Monday, 30 August 2010

learning to ride part 2

Today is my birthday. I am getting old. 33 to be exact. Which means I am to old to be mislead. I dont want to be lied to and I defiantly dont require any bubble wrap. I am learning to ride a bike and I am not a child! (occasional tantrums excluded)

I have been learning to ride a mtb today. I realize that it takes patience, determination, fitness and skill to do this.

I am determined! After a few spins of the blue at Whinlatter and the green at Mabie I took one of Great Rocks mtb skills courses at Gisburn. I then had a lovely crash on the red at Keilder and still I get on the bike, attacking the reds (with a bit of caution)

I have a bit of skill. Great Rock has helped me with that

I have much better fitness levels then at the beginning of the year

But for fucks sake I am old! Patience is not something I have allot of time for! So what I want is fucking trails that I can ride! Ones that dont have me cursing and crying and left feeling like Im never gonna get there!

So I do my research. Look for trail centres that offer a little of everything, Some Blue and some red.

This time Hutty and I chose Ae. Hutty being the experienced and fittest rider I know (not really my equal level for riding but fun to hang out with) the reason for choosing Ae was that it had a blue and a red. A red that stated on the website was (quote) "The trail is also suitable for less experienced riders if ridden with more caution and less speed – all the jumps and drop-offs can be rolled except for one, which can be ridden around. Be aware though that some of the big berms are intimidating to the inexperienced and the trail surface is very rough in places."

My fucking ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The trail was not fucking ridable! It was one of those trails that laughs at those who are less experienced, as if its saying, "come innocent one and follow me, I promise it wont hurt a bit" It hurt my pride! (probably would hurt more if I would have tried to ride it)

Ok so the first section of uphill wasn't so bad (for an uphill) I made it without dying, although I did feel a wee sick at one point but im thinking that was probably because I just ate. I had a few pedal slips and one or two foot downs but other then that, it was ok.

The beginning section of the first decent was quite decent, smooth surface, a few bumps, could have been a bit faster but it was nice and fun and I was really enjoying myself. Then they changed the fucking surface. WHY!!!!???? why do they have to mess with things that are pleasurable, do they really think people need huge fucking rocks? Who the fuck designs these bloody things anyways? Oh yes Its fucking great having to get off and walk my bike! If I wanted to walk I would have worn walking boots and left the bike at home.!

So 40% of the trail finally complete and after feeling rather guilty for making Hutty wait for me I packed it in. Took the escape route and made Hutty finish the red. On the way back to the car I joined the blue.

Ok so now Im gonna have a bit of a rant about Blue trails. Winlatter and Kirroughtree got them right. A brilliant bit of riding for those who aren't quite ready for fuck off giant rocks but need somewhere to develop the confidence and skill to ride reds easier and without as much fear.

But for fucks sake! Blue should not mean climb up and up and up a fire road for 6km then ride down a bit of singletrack easy enough for my 6 year old niece to ride. The worst about the Blue at Ae was the decent was on a bit of fire road knee deep in loose gravel. So not only did you sink and wobble and spin out you had to go so slow down the bloody hill so you didn't get sucked in to the sea of little rocks! How fun is that???

So why bother with a blue? All that this feels like is that some bastard who has been riding for years has decided that he (I am assuming he under the basis that a she would never be this retarded) dosnt really want new people to learn how to ride a bike. And dosnt want to share the reds with anybody that cant already ride at his skill level.

I want to learn how to ride a bike. It shouldnt be this hard. So what I need is some co-operation please. All you egotistical males who are designing trails keep this in mind.

I WANT TO RIDE MY BIKE NOT FUCKING WALK IT! I am not yet that confident to fly down a red and in order to develop the skills and confidence I need blues that are one step down from a red. Not equal to a green. It would also be nice if you kept some flow to your trails. Have a whole section of smooth fast turns and burms and bumps and fast ups and downs. Dont have half of the section like that then suddenly change direction. Leave that for another section. And have chicken runs around big drops and boulders on reds, therefore if one is not sure of how to take that boulder without going over their handlebars, they can keep riding their bike.

The whole reason for these trails is to get people out on their bikes, not to scare them into the garage.

So, I am learning how to ride a bike. Its more difficult then I thought.

Friday, 13 August 2010

learning to ride

Ok so Im gonna complain a bit. IAM SUFFERING!!! Covered in scrapes, bruises and bumps, feeling sick, headache and feeling a bit retarded :-/

I am learning how to ride a bike and its fucking hard!

Ok so I actually learned how to ride a bike a long time ago. I dont quite remember the specifics but im sure it involved training wheels and possibly a few falls, but its something you seem to always remember how to do.

But now Im learning how to ride grown up bikes, both road and mountain bikes with carbon, and spd's and shiny shimano parts. And for fucks sake! Why didnt someone say that you dont just get on a bike and pedal.

Apparently there are ways to ride up and down hills, and when to use your front and rear brakes, when to shift up and down, when to sit, when to stand, probably when to fart. (i would imagine this would be when your going up a stinker of a climb and you need to dispose of excess weight whilst giving you a little acceleration)

Im not trying to complain, I love riding a bike, but it hurts learning!

So as I learn I will write about my efforts, tell you my stories of crashes and successes.

I went out on the mtb with Hutty on Sunday, to Keilder. The trail, Lonesome Pine.They said the route was an introductory red those who were ready to go from Blue to Red. It wasnt my first red, only doing South Side Whinlatter and Mabie the previous weekend. But I still felt I needed something a bit tame.

Introductory my fucking ASS!!!! Intro to pain and suffering more like it. The review should have read. For those who want a red that involves climbing, climbing and more climbing, followed by a steep fucking start with a trail bedded with sand that is eroding away leaving loose rocks and boulders, then this trail is for you!

I think it should be an intro to how to fall off your bike! And people said that ride was boring! Only boring because after you fall off and you feel a bit woozy you have to walk down the fucking trail.

I did an impressive fall though! Ended up on my back, head facing down the trail and legs in the air. Like a turtle really. Not quite sure what Hutty thought when he found me?? After assessing my surroundings and injuries, there wasnt much else to do but laugh! Oh I am a retard!

And I did get back on the bike after a bit of a walk through the rough bits. Maybe I got on the bike so quickly so I wouldnt kill all my confidence but I think It was only because I wanted to get back to the parking lot and tend to my wounds.

But the show must go on. My bruises are slowly disappearing, my neck is almost able to move again, and Im really starting to miss my bikes.

Next weekend its learning how to ride parts 2 and 3 as I venture to Glentrool and Kirroughtree, Im sure another blog post will arrive after that, hopefully a success story and not one about injuries. So keep your fingers crossed for me.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Who needs sex when you ride a bike

I had a thought the other day....

How similar cycling is to having sex (or not having it).

Im going to write this in a clean matter so only those with a mind like mine will be able to pick out exactly what it is im trying to get across.

For example:

Riding- the most obvious of positions if you are talking about being on a bike. Positioning yourself correctly on the saddle can be quite a pleasurable experience. However, if the seat is the wrong height or to far forward or back, it can give you all sorts of irritations.

Standing- standing on a bike or of course in the bedroom (kitchen?) can give you enough strength to power through a long climb. Its a good resting position from riding as it allows you to stretch out your legs before reaching the climax of the hill (or of course....)

Getting into a tuck position- ok now were talking! Getting in the tuck position gives you speed and control! It can make you feel free as a bird as you feel the wind wizz through your hair ( :-/) and remind you of the hard work you have done to reach the top of your first climb of the day.

The long ride- generally reserved for weekends when you have a bit more time. The long ride is usually in stages. It has plenty of riding, standing and hopefully tucking. You can stop for cake (or a much needed energy drink) and start again as if youve never been off. There are plenty of hills but sometimes the longer the ride the harder it can be to get to the top. By the end you may find that sometimes you may have to get off and give the bike a little push. It will defiantly require a shower after and usually a long quite lie down (unless of course your 20, but then again they normally dont last through a long ride)

The short ride- the before or after work ride. Short rides are generally the most popular between cyclists that have busy jobs or children. Sometimes a quick spin can be liberating! It can still keep you fit enough to enjoy the longer rides on the weekend and keep you in touch with your bike. These are the rides where your able to fix any mechanicals you may be experiencing and allow yourself to discover a quick route to reaching those sought after endorphins we require to keep a smile on our faces.

The commuter- This is what all cyclists aspire to be. Not only do you get to ride everyday to and from work, you also get to have longer rides on the way home. Commuters also generally go for long rides on the weekends. They are super fit, have great stamina and can go for hours without requiring a break. They plan their holidays around riding and take very good care of their bikes.

It happens to everyone- Have you ever got so excited about getting out on your bike? You have spent all day thinking about it. Cooped up in the office your mind is on little else. You are not a commuter so you take that souless train ride home and get in the house salivating at your beautiful bike sat in the corner. She (he) has never looked so inviting. You very quickly get yourself into (out of) your gear, prepare that important drink, swallow a gel and grab your bike. You swing open that door ready to mount your saddle and...... FOR FUCKS SAKE! ITS PISSING DOWN! You are so deflated and rejected. Why!!!! All you could think about all day was how brilliant this was going to be! And now its fucking raining! It could have happened on the way home on the train, that wouldn't have mattered, as long as the sun came out by the time you got home. There are some who wouldn't give up, they would ride in the rain. But thats not enjoyable for anyone. Its soggy and wet, usually cold and all your gonna do is limp around feeling sorry for yourself. You throw in the towel, make yourself a cup of tea and sink into the sofa. Tomorrow, you will try again.

The weekend warrior-generally more common with mountain bikers, the weekend warrior is one of those who saves themselves for their days off. They will then go crazy, they ride hard and ride all weekend. Although not the fittest of cyclists (usually have a beer gut) they always get a ride in. Generally there is allot of up and down with the weekend warrior as they always want to get their fix before Sunday night. They are fast and furious and take no prisoners. Single woman generally like these weekend warriors as they are generally guaranteed a good ride.

The lone rider- We have all been there, a time in our cycling lives when we have no friends. This doesn't mean you cant enjoy cycling, sometimes it can be more fulfilling then riding with someone. You can go for as long or as short of a ride as you like. You get to pick your route with no one to argue with. Positioning though is equally as important for the lone rider as you do not want to get hurt (there is no one there to help you if you get stuck) Lone riders are very good at polishing their bike and always have toys to ensure that if they break down it can be easily fixed.

The sprinter- the most selfish of the riders the sprinter always wants to get to the line as quickly as possible and needs to be 1st!

The domistique- my personal favorite. The domistique will wok very hard to ensure you have a great ride and they get pleasure out of ensuring that their team mate gets everything they require. If their teammate doesn't win, they feel as if they haven't done their job.

The tandem- The good thing about tandems is that both parties have to do equal parts work to get the movements right. Although it looks easy to do its generally not. It takes a special kind of rider to pull this off without an argument. The best thing about the tandem is that because there is double the power the hills you tend to climb can be twice as long,and reaching the top can be a equally shared experience.

The Bi-Cyclist- rides both a road bike and a mountain bike and enjoys them equally. They will generally slide towards one bike more then the other for ease but they always cant wait to get on the other bike. They have allot of fun, are fit, and their calenders are usually full of all types of rides they enjoy with their friends.

Group rides- more then one can be fun! A whole group.... well thats an experience to behold!

I could go on and on. But writing has made my feel rather tired, almost like Ive been riding my bike all day! So whilst you have a read, Im gonna have a nap. Short rides for me tomorrow and Friday, because I have some long ones planned for the weekend.