Mountain Biking

Getting My Mountain Biking On

I’m wanting to get my mountain biking on.  It’s kind of weird, actually.  Because I haven’t been mountain biking.  Ever.  Not in the way that most people think of mountain bikes.  I’ve owned a mountain bike in the past.  A 1995 Diamondback Sorento.  But I never actually rode it on trails or took it out anywhere.  I did mostly road biking.

Mountain Biking - 1996 Diamondback Sorento.
1996 Diamondback Sorento. My first mountain bike was similar to this bike.

I bought it for exercise.  Mountain biking on the road isn’t a horrible thing to do, but it’s not the thing mountain bikes want to do.  I mean, mountain bikes want to get out on the trails.  They want to move, and navigate features, and jump and do all kinds of things that you don’t generally do on the road.  So my poor little Sorento didn’t get to do any actual mountain biking.  She got to move me from my apartment to my work and back.  Then she was stolen.  

Who knows, maybe the person who stole her took her mountain biking.  Maybe she was better off with them than me.  I just didn’t understand what I was supposed to do with a mountain bike.  Mountain biking just wasn’t a part of my vacbulary.  

I didn’t buy another mountain bike to replace her.  In fact, I didn’t buy any other bike at all.  Not for a long time.  That was way back in 1997.

Jake

My dad gave me a new bike for my 40th birthday.  Not a road bike, or a mountain bike, but a hybrid.  The idea was that I would get back into cycling and use it for exercise.  It is a nice bike.  A 2008 Specialized Crosstrail.  I had the best intentions and was all for the idea.

Mountain Biking - My 2008 Specialized Crosstrail
My 2008 Specialized Crosstrail.

Then the bike ended up sitting for years.  Oh I would ride it periodically, once in a while.  I would take it in for maintenance once a year or so.  That maintenance wasn’t due to being used, though.  It was due to sitting in the elements for months on end, with the sun chewing away at the tires and cables and seat.  I think I may have even had to replace the seat once because a dog chewed it up.  It certainly wasn’t being used enough to require replacement of parts because of wear.

My dad passed away in 2010.  Among the many different emotions I experienced during that time, I recall feeling guilty because I never used this bike to the extent that it was intended.  I was too overweight and out of shape to really make it work.  And so it sat, unused, for years.  

In 2012, my son decided to join the then brand new Buena High School Mountain Bike Club.  I was impressed by his interest, and it sparked something in me.  Watching him and those other kids racing around the trails inspired me.  This team is the largest of its kind in Arizona, and in 2015 they took the state championship.  I vowed that one day I would join them on their rides.

King Julian

For those who have followed this blog, and my videos, you know that in July of 2015 I started on the RM3 program from Tucson Medical Weight Loss.  This was the beginning of a road that would change my life in so many ways.  Taking the weight off, as I have mentioned time and again, has had such a profound impact on so many aspects of my life. One of them is my ability to start cycling again.  This time, though, I am happy to say that it’s for more than just exercise.  

I’m having such a tremendous time. In 2016, I was able to fulfill my promise that I made to myself, and I rode with the Buena MTB team.  Last July I purchased my very first bonafide mountain bike.  One that could actually handle even the chunkiest of trails.  A Specialized Fuse Expert 6Fattie (the irony of that name!).  I call him King Julian because he likes to “move it, move it!”

Mountain Biking - 2016 Specialized Fuse Expert 6Fattie
2016 Speciailized Fuse Expert 6Fattie. My current most awesome mountain bike.

I love riding this thing!  It’s such a fun bike, and taking it out on the trails…well it just makes me feel like a kid again.  Though I am by no means an expert.  I still get nervous getting out into rutted and rocky trails.  I’ve crashed a few times, but nothing super serious.  No broken bones.  The idea of falling, though, doesn’t fill me with happy thoughts. So I take my time.  I’d much rather go slower and have some semblance of control than blast down the trails and feel like I was going to crash on every little bump.  Going fast is fun, until it’s not and you’re going over the bars (OTB) into a rock face or down a mountainside.  

To give a sample of what it’s like to go on the trails, here’s some highlights of my last ride.  I went from my house out to a place called Brown Canyon Ranch in the Huachuca Mountains here in Sierra Vista, AZ.  I had hoped to go a lap on Brown Canyon Trail, but the sun had gone behind the mountains and making a beeline for the horizon by the time I got to the start.  I’d have been riding in the dark by the time I was half-way through the trail.  People do that, and maybe one day I will, too.  But for now, I’m content with getting comfortable on the trail during the day.

To give you an idea of the route I took, here’s my Relive.cc video of that same ride.

Once again, a great big THANK YOU to everyone who’s helped me get to this point.  I love where I’m at with my life and I look forward to continuing on this journey.  Please feel free to send ask questions.  I love sharing my experience with others and helping them in their own journeys to Get Healthy!  Also, if you don’t mind, I would be most appreciative if you’d head over to my YouTube channel and subscribe.

Until next time…thanks!

-Brian

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