Sunday, July 06, 2008

Check out my ride...

A good friend of mine made a nice gesture, and because of him I am able to revisit a hobby from many years ago - mountain biking.

Check out my "new" ride. My friend has long since set this Trek Fuel on the sidelines, and is now riding a Specialized S-Works...which is so far out of my league, they may as well sell it on Mars.

I grew up with Jeff in Wisconsin, and now, 30 years later, we are together once again in Gainesville. When I asked about buying the Fuel, he said, "just take it and ride it, it's been sitting there a long time."

I brought my new bike home, and started to wipe away the cobwebs, lube the friction points and chain, and polish the frame. What I found was that a wonderful ride was in my grasp...full suspension, beefy, yet light.

I was obsessed with mountain bikes when the sport hit in the mid 1980's. At that time, I had great connections at Scott USA, and was buying a new mountain bike about every six months. I'd ride it, sell it, and try something new. It was an amazing sport; you could ride with your buddies, like in the old dirt bike days, and hold a conversation - no engine noise!

I was never a great rider, just average at best, as I have some sort of inner switch that will not allow me to take too many chances. I'm wired for self-preservation, and as anyone knows in mountain biking, that isn't the best attribute to bring forward. It's a reckless, rather risky endeavor at speed, so the fastest are both talented and fearless.

That said, I am enjoying a reunion with the sport. I found my 20-year-old SPD pedals and Scott mountain bike shoes, and have been finding my way around local parks and paths. It's amazing to ride purpose-build equipment; on the pavement, the Fuel is cumbersome, but once it finds dirt it becomes a different animal. The tires grip and stabilize the bike, while the suspension soaks up everything you can feed it.

Someday soon, I plan to head to the San Felasco riding area, and try to pedal my way through the more difficult terrain.

Thanks Jeff. You have opened a door for me, which I thought was closed for good a long time ago.

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