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Heavy metal

I'm proud to report that Tom Terrific, master competitor who is a legend in his own mind, finished the Tour de Felasco 50-mile mountain bike ride this past Saturday.

What a rush. Being back in the woods on a mountain bike. I need to give a huge shout-out to Jeff Moser, my hometown buddy from Wisconsin who now lives in Gainesville and who loaned me a wonderful Trek Fuel dual-suspension mountain bike for the ride.

But to some, I was on dated iron. Trek (pictured above) and Cannondale were both on the scene with big rigs and demo rides. The latest in off-road technology is miles from when I first got into the sport in the mid 1980's. Front and rear suspension has been highly perfected; it's no longer the pogo-stick-like spring forks we initially rode, but now full hydraulic fork and shock assemblies with rebound damping that really works.

And, hydraulics doesn't stop there. Top of the line bikes now have full hydraulic brakes front a rear for maximum stopping power in the dry and wet.

Frame compounds can be steel (rare), aluminum, carbon fiber or titanium. And for the true enthusiast, consider a "29er" which is the newest rage. These bikes run 29" wheels (as opposed to 26") for less rolling resistance and better handling over the rough stuff.

To be honest, my time for the high end equipment has come and gone. There were plenty of young, fit riders blasting by me in the woods, pedaling 2-3 gears higher, out of the saddle and attacking the trail.

I was happy to have the use of my friend's Trek. Tom Terrific, wearing a 15-year-old jersey, did just fine. The best part was when I pulled back into the parking lot and headed over to pick up my finisher's t-shirt.

Life is good, the sun is shining, and I lived to ride on yet another day.

And for that, I am thankful.

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