2004 May 1

Lessons learned

Last Saturday, I learned (while working on a new slipway at my parents' place, to replace the one damaged last fall by Hurricane Juan) that angle-grinders are even more fun to work with than they look. That, to my way of thinking, is saying something. Meanwhile, caulking guns are rather less fun than they look.

The jury is still out on hammer-drills. My father sank all the holes into the boulders before I got there.

This Saturday, I discovered a key to making it up a steep, rocky path on a mountain bike, apart from being in better shape than me. You start having issues keeping the front wheel on the ground once you get down into the bottom gear -- any time you have to really step on the pedals, to get over a rock for instance, the torque will throw you backward. The way to fight this is to stand up out of the saddle and get your body weight forward over the handlebars.

I think there's also a trick in there to bounce the whole front end of the bike back on line if the front wheel threatens to swerve the wrong side of a rock. (Which it does, all the time, when you're climbing too slowly on a rough trail.) I don't have that one yet, but I was working on it.

So I've just gotten back from riding the mountain bike loop at Middlesex Fells, which turns out to be a really demanding trail, with some of pretty much everything. Fire roads, singletrack, dirt, loose gravel, packed gravel, big rocks, tree roots, mud, streams, and a turtle. In the northern half of the loop, there were several climbs that I felt proud to make it up at all, and several more (and a technical descent as well) that were just beyond me.

Nevertheless -- RAAAR. I'm not going to bother posting a time or distance for this one, because a ride like that isn't about speed, at this point. It's about getting good enough to ride the whole thing without being forced to dismount.


Wow. I reeeeally have to try mountain biking sometime. And the Fells isn't far!

Posted by: Molly on May 2, 2004 01:40 PM

Geez, no, it's not far. Ten minutes from my place. Andromeda has expressed interest as well, though that was before I found out that the trail gets much hairier in the north half of the loop.

Posted by: colin roald on May 2, 2004 02:11 PM
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