother was concerned that it was me in the video—she does want great-grandchildren in the near future—but I assured her that I was not the crazy person.  Maybe a little jealous, but not crazy.  I have decided that my next bike will definitely have more travel so I can at least consider the more technical terrain that is becoming popular.  Perhaps one day I’ll even voyage to a lift-accessed slope and rent a big squishy bike.  So, without further ado, I give you Charlie the Mechanic on the Sender at Big Creek.

Act Two – In which I begin to live the dream

So fast-forward to last year.  I’d continued cycling (now with my own non-pink Masi) and graduated from a sprint triathlon to an Olympic tri, but I was still topping out at about 25 miles a ride.  I was moving to Atlanta to be closer to my fiancée, and I had decided to try my hand at the cycling industry.  Plus, paying to get my bike serviced was getting old.

I walked into a bike shop, told them I wanted a job, and BAM—my foot’s in the door (well, it was a little less instantaneous than “BAM,” but you get my point).  I figure, I’ve been a cyclist for a year or two now, I like reading cycling magazines and getting out on my bike, and I know the different levels of Shimano componentry—I’ve got it made.

Wrong.  I never felt so humbled in my life than that first week at the bike shop. There are still days when my bike knowledge is totally shown up by a customer, but I also found out that cycling was way bigger than just the Tour de France and triathlon world I was familiar with.  Freeriding, pelotons, cyclocross, downhill, velodromes, crit races; the wide world of cycling was turning out to be wide indeed.

Every day I continue to learn something new about cycling.  I regularly conduct “market research,” or at least that’s what I tell my wife as I bring home scores of old cycling magazines.  The best part of working at a bike shop, aside from the discounted schwag, is getting other people excited about cycling.  I don’t care if it’s a soccer mom buying an entry level road bike for her first triathlon; a downtown hipster converting some old, rusty, vintage Schwinn to a fixie; or a full-face helmet, knee-pad wearing high-schooler. I love getting excited with and for other people.