Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mountain versus Road

We are in Sedona AZ today and I decided that I wanted to go biking. And being as mountain biking is a big thing around here I figured it'd be a good opportunity to give it a try. I'm a pretty decent road biker (if I do say so myself) so I figured I ought to stand a chance on the dirt.

I talked to the guy at the bike shop, said I was a road biker, and asked what trails he recommended. They had a map so he showed me the main trail that started right across the street. But that trail wasn't particularly long so he recommended going about half way up it and then taking this other trail. That sounded good to be so off I went.

I discovered fairly quickly that my rental had the most squeaky brakes ever, that was annoying, but so it goes. All in all the thing was harder to propel. That's to be expected though given the weight and the fact that it wasn't necessarily so properly fitted to me.

Once I hit the dirt and all of its numerous accompanying rocks I discovered the joy of the mountain bike design. I felt those obstacles but all in all the ride was no where near as jarring as my road bike (particularly my awesome new road bike which is partially carbon and lets me feel every bump in the road).

I also discovered that mountain biking can be scary. For me it was alot like skiing. They can be totally awesome and I'm sure I'd love them. But I'm also not at all very practiced in the sports so I spend much too much time concerned that I'm going to fall over. And on a mountain bike this falling over involves falling onto hard dirt (which is also dirty) and rocks. Not exactly so ideal. It seems to require a lot more control on a mountain bike to keep it going where you want.

It also seemed to take quite a bit more power (although my being winded could also be because I'm not nearly as in shape as I was this summer), and I found it nearly impossible to maintain any speed.

But enough of that back to my story!

So I went down the main trail. Went the wrong way once, hit a parking lot figured I must be wrong went back found the main trail again and managed to keep it this time. When I got to the other trail he had recommended I was speculative that it was actually a trail. It looked more like a narrow washed out portion down the hill. But there were bike tracks, down I went.

Before that I was of the mind that I was capable of this mountain bike thing. I'd gone up and down and over and around rocks. Some of the stuff was even like crazy jagged rocks and ledges that would be a few inches up and what not. I quickly realized that I had been on the "nice" trail and that this new devilry is most likely 'real' mountain biking. It was something similar to somewhat loose jagged rock in a significant downgrade with some curves thrown in for good measure.

Going down I would stop probably ever 25 feet because I either thought I was going to or actually did nearly fall off. At least once I definately executed a jump off the bike because I'm falling but try to make it look like I meant to do that maneuver. It was impressive.

I got down to the bottom of the mess and it really didn't look like the trail was anything more trail like after that. And so I conceded. Back up the craziness I went. And somehow I was actually able to ride the whole way up (albeit granny gear).

And off on my nice trail like trail I went again all the way to the end. On this one part there was some kind of mound running across the trail, I don't know the purpose. But it was on a down hill so I had a bit of speed and on a whim I pulled up the front to become airborne. Such things are actually possible on mountain bikes, and I must say they really are quite a bit of fun.

All in all good times. I'm definately not ready to give up my road bike (especially since it's awesome, shiny, light, new, and awesome). But it really would be cool to have the opportunity to do more mountain biking and learn to be able to handle some of the tougher stuff. Inevitably this is such awesome mountain biking territory here, I'm not sure that they have such cool places at home.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I used a #3

I have lived the alt tag.

Although I did become a bit more speedy with all of the AP test drilling.