Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Riding with newbies...

I'm finding that the best kind of recovery ride for me is with new cyclists. I have a steady supply of those this year, it seems. Fellow ski instructors who are finding out how fun it is to play in the dirt, renewing their interest, or generally feeling like being in better shape and deciding that cycling is a good way to do it. Sunday, after my enduro race, I went out with a never-been-mountain-biking ski instructor friend and my sister, who tells boxes and horses what to do for a living (not at the same time).

Recovery rides and novice cyclists are great together for two reasons - 1. I always remember how much fun riding is and 2. I can go slow. Really really slow. I can even walk up the hills I don't feel like riding without feeling guilty (after all, it's supportive of those who can't ride up 'em yet!)

We were riding Patapsco, a fine example of local singletrack, on Sunday afternoon. A bunch of us met and did a lot of bike adjustments in the parking lot - I was borrowing a bike from a friend so that Newbie could ride mine, so there was lots of seat adjusting, pedal switching, chain lubing, etc. Nothing like me on a pink bike. Very pink.

Once we started riding, Shea, Octo-arms (our favorite touchy-feely snowboard instructor), Chris, Dirty girl and a Northern Virginia chica were off the front early on. Dirty girl, who shall remain unnamed here but I will say that she volunteered that nickname for herself, is finally off of her old Specialized Rockhopper and on the Fisher Big Sur GS that she picked out. Sweet deal on a model a year or so old from Light Street Cycles here in Charm City.

After hiking a bike up the first big hill, Newbie, Box Chuckin' Sister and I headed onto some of the easier trails to be had. Newbie crashed. Twice. Within a couple hundred yards. Over the handlebars both times. Now, I should say that newbie is an accomplished skier, so she's got the balance and healthy understanding of gravity that goes a long way toward learning to ride. A couple of bloody knees later, what she also has now - knowledge of which brake is the front one. Turns out a little confusion there was causing the endos. We wound up having a good ride around a few loops, walking that which was too steep to feel comfortable riding just yet and generally figuring out how to shift the center of gravity back off the saddle and let the legs do some absorbing. Good fun.

Apparently, though, I missed the real exciting part of the day, when Octo-arms heard a loud crack while dropping off a log. Lots of confused people looked around to figure out what broke, but let me remind you - when carbon fails, it fails catastrophically. He's got a front-to-back crack in the top tube that's giving his frame a bit more flex than it should have. It should be on its way back for a warranty replacement from Trek soon.

Mmmm... topped off with Doritoes and cold watermelon at the car.

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