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Home » Cycling » The Cycling Season Winds Down… For Me. Well, Kind Of.

The Cycling Season Winds Down… For Me. Well, Kind Of.

September 2015
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It’s still summer, just eight days left till fall but summer nonetheless.

No more centuries, we’re looking at Metrics now.  60 to 65 miles on the weekend days…

And now it’s time to put aside the road bikes for a bit and roll out the mountain bikes.  It’s time for a little single-track cycling.  Dirt, sand and mud.  Time to trade the slicks for knobby tires, time to jump and roll over rocks on purpose.  Time to let down the air pressure a bit, if you will.

It’s time for hunting and camping and cooler weather…

It’s all okay too.  I don’t mind missing out on miles as this year comes to a close because when we ride tomorrow morning, I’ll pass my mileage total for all of 2014.  I’ll hit 10,000 km for this year, easily.  Like, next week-ish.

Yesterday morning I went out with my friend, Chuck, for an awesome trail ride at Island Lake State Park down in Brighton.  14 miles and some change in about an hour…  I had to chuckle.  I suck on a mountain bike…  Well, that might be a bit harsh, but Chuck had the two F’s needed in mountain biking – fitness and finesse.  I have the legs but I’m a noob as far as single track goes.  Which, when you think about it, is kind of funny.

I steer instead of letting my weight do the work by leaning the bike (mainly because I don’t trust the tires to hold).  I still tend to get a little bit of tunnel vision and tend to look more at where I don’t want to ride than where I do.  That means I tend to run into a bit of trouble from time to time. 

Put those three together and I can crash into some stuff when I crank the speed up.  It’s pretty funny.  I almost went over the bar once (long story, trying to pass three guys who stopped at the base of a hill, just after a switchback) and darn near kissed a tree (hear that tree-huggers?  Mountain bikers up the game) and I still managed to reel in more than a few mountain bikers.

In any event, and I’ll have to devote a larger post to this, riding a 29’er compared to a 26″ mountain bike…  It’s simply ridiculous how much better the 29’er rides.  Sand?  Meh.  Super loose dirt?  Just hit the back brake to scoot the back end out.  No worries.  Roots?  Just pedal a little harder.  The difference is about the same as driving a lifted 4×4 truck on a two-track compared to a four-wheeler.  A cheap one.  Seriously.

This morning we’re heading out for a ride, somewhere between 40 and 60 miles… Oh, and I did end up taking Friday off the bike. I did hike a couple of tough miles through a forest so I’d be hard-pressed to call it a “day off”, but whatever you call it, my streak of consecutive cycling days ended at 60. I’m no worse for the wear and I’m glad to know I’m tougher and more knowledgable for it.

Interestingly, for all of that riding, I didn’t gain or lose one pound.

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3 Comments

  1. Definitely agree about the 29er vs 26. I should know. Went from 26 to 29 in April, had to dig out the 26 earlier this summer and HATED IT.

    Nice to see you are riding the mountain bike. Perfect time of year for it and it extends the riding season. I will ride off road into December if it stays dry. Just got out for a long trail ride with my friend Jon, his first of the season. He’s like you — hardcore road until the road season is nearly done. His fitness is incredible as he just finished Paris-Brest-Paris, slept 3 hours in nearly 80 hours of riding. That kind of crazy is perfect for mountain biking.. and Jon has the skills and crazy to survive on a mountain bike!

  2. exmaschine says:

    Spot on Jim. MTB’ing imo is much harder than road cycling at higher levels.
    The mbt is much more of a full body workout, then throw in the varying terrains and a simple 10 mile ride can damn near wear you plain out. I find the mtb keeps the road bike handling skills sharp and falling down now and then on the mtb also makes you mentally tougher like you say.

    I really enjoy hopping my mtb once in a while, different experience with mucho benefits. Plus no worries about kit…more laid back people and it’s fun to get a bit dirty! I wish I had a 29’er! No doubt they are easier to ride maybe except going up steep hills. My 26 makes me work awful hard sometimes!

    Geo

    • bgddyjim says:

      The 29’er is heavy but because it’s so much better over rough terrain, it actually makes hills a little easier. Sure I gotta pedal it up some monsters, but they make ’em with granny gears. 😉

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