We Do This for Our Health?




July 10, 2005 at 9:03 am

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On Saturday morning, Justin and I joined the growing “bike gang” from his workplace for an exciting 11-mile ride through . Jus and I managed to remain on our bikes during the ride, despite several close calls on both our parts.

No cacti, bikes or Moore’s were harmed during the ride — Yay!

Our more experienced riders wiped out a couple times on some technical sections we sat out, as well as one accidental close call with a rusty, nasty bail of barbed wire. But again, no serious personal injuries were sustained.

Jus and I had to walk our bikes up a couple steep and rocky sections, in part due to lack of bike handling skills (powering down descents in the right gear to have enough speed and momentum for the ascent) and some still-healthy fear of falling on to solid rock.

Justin’s handling the bike a lot better and is finding his legs again after years off a bike.

Frankly, he handled his bike better than I handled mine on this ride! I felt out of control on several turns taken at speed, and intimidated by sections of single-track where the trees, brush and cacti are right up on top of you as you ride.

I seem to ride better when I have the sense that, if I need to bail, I’ll be bailing into something a little more forgiving than a friggin’ cactus or tree!

Unfortunately, that sense of fear can be a liability when mountain biking.

I froze up just before a 2.5- to 3-foot-deep dip in the dirt trail just past a sharp turn, locking my front brakes but failing to use any rear brake.

I felt my rear tire lift off the ground just as I got the toes of my left (post-op) leg in contact with the trail to stop the bike from flipping me over and into the dip. If I’d just powered through the dip, I would have kept trucking along without any issues, but my moment of fear got the better of me! I’m learning that the fear of falling doesn’t do anything to actually prevent falls, and may in fact cause them!

Near misses are nothing more than useful learning experiences, however, and I can’t wait to hit the trails at McAllister again with the gang!

Our next group ride is on Thursday for the weekly downtown ride that meets at the Alamo Heights BikeWorld store.

It’ll be my first time on the ride, and Justin and the gang’s second, I believe.

I wimped out of the first one (sore post-op knee, due to a klutz-event at home), and then had the flat tire last Thursday forcing me to scrub again.

(BTW: BikeWorld replaced my flat for just under $5, and in record time.) So I’m looking forward to hitting the city streets with Justin and crew and riding around Hemisfair Plaza, the Alamo and Alamodome, etc. Fun stuff!

Which reminds me…

What makes weekend warriors tackle Class IV rapids on a whitewater rafting trip with other inexperienced rafters… or scale a rock face, only to have the rock climbing adventure end in a broken nose… or tackle a too-technical mountain bike trail when they’re still having issues with balance, control and shifting gears?

I can’t claim ownership of the first two scenarios — those belong to fellow weekend warriors Justin and I know.

The latter scenario, however, we lived out

at Guadalupe River State Park where Justin took three falls in two miles.

Thankfully, the only enduring injuries to result were bruised pride, and chipped paint on a new bike.

So, what goes through the mind of a weekend warrior that causes these lapses in good judgement?

Probably the same things the cause other well-intentioned missions to fail:

(1) Time Pressures — “We only have 2 days” (a weekend), or “Our vacation is only X days long;”

(2) Over-Exhuberance — “If we pull together, this will be awesome!

We’ll have stories to tell, and photos to share, and… well, yeah, I haven’t done this since I was 12, but how hard can it be!?”

(3) Lack of Funding — “It would be better if we had the training, protective gear and equipment we need to do this, but we’ll make do with what we’ve got!”

Too many people’s vacations and downtime seem to mimic “reality TV” — if death and dismemberment (or at least public humiliation) isn’t at least a slim possibility, how could it be fun?

Of course, as someone who blew out her ACL and knee cartilage doing chores in her own home, I can vouche that “Life is hazardous to your health.”

So why not live it well, even when sometimes that means taking calculated risks?

No one’s going to stop Justin and I from flying, for example, particularly not when driving San Antonio’s roadways seems far more perilous and stressful than flying above the mayhem ever has!

And tearing around on a bicycle on a rocky, cacti- and tree-lined trail is a heck of a lot more fun than sitting in traffic en route to a movie, or the gym, for entertainment and exercise!

There’s a place for all types of entertainment and activity, of course.





July 11, 2005


“I felt my rear tire lift off the ground just as I got the toes of my left (post-op) leg in contact with the trail to stop the bike from flipping me over and into the dip.”

This is exactly how I ended up where I am today.

Except the bike kept going and I couldn’t stop it.

Sounds like a good time.

If you could take some picts.

July 11, 2005


I just got a new cellphone with a built-in camera, so I’ll start taking photos when we gear up, take rest breaks, etc.

I do have several photos I need to post, but none of the trails we’re riding yet.

Re: Your knee —

I don’t relish ever doing an endo, but at least I’ve now had my first introduction to what the bike feels like when it’s trying to toss me over.

That, and some vital learning lessons — don’t slam on the front brake, without applying some rear brake; don’t freak out when the obstacle is relatively tame and I just need to follow through it with some momentum and bike handling.

So far, we’re all having a blast and we have varying skill levels in our group so we’re all learning/teaching each other while having fun.

July 12, 2005


One quick tip on braking quickly,

get your butt of off the seat and back (this will come with experience)and let your weight rest on the pedals.

This puts your

center of gravity lower and endo’s are less likely.

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