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- The Elements: On the trail during the winter you are out of the wind and during the summer you are out of the direct sun. On the road you are out in the open and exposed to the elements.
- The Terrain: Flowing trails are more fun then rolling roads. The flow of a trail is more dynamic than the road. You can pump it (depressions, logs, rocks and turns) for extra speed. You are constantly reading and working with the trail it is as much a part of your ride as the bike and your body.
- Getting air: Landing on the backside of a tabletop or double or jumping over a gnarly rock garden section is more of a rush then bunny hopping some railroad tracks or a pothole.
- Less pretentious: On the trail it doesn’t matter what color socks you have and it’s okay to have a triple ring or just one gear as long as you ride. If you have jeans with duct tape wrapped around the bottom so they don’t get caught on your chain ring but want to ride no one is going to comment on your attire.
- After ride grub: A burger and a beer vs. a latte and Croissant (you be the judge)
- The Learning Curve: On the trail you get your skills together and have more fun and get less bumps and scrapes. On the road you learn how to ride in a pace line so you don’t get heat from the other riders.
- The typical scenery: Ride on the trail to get some fresh air and commune with nature. Ride on the road to breathe exhaust fumes and compete with cars for a patch of the road.
- The Workout: While both forms of cycling provide a great way to get exercise. I think mountain biking provides more of a total body workout that stresses your legs, upper-body and core.
- The challenge: Road biking can toss some pretty steep and long climbs at you. These can burn you legs and lungs but when was the last time you were concerned about loosing traction on a road climb. Mountain biking has similar climbs but with obstacles, switchbacks, mud, rocks, and sand.
- The Fun Factor:Messing around in the lot before or after a ride is one of the bonuses of mountain biking. Tooling around on you bike hopping curbs, doing wheelies, or whatever floats your boat can be a blast. In my early days of mountain bike riding my friends and I would spend many an hour practicing wheelies and “bunny hopping” in the parking lot after our ride.
With the exception of Robbie McEwen, I don’t think too many roadies are pulling wheelies at the end of their rides.
I awoke Sunday morning to the alarm buzzing at 6:00. I put the Alarm out of reach so that I have to get out of bed to shut it off. As I got out of bed to shut off the alarm I looked outside to see snow coming down. I did not get out to ride last weekend so I was not going to let a little snow stop me, besides I had already loaded my bike inside the car the night before. I got ready dressing extra warm then had breakfast and left to go pick up Katie who would share the car ride down.
The drive to Allaire was a little over an hour and when we arrived the snowfall had been reduced to flurries. But about a inch of snow had already fallen on the trail. We greeted the other riders, then checked our tire and shock pressure, added some lube to our chains and cables then set off. The trail was frozen hard and the riding fast. As the day progressed it warmed up into the 30’s and we were pretty comfortable. We started out riding our usual route. After completing the toboggan run (a twisty bermed section that we generally go through at fast speeds trying not to brake and lose momentum) we tried a newer section of trail that we learned a couple of weeks back from the guys at Brielle Cyclery.
After that we rode the lower section of Allaire which can be muddy or flooded when it is warmer. We were rewarded for taking this route. The ground was frozen and the trail elves have hard at work building a series of bridges along the trail including a curved and rainbow bridge. after the lower section we rode “Tiger Woods” backwards then made our way to the other side of Allaire where we headed to the pit. The pit has some drops and jumps. We played around there for a while shooting some video then headed back to the lot. A few of the riders left to get some food and some of us went back for a short loop with a stop off at another Jump pit for some more video and pics.
Video from the Days Ride
In looking back at 2008 I have done considerably less riding than previous years but at the same time have gained a better appreciation for the rides that I am able to get in. In the past I would do many rides out of habit or necessity. For example pre-riding for a race or a weekly group rides. My riding this year has been more diverse as well completing a century on the road one week, a cross country ride the following, and then some downhill at Diablo. I really enjoy being on the bike I feel it is the best way to enjoy Nature or go sightseeing in a city. You can get around to more places than if you were on foot and are still part of your surroundings unlike if you were in a car or other enclosed transportation.
January Allaire State Park – Great for winter riding sandy soil -Tiger woods is great.
Memorial Day weekend my first time to Diablo.
August – A great month for some firsts.
Katie Lamden completed her first Darkhorse 40 and wrote a guest post
September – Jorba Mountain Bike Festival A day of Rides, Contests, and Jeff Lenowski. Lots of Manufactures on site such as Specialized and Giant were there with Demo bikes.
October – Return to Diablo: After a summer of riding It was back to Diablo the riding was great. If you have not been to Diablo you should try it.
As cyclist we don’t have many inspirational movies that center around cycling. After all when you think of a high energy montage that inspires you to want to jump out of your seat and hit the trails or the road the Overture from “The Barber of Seville” probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. (I hate to say it but Eye of the Tiger still gets me going)
Breaking Away – This was the first bike movie I ever watched. It inspired me to get my first road bike a blue Peugeot.
Movie Highlights: The Race scene with the Fictional Team Cinzano and training ride with the big rig.
American Flyers I first saw this movie when I started Mountain Biking Back in 1999
Foreign Film –The movie is mostly in French with English subtitles.
2 seconds – Womens Downhill, bike messengers racing through the streets, an old tour rider, Campy vs. Shimano debate, and some lesbian action what more could you ask for?
Animated – Proof a picture is worth a thousand words
The Triplets of Belleville – a grandmother, aided by the triplets and her loyal, overweight dog, tries to rescue her cyclist grandson, who has been kidnapped by gangsters. This film was one of the most popular in the entire Cannes festival.
Based on a True Story – Hope made him a dreamer. Heart made him a hero
The Flying Scotsman (2006) Nothing inspires like a true story. I came across this movie recently and thought it was great made 2 hours on a stationary trainer fly by.
The Flying Scotsman is a feature film based on the remarkable true story of Scottish cyclist Graeme Obree. In 1993, and as an unemployed amateur, Obree broke the world one-hour record on a bike of his own revolutionary design, which he constructed out of scrap metal and parts of a washing machine.
Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
The story of an eccentric man-child Pee-Wee Herman embarks on the biggest adventure of his life across the USA. He sets out to find his beloved bike when it is stolen in broad daylight.
A good instructional video can demonstrate a concept to you better than a book or sometimes even riding. West Coast Style takes you through techniques in a progressive manner and is constantly re-enforcing concepts. This video is put together in a logical and well thought-out format. Instructional segments are interspersed with segments of riders such as: Ryan Leech – pro trials and stunt rider, Shaums March – pro downhiller and Head Coach of Mad March Racing, and Jay “Hoots” – jump guru and builder of dirt jump parks in Vancouver.
Filmed on the North Shore, Squamish, Whistler Bike Park, and other renowned trails on Canada’s West Coast. 45 min
Bonus video: (It must be a Terry Saddle)
The Thanksgiving Day ride is a mountain biking tradition that has been around since before I started riding the trails in NJ, and hopefully will be around for my daughter to enjoy when she is ready to come out on the ride. In the words, pictures, and links that follow I will try to re-create my ride experience for you.
I turn left into the park Godsmack’s Dead and Broken is playing on my XM radio. I look down at the clock it is 8:15 I am actually on time for once. As I drive towards the boat launch where the group will meet-up for the ride I see some runners jogging on the path that run parallel to the road. Their breath is visible so I place my hand on the side window of the car to get a sense of how cold it is outside.
When I left my house it seemed pretty warm for an early November morning but Just an Hour north west of NYC it is considerably colder. I am glad I brought some extra warm clothes. As I pull into the lot I see a few familiar faces. I pull up alongside Doug’s white CRV, he is taking a test spin on his brand-new Santa Cruz Blur LT which he purchased to replaces his 2007 Blur LT. I am still on my 2004 Cannondale Scalpel 3000. It has served me well these last 4 years, standing up to full race schedules, winter rides, and countless training rides.
I go over to Doug, say hello and check out his new bike. Stefan pulls in and I go over and say hello. This past year we have ridden quite a bit together. Stefan and Sean (who is not on the ride today) have taken me down-hilling a few times at Mountain Creek, lending me a bike, protective gear, and providing tips and some encouragement for the trails we ride.
I go back over to my car, unload my bike. My chain looks dry so I lube it up along with the derailleur cables. I am all ready to roll out but the groups are still forming so I ride around to keep warm stopping to say hello to other riders and catch up with some of them. After a little while we are off. Our group is a pretty big with about 20 riders. There are a couple of other groups that make up the B and C rides.
We ride over the dam and then make a right up a steep rocky section. The trees are mostly bare and the leaves on the ground make this section a little tricky. I make my way up my rear wheel slipping every now and then. The riders who have dismounted are quick to move off the line, A courtesy that is appreciated I am barely staying upright and any additional obstacle would surely have me on foot as well. After we reach the top of the hill we are met with a gradual rocky decent. The rocks make for good launch points and I get some “air” off them.
We then enter a rock garden section that is part of the race course it is about 50 yards long the last 10 being the most difficult. I clear the rock garden and pick my line through the rest of this technical section. After the technical section we reach a clearing where the group reforms.
The sun is shinning now and after our last effort riders are starting to peal off layers to prevent themselves from overheating.
Someone is fixing a flat so we have an extended break. My breakfast is sitting a little heavy in my stomach and I feel a little nauseous so this is a welcome rest. After five minutes or so I am feeling better. I spot Ellen White and go over to say hello. I comment on her pink custom color hubs and spokes from Industry Nine. After a little catching up on this past year race season Stef and I take off a little bit before the rest of the group up a fire road climb that is covered with leaves and strewn with rocks.
At the top of the climb we make a right and run into Art White (Ellen’s husband) we confirm the route that the group will follow. The route takes us a little further down the fire road then left up some rocky single track that curves to the right and then makes its’ way down into another rock garden. I clear all of it until I reach a steep uphill and spinout on a root. To the left of the top of the climb there is a downhill section that connects with a trail along the lake. The rain from earlier in the week and the thawing ground has left this section extremely slick and is making the off-camber trail even harder to ride than usual. I manage to clear most of it with a “dab” here and there, but I am happy when I ride clean through a rock garden that in previous rides I had not been able to clear.
I get to the end of the section and pull out my camera. I take some shots of riders coming through and have a Gu energy gel before going up a newly cut single track section. We ride along fire road looking for the trail entrance someone finds it and we all enter in a line. The loamy trail is freshly cut and winds uphill the trail is dotted with pink plastic markers. At the top we wait for the rest of the group a few riders set out to check out an old cemetery that is no to far from where we are. The other riders get to the top led by Jim Clausen and then we all start down a trail called Rattlesnake the route seems different than I remember from last year with some new turns and rolling sections. The trail ends as I remember with rocky water crossing which I blow. There is also a steep uphill rock face that I have only cleared on one occasion today notwithstanding. After the Rattlesnake we connect to a new trail, a rocky out-and back ridgeline that Jim has been working on. This trail is made up of natural and built up rock. One section curves and forms a berm. To the left of the ridge there is a steep drop off. I catch a pedal and I am pushed towards the edge. I quickly look over the edge and then back to where I need to go. I give a hard pedal with my left leg and lunge the bike forward back on line. (Seems like I have learned something after ten years of mountain biking.)
We stop at a Plateau at the top of the ridge. Jim has a few names for this trail but I personally liked Moab East. After a brief rest and some more pictures we start back out and connect onto split rock. The split rock trail leads ends with a tight twisty section of rhododendrons reminiscent of Tiger Woods at Allaire State Park. We end the ride on some fire roads at then hit the red trail for a final bit of fun. Jim, Stefan, and I are the last of our group we arrive at the lot and say good bye to one another and some of the other riders. I load my bike into the car and start my drive back. On the ride to where I will be having Thanksgiving dinner I reflect on the ride, the trails that various people have put countless hours into, and the people I have come to know through the sport of Cycling. I am truly Thankful for days like this.
In short it was all good.
A shout out to Sean for lending me a downhill bike again
If he didn’t I might have wound up on something like this (If you take notice the fork is on backwards – This is a good reason to get your bike from a bikeshop and not the local Target or Wal-mart where the stock boy put it together)
“Cancer is defiant. So we’re going to defy it. It’s persistent. So we have to persevere. It’s discouraging. So we must have courage.” The LIVESTRONG Challenge is an event uniting people to pick a fight with cancer.
I have done many organized events in the past, but the LiveStrong Challenge has been the best event I have ever had the privilege to be a part of from the packet pick-up to the post ride event everything is top notch and efficient.
On Saturday afternoon I picked up my registration pack and visited the expo center were I checked out some of the vendors like Yakima and Trek. Afterwards I filled out the cards that I would pin to my Jersey the next day during my ride They were in Memory of My Grandfather and Aunt and in Honor of a friend Don Gardner who is currently battling Lung Cancer.
This is always a moving experience as I do not generally spend time thinking of how Cancer has affected me. While I have been fortunate not to have been diagnosed with Cancer, It has taken away my Aunt, Grand Father, and few friends. During this time I am saddened that they are no longer here but at the same time I am inspired and motivated to do the ride and raise even more money for LAF.
After I left the indoor Expo center I visited the Trek Tent again and took a Their All Mountain bike the Remedy 7 for a test ride.
The guys at the Trek Tent were really helpful and Dialed in the suspension great for my Test Ride. This bike is fun to ride, wheelies great and the suspension made the Jump I took of the Loading dock feel like a drop from a curb (barely a chain slap)
This is my second year doing the Livestrong-100 and it was definitely more difficult for me than last year.
(My riding has been erratic at best Having weeks with 150+ miles comprised of structured rides and endurance miles followed by weeks where I am lucky to ride to the corner store.)
DIRT! I WANT MORE DIRT!