Friday, November 23, 2012

Excitebike Part II

Thanksgiving morning, I joined a group of 20 some mountain bikers on trails set in the bluffs of the Lewis and Clark Monument in Council Bluffs.

Hang on. Let's set this properly. I am not a mountain biker. I'm more of a reformed triathlete/roadie who also dabbles a little in cyclocross. Mountain bike?

I don't even have a mountain bike.  Actually, that's not true. I own a 20+ year old chromoly GT Karakoram mountain bike. It's sitting in my basement as I type this, still sporting tinsel, garland and Christmas tree lights from last year's Winter De'Lights night ride. The Karakoram is also a steel tank and its components are shot. It really wasn't an option today.

But before the ride, Shim said that he had ridden these trails on a 'cross bike before.  So armed with that bit of knowledge, I decided to go for it on the cyclocross bike. 

It wasn't bad. In fact, I had a blast. I think I described it afterwards as intoxicating.

There were a couple things I took away from today's ride. 

Firstly, when bombing down an unknown trail, and a 90 degree turn suddenly appears before the ledge of a steep precipice, one discovers an amazing ability to ride their bike like never before. In that instant, I learned that while grabbing a handful of brake, shifting your weight to the back wheel while rotating your hips towards the turn creates an awesome power slide that just may keep you on the trail instead of launching off a 15' wall. It did for me at least.

Secondly, when the others on suspension bikes ask you (the fool on the 'cross bike) how you liked the section where a gnarly drop had been built into the course, and you have no idea what they're talking about, your best answer is, "yeah, pretty good."

Hours later, I'm still unsure what "drop" they were referring to.  What this probably means is that that I wasn't riding the course like it was intended to be ridden.  Instead, I was likely taking that section more conservatively and didn't recognize what the others were salivating over because I didn't catch any air. In other words, there was no with tail-kicking flare from the dude on the yellow 'cross bike today. Sorry to disappoint.

It's okay. I had a lot of fun anyway. So much so that I came down with a case of jitters afterward. I think I'm hooked. 

You know what that means.

It starts with taking an inventory of my mountain biking equipment. Logically, that means contemplating yet another bike. Golly, will it ever stop?!

As a stopgap, Shim suggested borrowing his old Rocky Mountain mountain bike. He even said that I could strip it and paint it yellow.  

He had me at "paint it yellow." That's when that twitch started in my eyelid again. Hives will soon follow.

If I went with his suggestion, I would add a fourth yellow bike to my collection. Itchy-itchy, scratchy-scratch. Let's count them to be sure:
  1. Old Yeller (the original Old Yeller)
  2. Madone Old Yeller (code name: Princess Buttercup)
  3. Cyclocross Old Yeller (code name: Butter Knife)
  4. Shim's Mountain bike Old Yeller 
Awesome!  Itchy-itchy, scratchy-scratch.

But the thing is, itchy-itchy scratchy-scratch, I managed just fine riding the cyclocross Old Yeller (Butter Knife) bike today. And I feel like there's still a lot I can squeeze out of  it before I'm ready to upgrade.

Itchy-itchy, scratchy-scratch.

Ok, I give. When can I have that bike, Shim?

In the meantime, it looks like I'll be spending more time on Excitebike's level five:

Happy trails everyone.

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