Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

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Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby craigasaurus » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:36 am

After deciding a while back to spend more time outdoors this year, and much discussion about hobbies that would allow this to happen, I decided I would give mountain biking a shot this year. I always enjoyed riding bicycles as a kid, and I love hiking as an adult; why not combine the two and see how it went? I did research online, talked to local bike shops. Then settled on a super cheap ($50 on craigslist cheap) huffy still in the box. The owner was selling it due to an upcoming divorce resulting in a lack of storage space. After a 6-pack of guinness and I put my bike together, it occured to me just how difficult this thing was going to be to fit into my Chevy Cobalt. Off to the internet! The end result was an Inno roof rack with a Rage bike rack. The whole setup was significantly more than my Huffy, but looks great and functions even better. Sunday morning I woke up bright eyed and slightly hungover. After a quick oatmeal and water breakfast I set off for Freedom Park in Williamsburg. I stopped by the Williamsburg Bike Beats store and was met with friendly and knowledgable staff with plenty of helpful tips for my upcoming ride. Arriving at Freedom Park, I unloaded my shiny new huffy and set off for Trail A. I stopped a few times in the parking lot to converse with some people that looked much more knowledgable than myself and was met with plenty of friendly people eager to wish me luck on my day of riding. One of the things that can kill someone's interest in a new hobby quicker than anything is knowledgable people who aren't willing to talk to someone who knows less than them, and I was happy to find that this doesn't seem to be the case at all in mountain biking. As I entered the trail, I was instantly aware of why everyone (including myself now) loves this sport so much. The first 2 miles or so were spent with a giant grin on my face as my Huffy and I blasted around turns and over rocks. As I approached a sharp right, I learned very quickly (instantly in fact) that pine needles are the mountain biking equivalent of ice. I went sort of half-right, my bike went straight, and just like that I had my first wipe out. Of course as soon as I hit the ground I hear "Are you ok?" from a more experienced rider who I honestly had no idea was even behind me. "Yes, just learning" I replied, and off he went. I picked myself up, gave the bike a once over (including tightening the bars; I had the right tools thanks to the blogs in the beginner section), and was back on my way to funville. I learned the meaning of the term "hike-a-bike" shortly after; I am much more out of shape than I realized and a few of the pine covered inclines were simply too much for me. As I coasted across the parking lot back towards my car, I see that the same person who saw me eat dirt was parked next to me and was also just finishing up his ride. After a very pleasant conversation about mountain biking/me hitting the ground, I tucked myself into my car and headed off with a smile. The entire experience has left me with a lifelong hobby, and I look forward to heading back out there this upcoming saturday to have even more fun. Below is a a few pictures, including one of a Mater truck at a local car show in Williamsburg that I stopped by on my way home. I realize this post is a bit of a ramble, but wanted to share the fact that the knowledge gained from this site combined with friendly fellow enthusiasts has created a new fan of this sport. So the next time someone on a shiny new bike with a shiny new helmet approaches you with questions, be polite and friendly. Your attitude could very well determine whether mountain biking turns into a lifelong hobby or something only snobs do.

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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby JT Orlando » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:45 am

Awesome dude! Welcome to the addiction. You're lucky to live near such a sweet trail. Check out the C loop next time you're there. When I was a new rider, seeing some of the jumps and drops blew my mind...but it inspired me to get better so that I could ride the stuff and not just ride around it. A couple years later, I can ride most everything on the C loop and have a freakin blast doing it.
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby craigasaurus » Tue Apr 09, 2013 10:55 am

Thanks! It's actually not too bad of a trip to get there for me (I actually live in Norfolk) but the general consensus online was that it was worth the trip through tunnel traffic. I'm definitely looking forward to the C trail 8)
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby blundar » Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:09 pm

That is so awesome that you got in such a fun positive experience on your first outing. This website truly is such a wealth of knowledge, and I am glad that we were able to help you in making it all happen. Feel free to ask as many questions no matter how dumb you might think they might sound. There really are no dumb questions in my opinion.

If you possibly can, try to ride a couple of times a week. Your skills will improve by leaps and bounds, and you physical fitness limitations will come tumbling down super fast. Also try to hit as many different trails as you can. This really further broadens your skills.

I am looking forward to reading up on how you are progressing with your rides through the season.

Ride often and enjoy the ride!
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby gar29 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:30 pm

First, welcome to Singletracks forum! It's great to hear of someone just starting out. I (barely) remember those days, and look back often at how much fun I had learning to mountain bike. Isn't the mountain biking community great! I would have to say that 95% of the time, the people I meet are awesome and very helpful. I also do quite a bit of road biking, and I will say that while both of these hobbies are on 2 wheels, I find the sense of helpfulness and community MUCH greater with mountain biking.

Just wait, if you are anything like half of us, you will be trying to figure out which "next great" bike to buy in a couple months! :mrgreen:
--------
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving"
Albert Einstein
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby craigasaurus » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:42 pm

Thanks! I actually have already started thinking about my next bike and honestly I would really like to build one. The friendly attitudes I have encountered is very refreshing. I've grown so accustomed to the car and motorcycle communuties and how segregated they tend to be based on what you ride/drive. the only other group of people I'm around that are this willing to talk and trade tips is the gun community. Of course there is a difference between a gun owner and a gun enthusiast, but you rarely meet an enthusiast who isn't willing to talk shop and compare toys. I look forward to writing more blog/posts as my skill level and experience increases.
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby trouttrunnell » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:04 pm

Welcome craigasaurus! Sounds like you don't have a chance, the MTB bug has infected you. Now all you have to look forward to is excellent health, lots of new friends, and a huge grin permanently attached to your face! Get out there and have fun with your new ride!
"There's what's right, and there's what's right, and never the twain shall meet"
H.I. McDunnough
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby Stl_Greaser » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:45 pm

That is about the same experience that I had on my first outing also. I also found a lot of support in my local mountain bike trail advocacy club! You should look up the clubs in your area to find the group rides and trial work days so you can pitch in on maintenance and trail builds too. You will get a great deal of satisfaction the first time you ride a section of trail that you cut in yourself!!!
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby MTI » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:46 pm

Welcome to the site. Singletracks is definitely the best website out there. Some more friendly advice pick up a book like Mastering mountain biking Skills by Lopez and McCormick. I guarantee you will not be sorry. Enjoy yourself but be safe out there.
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby craigasaurus » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:49 am

Looks like I will definitely be picking up that book. And yes, I am officially infected with the MTB bug. Hopefully my schedule will be such that I can ride more than once or twice each week, but as a college student who also has a job, finding time to do fun things is a bit hard to do.
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby rade8u2 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:40 am

Remember that when you graduate and look for a career if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life. If not you still can go ride. I'm lucky got both. Now I got my daughter infected which is good she pushes me harder than I would alone.
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby craigasaurus » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:56 am

That's definitely something I've been trying to keep in mind. Of course, everyday working retail simply strengthens my resolve to finish college lol.
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby Gdb49 » Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:08 pm

MTI wrote:Welcome to the site. Singletracks is definitely the best website out there. Some more friendly advice pick up a book like Mastering mountain biking Skills by Lopez and McCormick. I guarantee you will not be sorry. Enjoy yourself but be safe out there.

+1- booked helped me a lot! Good luck, great story.
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby socaljohn » Sat Apr 13, 2013 2:01 pm

I don't often ride bicycles,
but when I do, I prefer MOUNTAIN BIKES!
Ride safely my friend!

(my apologies to Dos Equis beer commercial)

BTW, I've only been riding for 9 months but my skills have
improved immensely. Take blundar's advice and ride at least
a couple of times a week (I ride 2-3 times). Your skills and fitness
will thank you. I'm 63 and can keep up with many of the guys half my age.
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Re: Birth of a mountain biker: My first trail ride!

Postby craigasaurus » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:39 pm

I would eventually like to ride several times each week but my current work/school schedule simply will not allow it. I do ride around my back yard when I'm bored (sounds dumb but you've never seen my back yard lol).

Here's the huffy on the cobalt today after a day of riding at Freedom Park:

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