Me? On a Mountain Bike?

I think spring has finally sprung in the Hudson valley! My knowledge of Dutchess County continues to increase by the minute the more time I spend on the east side of the Hudson River, and it was only a matter of time before I actually tried this mountain biking activity. This afternoon a friend of mine, an avid mountain biker(who is amazing on a mountain bike) brought me over to the Taconic Hereford (909) off of the Taconic for an “easy” ride. I told him I wanted the Bunny Slopes of mountain biking. Haha, lets just say 1) it wasn’t a bunny slope and 2) it was easy for someone who knows what they are doing.

Picture me on two wheels going over roots, rocks, through streams, and weaving through trees. See it? Now add blood, and scratches.Et voila, that’s me on a mountain bike.

So, here’s my parallel: mountain biking is to road cycling as trail running is to…Normal running. Mentally, you need to switch gears when you are biking on a mountain(like that play on words? I’m laughing). It is very different than biking on a road. Very.You are in a completely different frame of mind when you are on a mountain bike compared to a normal bike–constantly weaving through trees, riding over large roots and fallen trees, maneuvering through mud and slick leaves. Just like trail running–running over roots, scrambling up rocks, going up and down…Major fun!

On a road bike, all you need to worry is about moving cars, your cadence, HR, etc. Not so much in mountain biking. You are too focused on the path straight ahead of you, and need to think in technical turns….”Can I make it down that sheet of rock? Over the branches?Can I make that sharp turn that I’m coming up to? Can I make it over that fallen tree?” (The jumping over the tree was unsucessful, as when I road up to meet X he took a look at me and said, “umm, your bleeding.” I looked down at my jersey, “oh sh-t.”)

Another major difference between the two types of biking is the attire. Mountain biking you can wear baggy shorts. Before a couple weeks ago, I thought mountain biking was simply, mountain biking. Alas, there are different types of mountain biking (hence why there are different type of mountain bikes).

Yet another difference is, you ride for a shorter distance (like 8 miles), but since it is so technical, it take hours to ride (well, for me). Similar to trail running, where 8 miles on a trail run might take longer for you to complete, because you added the element of rocky terrain, ups and dips and your mental energy is all concentrated on not toppling over (which happened…a lot. Bless him for waiting for me.)

Just like train running, and what I mentioned above, all your mental energy is spend focusing on the piece of trail ahead of you, and your immediate surroundings. You are always on your feet, prepared for the sharp left or sharp right turn. The time goes very quickly, and it’s great to get your thigh muscles to work with all the short steep inclines (over branches and rocks). I can’t wait to go train running again.

It took awhile, about the first half of the route, for me to become comfortable with riding such a different bike than my scott (the bike I was using was a Giant dual suspension women’s mountain bike… Kona and Cannondale make good  mountain bikes if you are interested). Throughout the ride as I was following my leader, whose daring abilities and “no-fear” attitude of logs, I could not help but wish I had the same no-fear attitude, and also the ability to make it up hills with a tiny bit of speed. Thankfully, my leader would wait for me to catch up to him and didn’t comment on all my “ouches” and “crappppppps” and “eeeeeeeks” as I went speeding down trails.

In all honesty, as difficult as it was maneuvering and zig zagging through trees, riding through streams, speeding up and (attempting) to make quick turns, I had a blast and cannot wait to get on it again…Billy, from Overlook Mountain Bikes, watch out. I’ll be headed your way shortly.

All in all, it was awesome, and I cannot wait to do it again. Yes, the beginning was nerve wrenching, but at the end of the 8 mile loop, I could not help but laugh at all the wounds I had afflicted on one mountain ride. It was so much fun. I will continue on my Scott for the time being but cannot wait to be on thicker wheels again.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Auntie Pam
    Apr 26, 2011 @ 13:04:03

    Happy Easter, dear Molly!
    Wow. You do find interesting activities for your free time! 🙂 I, too, bleed when riding a bike….on FLAT, EVEN terrain! 🙂 I fell three different times. My right leg ended up scratched and bruised from my knee down to my ankle, but by the time we left Florida I was feeling quite successful. 🙂 HOWEVER, I think “walking” is more my gift. 🙂
    Be safe! Have fun! Love you, A.P.


  2. Trackback: Falling Head Over Wheels « A Rendezvous with Sneakers

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April 2011

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