The Addiction Has Begun

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June 21, 2005 at 3:54 pm

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I’ve done three rides on my new mountain bike, not including the test ride at the bike store on Sunday.

My seat (rump) is still adjusting to the bike’s seat, and I’m a little sore after the 5+ mile ride Justin and I did Monday evening, after I’d already done a solo ride that morning. It’s all good, though!

After Justin got the hang of changing gears, something that’s come back to me quickly since I used to live on a 14+ speed road touring bike as a teenager, we both hauled around Bullis County Park having a grand old time.

We even did some off-pavement riding, including powering up a little “grassy knoll” at the park and riding around in gravel and part of a stream bed. Fun stuff!

Of course, my upper back, arms, and yes knees (both of them, not just my Expensive Knee) are hollering a bit, but it’s that healthy kind of post-exercise pain where you’re apt to say to someone, “Hell, yeah, I’m sore, but do you want to go again tomorrow?!”

Since I see my OS on Wednesday afternoon for my overdue post-op checkup, I did play it safe and opt not to ride today, however.

I didn’t want to come in limping or swollen and have him think that’s my norm since the last time he saw me, on April 1st; I’m now 4 months and 18 days post-op.

The fact that my right knee is also sore indicates that my seat height probably needs to be adjusted again. I have a feeling it got tweaked while transitioning the bike in/out of my car, or else it just was a little low despite the fitting at the bike shop.

Now that Justin and I have

a new addiction/passion/hobby, I can see I will have to update my

with bicycling terms now… things like “MTBing” (mountain biking), “endo” (a common and nasty way of crashing on a bike, whereby the bike goes end-over-end, tossing the rider over the handlebars) and “bonking” (when an athlete’s body reaches exhaustion, having burned all readily available fuel sources — namely carbs — and been forced to burn fat, a much less efficient source of energy; also a British slang term for intercourse.

)

I am quickly learning to love mountain biking, even as I have yet to truly put my bike or myself through their paces (such as hitting the … the one that I had to take so gingerly on my unauthorized hike at 10 weeks post-op!)

You have the same thrills as road biking, such as the wind in your face and speeding down and powering up hills as desired. But doing all this while riding on grass, gravel, rock, dirt and (eventually) through water just amps up the fun to another level.

It’s like comparing walking on a paved trail to hiking through the woods — both have their merits, but for adventure and unique experiences on every outing, mountain biking and hiking/backpacking are definitely cut of the same cloth.

When I first inquired on

about bike recommendations over a year ago, some hikers and backpackers expressed curiousity — ‘What’s the appeal

of MTBing? / You’re racing around and missing so much in the outdoors; why not slow down and take it all in?’ —

There’s a place for that, certainly; I don’t intend to stop hiking or give up my plans to go backpacking just because I have a bike. A bike is a means, not an end.

It’s a way to see more of my favorite parks, perhaps places I would never have bothered hiking to because of the distance, lack of scenery for long stretches, hot temperatures or whatnot.

A bike provides access, just like a horse or one’s own two feet provide access. They’re all a way of moving ourselves from where we are outdoors, to where we want to be.

If I can strap a backpack on and pedal my way to a ‘backcountry’ campsite rather than be relegated to car camping among a group of 50 school kids, you don’t have to know me too well to know I’ll take the bike any day!

I’ve done too much of the latter to see much appeal to it anymore… And even though an MTB rider can and at times does tear down a trail while the hikers and backpackers take things in at a slower pace, that doesn’t mean the MTBer is missing out. At the end of the day, the MTB rider has travelled more miles and potentially seen more of the place than those on foot, and would probably be a good friend to make for those scouting out good hikes in the area.

Anyway, enough philosophy, for now…

I am probably going to wimp out and buy a decent bike rack for my ‘92 Corolla sedan because I don’t really want part of my workout routine to be wrangling the bike in and out of my trunk and back seats. I don’t mind removing the front wheel so much, although that takes a bit of learning as well — any misalignment means the brakes rub the wheel rims slightly. Like everything, there’s a learning and adjustment period going on here!

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1 Comment

June 22, 2005

@

Hey Shannon — it’s great that you are on the bike and loving it! If you haven’t already, make sure to buy some good cycling shorts (the padded kinds — and make sure you have a good fit — extra material is no good!)

With your buff post-ACL legs, I’m sure you will carry off well!

Happy cycling….

Yours in ACL recovery,

Jenn

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