Cycling: Road vs. Mountain

Today, since I didn’t want to deal with the muck on the trails, I dragged the road bike out of the closet, dusted it off, and headed out for a ride.

It has been only a month or so since I last rode it, in the interim focusing on the mountain bike and offroad riding. Slinging a leg over the ol’ Lemond was a bit of a rude awakening.

First the good. 700C tyres and 120psi means that you have a lot less rolling resistance. You almost feel super human in the speeds you can attain, and cruise at with little extra effort. Of course the first 1/3 I had the wind at my back, and that of course adds to the superman effect.

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Getting Back in Shape

This weekend marked a milestone. I went out both days for a mountain bike ride in Santa Teresa park. Two trips up the gnarly Bernal entry road, a couple of loops of the trail, and two personal bests (as tracked by Strava).

Encouraging signs:

  1. The initial climb, while still a ball buster, is tolerable. I can climb all the way without stopping, and my speed is increasing (hence the personal records).
  2. The instincts and skills are coming back. I am rolling up and over obstacles that I was walking over. I still try to stand up to climb, and that almost always ends the momentum.
  3. Today I even took on a couple of additional climbs just to do them. Yep, feeling pretty good.
  4. On the way back, I felt fresh enough to explore some of the neighborhoods. I even found a community garden that I didn’t know about. Cool.

I still have a long way to go, but I have to admit, it feels pretty damn good. One day soon, I will bolt on the GoPro and capture a couple of trails. That should be a blast!

In the mean time, I will not feel guilty enjoying a brewed, malted beverage.


Bike Review – 2015 Specialized Crave Expert

Having sold my old mountain bike in the move from Tucson to Chandler, I found that there was something missing in my life. Having caught the mountain biking bug in the late 1980’s, and having thrashed the local trails here in the south bay mercilessly, giving it up left a hole.

To fill that void, I splurged on a Specialized Crave Expert. It is a hardtail 29’er, with pretty decent components. Having ridden it a few times, with some good miles in the saddle, it is time for my first review of this steed.

Riding Impressions

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Wow, am I out of shape – Mountain Biking

On moving back to the San Jose area, I started fantasizing about getting back into mountain biking. When we moved to south San Jose, close to Santa Teresa Park, the urge grew.

My last mountain bike was a Specialized Stumpjumper Comp M2. I think I bought it in 1997, when I lived here before. A really nice bike when I bought, I rode the hell out of it, all over the bay area. Unfortunately, living in Arizona, I got out of the habit. Not that there wasn’t great riding, but I just didn’t get with it there.

When we moved from Tucson to Chandler, I hadn’t ridden the mountain bike in a few years, so it was sold at our moving sale. In Chandler, I got back into road riding, racking up lots of miles on my Lemond Buenos Aires.

I ended up buying a new bike. A Specialized “Crave” Expert model. A hardtail, 29’er bike. Not top of the line, but a high quality ride nonetheless.

Today I took it for a first ride. Santa Teresa park. The climb up Bernal road was brutal, but getting to the top, and veering onto the trails was bliss. The reflexes, and the skills are still there, a little dormant, but they come back.

I am embarrassed with how many times I had to stop to rest. I will get back into shape, but, it is going to be brutal.

A future post will give a review of the bike.

The itch. It will pass

Out on the bicycle today, putting in my usual punishing 26 mile loop, I got to thinking how much I miss off road cycling. Alas, with my health concerns, I can’t get back on a motocross bike and roost like I used to, but I can get back on a mountain bike.

I have had mountain bikes in the past, first a Diamondback Ascent EX (which came with the shittiest wheels EVER, replaced them with wheelsmiths, and they were bulletproof), and much later a Pretty reasonable Specialized Stumpjumper Comp M2.

After moving to Arizona, I got out of the habit of off road bicycling. Yes, Fantasy Island in Tucson was a pretty good set of trails, but the mountains and hiking were much bigger calls to me.

Now that I am in Phoenix, and the hiking is less close at hand, the desire to get back onto a mountain bike is tempting.

My last ride, the SJ Comp I bought back in 1998, and rode the hell out of it. I lived in the San Jose area, and there were tons of great trails, not far from where I lived that were surprisingly bereft of other riders. I put a lot of miles on that bike. But, in the move last year, I sold it.

A while back we walked into a local bike store, and as always, I drooled over the mountain bikes. My, a lot has changed since 1998. Good suspension, better brakes (disc brakes) and 29″ wheels are all cool, and drool-worthy.

Alas, I will probably be able to resist this urge. I would have to drive the bike out to good trails, and if I am going to do that, I will probably just hike.

But it is fun to dream.