27 May 2010

About 12 years ago.

I had an expensive mountain bike and lots of time to play on it. I rode to work every day, I usually rode for around 4 hours every night. There were some Saturdays where I even rode trails for over 100km. I loved riding so much. Unfortunately things took a turn for the worse.

It was a dark and stormy night, in fact, it was a Friday the 13th. I had ridden my bike across town to visit with my family when the weather got a little stormy. Of course, if you have ridden mountain bikes before, you'll know that the wind is ALWAYS going in the opposite direction of the way you want to go. Since the storm had picked up quite a bit, I took a route home that I didn't know.

I was riding in the dark in an unfamiliar area by a strip mall to block out the wind when I cam e across a curb. Wow a curb, no big deal, but then I noticed it was actually a retaining wall. Now I knew that my bike could easily jump down that wal, but I didn't have the speed nor preparation to do so. I locked up the brakes and was sitting on my front tire, leaning half way over the wall when I realized I wasn't going to be able to halt my momentum.

I went over the handlebars, over the meter tall retaining wall and landed on the pavement below. Immediately I felt the pain in my elbows and quickly realized as I was getting up that my left elbow was not right. I was in shock, I went into the Denny's restaurant and asked to use their phone. I called my brother and he rescued me and my bike and took me to the hospital. I had shattered my radial head and after a few years of recovery, it still doesn't work properly.

Now to the relative point. I couldn't ride mountain bike anymore. The riding position just did not work for my elbow. I had to give up riding since the pain was greater than the enjoyment. Skip ten or so years and I still miss mountain biking. My dirt bike has a significantly different riding position and I can ride all day without any pain. Last night, I got a portion of my mountain biking back.

If you know me, you know that I don't smile that much. Last night I came home grinning ear to ear. I am so happy to have an opportunity to trail ride again. While it isn't exactly the same a mountain biking, it does give me the adrenaline rush that I used to enjoy daily. I can push myself at my own pace, and continually challenge myself both physically and mentally. I am on top of the world today, even if I can barely stand up or raise my arms.

26 May 2010

Excellent intentions, poor execution.

Well, I did go out on the guided ride tonight. More on this in a minute, but first let me tell you that I didn't have fresh batteries in the helmet cam, and forgot to GPS the trails with my iPhone. Very poor execution on my part. Perhaps I shouldn't dwell on this though, rather let's talk about my fantastic ride instead!

I showed up to the guided ride with this as the background. EVERY other person there trailered their bikes to the meeting point. My story was a little different. As my wife was heading home from work, she informed me that it was raining, and was wondering if I was in fact going out for a ride tonight. I was determined to go out no matter the circumstances, and besides, it wasn't raining at my house.

I had previously been warned by the members of the club that my tires would not cut it for the offroad riding, plus I didn't have radiator guards nor a skidplate. My bike was too heavy and I didn't have any kneepads. Well, I refuse to let others tell me what I can and can't do, so I was going to ride for sure.

As I headed out the rain started progressing. Initially there were a few clouds, then it kind of got darker, and by the time I had traveled the 60 km to the trailhead, the rain was coming down at a decent pace. I was worried about my tires, and was really unsure whether I should participate or not. My determination got the better of me and I went out with the beginners group.

The first bit of riding was pretty dull, a gravel road at a light pace. I was hoping that there would be some more serious riding than this. We stopped to wait for a late arrival and just chatted before entering the trail. The rain had let up, it was gone by the time we really got started. We got into a light trail, where at the very start of it was an enormous mudhole. Great, trial by fire right?

Well it turns out everyone went around the mud and I followed suit. we did some quad trails, with some semi-rocky hillclimbs, and I was well within my limits here. We stopped again at the top of a hill, and were going to loop down a steep hill and come right back up. The trail leader wasn't very confident in my tires so he suggested that I stay back, and since I didn't really know what my tires could do, I stayed behind. I took some pictures while I waited for them to come back up.

Well, I'm not sure if you're tiring of this book so far, but let me tell you this; the trails got tougher, I didn't chicken out of anything presented to me, and I had a really good time. Stay tuned, I'll probably update again tomorrow with some less coherent ramblings about the ride.

Tonight's the night!

I am joining a local offroading club at McLean Creek just southwest of town for a guided ride. I have been itching to get out and do some trail riding ever since I got the bike. I've been doing a little offroading here and there, but my love is trail riding. Well at least that's what my love was when I mountain biked so many years ago.

I'm fired up. I did the first oil change on my bike this morning and got all my gear ready. The wife is coming home early from work to take care of the child, and I'll be out and ready to roll. I'll be bringing the helmet cam to share the adventure with you.

Catch ya tomorrow!

12 May 2010

Motorbike jones

I got a motorbike jones. The weather is finally starting to get lovely. I rejetted my carb earlier this week and the power increase is substantial. I have to be careful not to wheelie now. I still have to tweak it a bit since I have a slight midrange bog. I figure it's just a little rich. I'l dial back the fuel screw a little and see if it helps. 

I've been desperately waiting for the local offroad area to open so I can go do some trail riding, but alas, the snow has the area all sealed up. The local offroad club has a guided rides program that I really want to participate in, but the weather has not been co-operating. Instead of going to the area, they are going to the local MX track. As noted in previous posts, I am too chicken to do big jumps, so I will be waiting until they schedule another which is two weeks away!

In the mean time, I have bought a new engine for my Baja Bug. It should be here by the end of next week, so I have to strip the old one so I can get a core deposit back on it. Doesn't look like I'll be riding much in the next two weeks. Here's a pic of my bug.