Interstellar Adventures

February 20, 2005

I learned to “pop a wheelie” today…

Filed under: Uncategorized — by InterstellarLass @ 8:58 pm

And my tushie hurts too…

I bought a new bike this weekend. This is the one I bought, except mine is yellow. I decided that my no-shock, no-quick-release-hub piece ‘o crap bike I bought from Target for a “one-time” use wasn’t going to cut it for the AR I have lined up on Saturday. I don’t know how much we’ll be on the bikes, or even what the terrain is like, but I wasn’t confident enough in the ‘ol purple monster to take it into combat.

I’ve been looking for a new bike for a couple of weeks. Limited budget along with the fact that I won’t use it that often required me to stay on the low-end of all terrain bikes. I also didn’t know what size to get. It’s all very confusing for someone who doesn’t know the lingo. So, I stopped in at Plano Cycling and Fitness and talked with Barry. I told him what I was interested in (the sale bike on their website). Alas, the only ones they had in stock were WAY to big for me. Uh oh. Next price up…ouch! But wait, what’s that? Out of the corner of my eye I saw a pretty yellow bike in the price range I was willing to pay.

So, Barry (an older gentleman, but with a cute Australian (or New Zealand, I can’t tell) accent) let me take it out for a spin in the parking lot of the hotel across the street. The shifters were totally cool, the seat was cushy, and it felt sturdy, and it was the right price. I was sold. So, Barry had the bike shop boys check it out for me to make sure everything was in perfect working order, I picked out a front light and rear light (that in hind-sight I probably shouldn’t have bought, but oh, well), which they installed it for me. Then I slapped my bike rack on my car, loaded up the new 820 and headed home.

Where last weekend was paddling practice, this weekend was mountain biking practice. Yikes! I met some of the team I’ll be racing with on Saturday out at Lake Grapevine, which has some extensive bike trails. They actually have two sets of trails, Horseshoe and North Shore/Rockledge. I’ve never ridden out there before today. So, now in addition to Horseshoe, I’ve also ridden at LB Houston (flat and twisty with lots of trees, very beginner friendly) and Rowlett Creek Preserve, also very ride-able for relative beginners.

After quite a bit of chit-chat and waiting for everyone to arrive, we finally mounted our bikes and went to hit the trails. We stayed on the pavement at first, going over shifting, gears, etc. The shifters I had before were weird, I didn’t know what I was doing, and once I got out of the gear I was in when I bought it, I never knew where I was! These have handy numbers visible. I didn’t even know there was a difference between the left shifter and the right shifter! The left shifter controls the front cassette (near your pedals) and the right shifter controls the rear cassette (on your back wheel). We then dumped onto the trail and the “Oh Craps!” and “Dang Its!” and “Shoots!” spewed forth from my mouth. Really, I was cursing, but this blog is edited for content. 🙂

I don’t like falling or hurting myself. Mountain biking is adverse to this fear. Plus, no one has ever taught me how to ride. Today, Jay (aka Chubby Ewe) was an excellent teacher. He’s been riding forever, and has ridden some pretty extreme stuff from what I gather. I need more lessons from him! I caught on pretty quick to the shifting thing, but roots, rocks, steep ups and downs and narrow trails interfered with my concentration. I scraped off a bit of the dermis from the front of my right shin, but nothing too bad. I also somehow cut the inside of my elbow. Probably a tree. I got off and walked my bike a bit whenever I was too chicken to go down the scary parts. Chubby Ewe said it was ok. He called it “Walking to ride another day”. I felt bad, but hey, I didn’t want to end up in the ER. Unless Dr. Luka Kovac is there. Then I would willing submit to being a patient for whatever ailment I could come up with. Wait. That’s another story.

Then, I learned to “pop a wheelie”. The concept was another one of those things that I thought I didn’t need to learn…since I could hurt myself doing it. But, we set up in a grassy area near the parking lot (not on the trails) and Chubby Ewe demonstrated and explained the technique. Then, we practiced it. Wow! I actually managed to catch on pretty quickly! I was poppin’ wheelies all over! Well, sort of. I did manage to get a few decent ones in. I also practiced riding downhill. This requires standing on your pedals with your pedals even with each other (not one leg up, one leg down) and tucking your behind down behind the seat, directly above the back wheel and using your thighs to steady the bike. This is to help you keep your center of gravity in the appropriate place on the bike in order to not go “endo”. This is mountain bike lingo, and fairly easy to decipher. Going over the front end of your bike. Ouch. Did I mention I don’t like falling? I definitely need to practice this more (on little hills first), but I felt a little better about my “skills” at the end of the day. But, as I previously stated, now my tushie hurts. Gotta build up tolerance to that bike seat!

So, this weekend should be “fun”. I know it will be. I only hope that I don’t hold the rest of the team up too much. I can push myself, but dang! 17 hours! This ain’t gonna be pretty! And hopefully I’ll get the pictures to prove it.

Grab a bike and ride!

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