Saturday, September 26, 2009

Intro To Mountain Biking

The kids spent last night at my dad's house so this morning we were free to do whatever we wanted! Pete and his friend from work, Paul, took me out on my first mountain biking trip. Paul has an extra bike that he brought along for me to use.

We went to Park City where the trees are starting to change colors, and it is just beautiful!

Paul and Pete are both excellent teachers. Here are some of the things I learned today:
  1. Take everything you know about road biking and throw it away. It is a completely different sport!
  2. Take the switchbacks wide, then cut in.
  3. Outside foot down on the turns.
  4. Sit way back on, or even off of the seat.
  5. Appropriate gearing helps with stability.
  6. Do NOT slam on your breaks, especially your front breaks, when going downhill.
  7. Keep peddling on the uphill, even when your heart feels like it's going to explode, because if you stop, your walking up that hill.
Pete stayed behind me most of the time, shouting out instructions for me, telling me when I was doing something wrong. I don't think he's ever been so frustrated with me. I know that it was just because he was worried about me crashing, and he was also very good about cheering me on when I did something right. It was also very comforting to have him there.

On one of the switch backs, I started tipping over and he rushed up beside me to keep me from falling all the way back down the hill. I still landed in a bush, but he softened my fall quite a bit. I felt bad for falling onto him, but it was very heroic of him to put himself in the way like that. I felt a little queasy after this so I took my hammer gel and some water before starting again.

The way up was really hard, and my heart-rate was really high (in the 170s most of the time) for a lot longer than I'm used to, but I made it! It was fun because I like to work hard, and it was cool to be able to just go over all the big rocks that I would normally do everything to avoid.

When we got to the top and stopped to rest, I put my head down on my handle bars and just wanted to pass out, and I just could not seem to get enough water. We didn't want to get our heart rates down too much though so we got moving again pretty quick. I was feeling pretty good, I had made it to the top but my legs and heart were tired and I was excited to go down.

I didn't think about how hard going downhill would be! Oh. Man. This was crazy! I wasn't used to the breaks. They were a lot more responsive than on my road bike. I'd try to just lightly ride the breaks down the hill, but there was kind of a fine line between going too fast and slowing down too fast and tipping over. It was really steep and it was really scary. At one point, I was zooming down the trail through the trees and all the leaves were red and falling onto the trail. I thought, "I feel like I'm going to die, but this is really pretty!"

Here I am getting a little worried I might run into Paul who was taking the picture.

Then we came around a corner and it got even more steep. I think I freaked out a little and pushed my breaks too hard, then my food got stuck in the peddle and I just flipped over my handle bars. Luckily I landed in some nice soft little trees and didn't really get hurt other than scratching up my knee a little. It was weird because I wasn't in pain, but I still wanted to cry and wanted to just lay there on the ground. I made Pete a little worried because I didn't move for a minute. I was fine, though, and Pete and Paul both sprang back into giving me tips on down-hilling.

By the time we got to the bottom, I was getting the hang of it, and was even able to ride through the switchbacks. There were some really fun parts too, where I wasn't scared out of my mind. The weather was perfect and it was really beautiful up there. It took us a little more than 2 hours to do the 8-mile loop. Man, I could have run that faster than that! It was good, though. I'm really glad I went, and I definitely want to go out again. In fact, we're planning on going camping in Moab next weekend with Paul's family so I'll have to do some mountain biking there.

Thank you Pete and Paul!


  1. Great job Colleen! You were a good sport to let us act like we knew what we were talking about!

    Tiff was really regretting not coming with us.

    Moab - here we come!

  2. Great Post Colleen,
    I thought about you this morning since the triathon was in town. It was sad though, first a really thick fog rolled in and the swimmers couldn't see the buoys. Then the waves were BIG and several swimmers couldn't even make it out. I'm sure they are not ocean swimmers, people travel from everywhere to come to our tri.
    I love mountain biking. That's what i've always done. Not really any road biking. I like that some of the tris now have a division for mountain bikes, good for me since i've always had to use mine for racing.
    The photos are great!

  3. Lori,

    Wow, that does sound like a really hard swim! How awful not to be able to see the buoys AND have big waves! I hope everyone was ok.

    They did the Xterra tri here yesterday, so I thought it was fitting to go mt. biking. That would be a really hard race for me!