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Biking Entry 2011

Hurtin' for Certain

Much preferred, the most physically complete, most fun and best low impact exercise called whitewater canoeing just isnít in the cards for practical reasons. Following the "need is the mother of invention" concept, turning to a new form of exercise to maintain an aerobically fit physique became a plan. Below is a photo of a mature critter dressed up for two wheeled steeds; full-suspension mountain bike plus hybrid bike (road bike end of the hybrid spectrum). Add helmet, aerodynamic safety glasses, seat-padded loose fit cycling shorts, clipless peddle cycling shoes, active wear real Rugby shirt (at 80% off list price), luminous chin fuzz, deep bronze riding tan and you get a masters class cyclist (mature person). Thereís much pre-wash hand cleaning to remove Georgiaís red clay-stains from that Rugby shirt, but otherwise itís spiffy. Seven miles hybrid ride on a greenway is a fill-in to keep the legs in motion. But 12 miles workout on twists, turns, tree-root washboard obstructions, a stream crossing or two, bolder or log to get over plus ups and downs all on narrow dirt trails through the woods is real entertainment.

Spring of 2010, having put aside mountain biking for over a decade after only a yearís experience and deciding it unlikely mountain biking would be in the future; forays into riding mountain bike on paved surfaces wasnít working. Mountain bikes are just too energy inefficient as road bikes. Large soft knobby tires and an energy absorbing suspension-frame are too exhausting on smooth surfaces with no benefit from these features. Finding good reviews for a hybrid cycle followed by a test ride led to its purchased. Would the hybrid purchase happen if local mountain bike trails were found earlier? Not likely with a preference for single track mountain biking; to say nothing of the hybridís cost plus accessories. But luck won this round. It turned out beneficial to be able to drive 8.5 miles to give legs a break from single track rigors an alternate half hourís drive (20 miles) and provide instead a short and different cycling pace. If anything itís an encouragement for single track by allowing a sense of sustainable exertion exercise since the pace and virtually level ride isnít practice for road racing. The Giant, Rapid 1 hybrid is quick and responsive; glad to own it.

If mountain biking had been put aside for over a decade you may be wondering how itís become a renewed interest. That same spring of 2010 an attempt to get back into the sport started with bodily assault (near physical collapse from exhaustion) and a realization the sport would require at least weekly participation just to allow the body reasonable expectation it would not suffer entirely from the effort. It was also obvious that acquiring / attaining technical skills would be needed to avoid routine unintended bike exit followed by ground intimacy on every trip; the two issues that lead to a hybrid road bike. While looking for places to ride the hybrid, fall 2010, Harbins County Park was found. Although itís not much use for the hybrid, observation turned up mountain biking trails. Questions asked said try them. Turned out these trails are genuinely complex without the upper intermediate technical difficulty that causes riding issues for the less accomplished and if ridden with gusto will get you into intermediate level aerobic shape. Thatís no small accomplishment in mountain biking. With requisite ground intimacy removed, it became worth trying to get in shape for riding. That was enough to launch interest. It doesnít entirely remove zero ground clearance, leaving 99.9% of the skin damage continually showing up, but it may just be worth this abuse to get out and stay in shape.

Accessories: A water bottle gets hip-strapped to keep added unstrung weight off a heavily constructed mountain bike for best tire grip over rough terrain. Just a tire pump adorns these wheels and small size seat bag with bare necessities; a biking multi-tool for things that might shake loose plus spare inner tube for thorn induced air leaks etc. (Walking in clipless peddle cycling shoes wouldnít be easy over course terrain.) As for the hybrid, wearing a hydration pack felt like carrying lead weights. A couple of light weight stainless steel water bottles are caged to the road ride along with a larger seat bag stuffed with bike specific multi-tool plus just enough additional gear to assist on longer rides; patch kit, two spare inner tubes, latex throwaway gloves, workshop paper towel and a bike pump. A Quicker Pro Bicycle Frame Pump high pressure hand-operated air pump is inside a 7.5-inch long, 4.5-inch wide "large size" saddle bag along with the other goodies mentioned. Lunch would be extra, requiring transport elsewhere while a wind vest could trail from cycling shortsí waistband. With neon yellow patches and draped over the derriere, the vest would be a more obvious motoristís target. Hard to believe I avoid motorways considering a teenage tendency to play in NYC; racing in the middle of traffic-light-timed avenue-speed vehicles from Central Park down to the Village. Think this is a matter of having easily accessible facilities to avoid the risk, so I do.

Leaning on the blacktop cruiser in the photo may present a closer image to the camera, but single track mountain biking is the anticipated thumbs up. I may be far from the fastest, but slowest isnít in my personality. The Rugby shirt rides the mountain bike. A laid back tee shirt feels more appropriate on a non-racing hybrid. Check it out and have a chuckle.