Thursday, March 7, 2013

Catching Up

So after even more slacking, two long weekend trips to sunny locales, and very little riding (street only; no dirt) I'm ready to catch up again - here and riding!  I'll admit that having a couple people comment* that they've read some of this blog is having a positive effect on my motivation to write - and planning to ride this weekend is also motivating.  In order to keep this somewhat up to date, I thought I'd do a little catching up today so that I can add a more timely report after riding this weekend.

Last time I rode was Sunday 13 January.  This was a much better riding experience than the first time I went, and have updates on gear, riding, and maintenance.

Gear Update
I had better fitting armor this trip; I did end up exchanging the medium Alpinestars Stella Bionic 2 for a size large.  The stretchy mesh of the large still fits snugly, but the armor is now in the correct places on my body - the kidney belt is actually around my kidney area, and the shoulder and elbow armor is positioned more accurately also.  The better fitting gear definitely made a difference in how comfortable I felt and how well I could breathe!

I'm a little unsure, still, about my goggles.  I specifically got sand goggles since Croom is super sandy and I would be wearing contacts (and as some of you may know, contacts + sand = major suck).  The problem I'm finding, though, is that they fog up super quick, especially when I'm stopped and breathing heavy catching my breath.   Any experienced riders have suggestions on how to combat this?

We headed out on a different trail than the first time and quickly started heading off-track into the woods.  The thought behind this was that the ground is flatter (fewer whoops) and less sandy.  Except there are now TREES, both standing and not (yikes!).  So that was a little scary at first, going around and over trees and ducking under low branches and viney stuff.  But I took my time, stopped when I needed to; plus we still continued on some trails then back off then back on.  Although I had to stop a few times to catch my breath and let my heart rate come down a little, I was able to keep going for a much longer time at one shot and overall.  I think we were out riding on and off the trails for about a half hour or so before heading back to the truck for a good rest and re-hydration   And this is when "disaster" struck.  The parking lot was in sight when we hit a bunch of largish (well, at least *I* thought they were largish) whoops and I went a little out of control and wiped out.  Broke my clutch lever clean off.  So that was the end of riding that day.  
Don't think it's supposed to look like that...

I have to say, I was pretty bummed that I only wiped out once but it was enough to kill my riding for the rest of the day.  At least it was due to a broken bike part and not a broken me part (although so far the wipe outs have been pretty light and haven't hurt)!    So, the lessons and achievements I got out of riding that day were:

  • I need to stand up more (although this might require risers to help make this easier)
  • I need to practice more (both around the yard and out on the trails)
  • I need to convince myself that in some cases faster really IS easier
  • I'm pretty darn excited that working out seems to be paying off and my endurance is better than the first time I went.
Fixed (and by yours truly)!

Although my day of riding was over fairly quickly, we were able to stop at a shop on the way home and pick up a new clutch lever so it would be ready to go the next time.  Rather than having it done for me, I asked for an explanation on how to fix it while I actually did the work.  It was a really simple fix and I might even be able to do it again by myself if I had to, lol!

So that pretty much brings me up to the present.  In the meantime, though, I did lend my bike out last weekend to a friend so she could try it out.  I think she's probably ridden it more hours now, in one day, than I have total, lol!  But I'm hoping to make that up this weekend - fingers crossed for a good, safe, day of riding.  My friend sent me a bit of video of her riding around the bowl at Croom; it looked like a pretty good place to practice without a lot of obstacles.  I think I might try that out myself this weekend; it will also let my friend ride the crap out of his bike for a while rather than putting around with me :)  Look for a report after this weekend (and I'm also going to try to start finally working on Part 5 of the story so I can post that sometime in the next month)!

*Thank you JC and Deanna!

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