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Not As Young As I Used To Be

Sorry for the lack of posts.  Between work being crazy, and trying to get two race cars ready to run this season (one of which just blew up, check back for that blog), blogging has had to take a back seat.

But an event over memorial day weekend, gave me a good topic to write about that I'm sure most of you will find funny, and will be able to relate to.

I accepted an invitation to go mountain biking at some trails near my house with some guys from work.  the work guys actually wanted to go to a different trail, and I suggested a different trail (that we agreed on) a little more centrally located....this suggestion would prove to be a mistake.

Keep in mind I haven't ridden so much as a few feet down my driveway this year let alone on any trails.  One of the guys I was riding with used to do mini triathlons, and runs and bikes all the time.  He is about 5' 7" 135lbs, and has a full suspension bike.  I knew there was no chance to keep up with him.  The other guy is a bit older (late 40's), and not as fit looking, but rides at least once a week, and rides 15 miles to and from work when the weather permits.  He has a small gut (like yours truly), but I figured I could hang with him at least for 4 or 5 miles.  Bottom line is I knew it would be rough, but I had no idea how bad it was going to be.

I did ride the bike a bit down my road on Sunday night, and everything worked.  I put some air in my "vintage" Rock Shox MAG 10 to add some strength to it, it was a little spongy.  I couldn't find my bike pump, so I dialed down the PSI on my compressor to 20, and figured I would be ok. This also would prove to be a bad decision.

We agreed to meet at 9am, I was very excited to ride.  Every summer I say I want to ride a couple times a week, and never seem to be able to make time, so I was happy I was finally going.  Because of this excitement, I was 12 minutes early and the first to arrive.

We head onto the trail with the triathlete in the lead.  Not 100 yards into the trail, I hit my first rut, and my bike violently “jolts” into my arms.  It is now that I notice my front shock was bottomed out.  The triathlete just so happens to have a front shock air kit and we attempt revive the shock, and again, it works for a bit, but the shock slowly falls.  This time with the caps off the pin hole, you can hear air slowly leaking out.  He asked me if I tried to pump it up with a compressor (hey, how the f--k did he know that)?  I replied that I did, but only at 20psi.  "Nope", he said, "you can't do that, you probably blew out the upper seals, that is why it isn't holding any air.  You will have to get this rebuilt".  Sweet!!!!  Before I just felt like someone out of shape, now I felt like someone out of shape…who is an idiot.
So we continue our ride, me with no front suspension.  Now the Raleigh used to have a solid front fork, but I never remember it being as rough as it was on Memorial day.  I felt every little rock, rut, root, and pebble that the trail had to offer.  It was beating me senseless, I don't know how I ever rode without a front shock.  Probably me being 20 had something to do with it.
The ride started out well (aside from the above mentioned bumps sending jolts through my wrists, up my arms, and into my shoulders).  The older guy got on the front brakes a bit too hard going down the first decline, and sent himself over the handle bars.  He was ok, which meant it was ok to laugh uncontrollably at him.
The first couple hills were tough, but not too bad.  the trail we were on is very technical, with mostly single track stuff, a lot of switch backs, and "rugged" terrain.  I was keeping up pretty well with both guys, although I think the triathelete was WAY off his internal throttle.

About half way through the 3.8 mile loop, I really started to feel it.  I wasn't really winded, but my back hurt, my wrists were starting to ache, and my thighs were SEVERELY burning (and yes, my pussy was sore)!  Now even the smallest hill was tough, and if there were any obstacles in the hill, it became almost impossible.  It took all the energy I had in me to climb the hills, if I needed a little extra, it just wasn't there.
My two work buddies were long gone, but waited for me at a small clearing in the trail.  I informed them then that this 3.8 mile loop would be the extent of my ride for the day, not to wait for me, and if they wanted to go further, they didn't have to wait for me.  I was out of shape, had no legs for this trail, and it was showing.  They told me not to worry about it, and saying some other things in an attempt to make me feel better, but the bottom line was I felt old, fat, like a wuss, and out of shape, not necessarily in that order.

Finally I got tired of being such a big puss, having to walk up almost every hill having roots ¼” above the earth giving me all kinds of fits, so I hit a hill that I determined I was not going to fail at.  I was going to keep making circles (biking term) and get to the top, no matter what happened.
The good news:  I accomplished my goal, and beat the hill, making it to the top
The bad news: I was THE most tired I have been on the entire ride, and now I had no energy, not just to ride up hills, but to ride PERIOD!  At the top of a hill was a small flat trail, and it was all I could do to pedal to keep myself going.  Finally there was a downhill section where I could coast.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh coasting, nothing better, especially not at this exact moment in my life.
The work buddies were waiting for me one more time, and the last turn off before the trail head.  They said they were waiting to make sure I knew where to go.  I truly believe they were waiting for me making sure I wasn’t passed out or worse somewhere on the trail. 
The older guy mentioned how this was a “tough trail” and how the trail he wanted to go to would have been an easier ride for me.  Remember it was my idea to come to this particular trail, a decision I most certainly was regretting.
Just over a mile was left, and I was spent, I already knew that Tuesday was going to be rough, and I had to find a place to service a Rock Shox MAG 10 that I purchased 15 years ago, and that they probably quit making 10 years ago.
By the way, 3.8 miles, that was it, this is what I struggled with, not even 4 f—king miles, 3.8.
SIDE NOTE: There is a place in Colorado called Hippie Techs that will service the shock.  Quoted price was $150 - $200.  For $135, I can get a new shock to replace it…installed.  This is what one bike shop told me, the other said there is “nothing you can do for that fork”.
I guess the silver lining is that I can’t wait to go again, riding is so enjoyable, so much fun, and such a good work out, but you don’t feel like you are exercising, it is enjoyable.  I hope to replace the front fork, and go again as soon as I can.  I would like to try to go once or twice a week, and on the weekend when I can.  It was a blast, and with so many good trails in the area, there is no excuse not to enjoy it.

Thanks for Stopping By - Dan

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