Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Base Exploration

Fat Tuesday isn't really happening today. I did have another good weigh-in — 166 Lbs. Then for some reason I weighed myself fully dressed to ride to school on a rainy-cold day — 188 Lbs., no wonder I feel sluggish on the bike.

I've been lacking the motivation to go out and ride long, boring miles on the road. I do the commute to school because I have to, or at least it's a more sort of pragmatic, utilitarian reason to ride a bike with such silly, skinny little tires. As the trails have been drying out, I've been hitting the dirt a little bit on the cross bike, exploring rather than riding just to ride and put miles in my legs.

I've realized something: riding cross bikes in the woods sucks. Ya you can do it, you'll get the job done, but it's like using a steak knife to cut through a 2 x4. Maybe I'm just saying this because I damn near broke my neck last Friday on my way home.

I saw a trail head off to my left as I was cruising down the road on the way home from class, I doubled back and ventured in to see what I could see. Looking at the map later, I saw that this "wilderness" area was pretty finite. I would have run into neighborhoods if I'd ridden five minutes in any given direction, but this, my first time in there, I was frickin' thrilled. Every junction was an adventure — which way do I go? Where does that trail go? What about this one? Within a week I'll have the place dialed and I'll need to find some new patch of land to explore.

They were really good looking woods, don't take my word for it, just look at the photos. I rode around in circles for a while trying to find different outlets, trying to see how this piece of land fit into the world, trying to figure out how I could connect it to other riding spots. It was the first time I'd ridden on dirt since Arizona, so I was a little excited. I was surprised by what I could pull off on the cross bike, I started to get confident. Then I went to hop a log, I see-sawed over it, my front wheel digging deep into the damp, pine-needle covered earth. My hands were still on my bars when the front edge of my helmet hit the ground, followed by my mouth. And that wasn't the bad part. There was a slight delay before the weight of my 17 pound pack came crashing down on the back of my head, driving my face into the ground. My neck did something funny as it took all the weight of my body, bike, and pack...but it didn't break, so that was kinda cool. It could have been a lot worse.

My neck hasn't felt right since then, maybe that's why this blog post is so crappy. I damaged the part of my brain that governs blogging. Ah, well tomorrow I'm going to try to connect those trails to the Burlington Landlocked Forest. I'm doing it on the mountain bike. The single speed that is, still no sign of the Sram XX that is destined to adorn my new Superfly. Of course you would have been the first to hear had it it shown up.



George said...

It shows a high level of maturity to take a "from the ground" post crash picture, especially after being bashed in the head with a back pack. I would have been either unconscious, or throwing things and jumping up and down, cursing like Yosemite Sam.

dicky said...

You are a sad little big man.

ElZo said...

I started 'mountain biking' a few years ago by taking the cross bike I had at the time on the bike loop at the Fells. Man, that hurt. My worst wreck was similar to the one you describe here: OTB with a literal face plant that left me spitting out dirt. If I'd flown a foot further before 'landing' I would have struck a nice big rock instead of soft soil, and would probably have a much more interesting dental history.

Even when I wasn't having scary dramatic wrecks like that one, I was getting loads of bruises and scrapes, and getting beat to hell by the rigid fork and stretched-out riding position.

I honestly don't know how the hell I managed to become an avid mountain biker.

rick is! said...

umm, dude, that hardly passes as a log. large branch, maybe. Log? No.

george, I bet the picture was staged. I'm sure everything in your scenario happened and then he came to his senses, got on the ground, put his foot just so and took the pic. How do I know? Well, I've done the same...

Big Bikes said...

I brained myself too bad to jump up and down, my camera had actually ejected from my bag pocket, so taking a photo seemed obvious. I kinda looked back to see what got me and said "hmm, that's kinda perty."

I did think about the relative luckiness of not landing on a sharp rock and breaking my face.

I rode the same trails today and on the 29er I didn't even recognize that log.

It wasn't the size of the log that got me, but the softness of the landing (and my awkward hopping style on the cross bike...and the bag...)

Anonymous said...

XX - are you doing gears this year? that's the word on the street....