Monday, May 9, 2011

A slow, intermittent emergence from winter...

Yes I know, I was trying to get back to posting regularly and, well... work schedule has gone wonky. Probably will be for some time. What little time I do have could either be used by getting my enlarging behind on my bike and trying to get some fitness together for the upcoming year, OR I could sit here and type. Most of the time I've chosen option A. Not often, granted, but when I get to pick, that's the prize package I've picked.

Which usually leads to the less-than-best-estimate-of-my-abilities judgements. When, say, Ric from CyclistConnection says "Hey, I'm going to pre-ride the 75 mile course for the Ride4Autism, who wants to join me?", guess who's hand was in the air? Yep, this ol' monkey. And after forty-some miles in the grueling, windy day guess who had to back off and let everyone go because his legs were shot? Yep, monkey boy strikes again. But how am I going to get better if I don't keep jumping in to the deep end, right? That's what I tell myself. I don't often believe myself but it doesn't stop me.

Of course we can continue this line of hysteria by saying, "Hey, the Muskingum Madness is a long-ish mountain bike ride. That ought to be a challenge. Let's do it." As if that wasn't hard enough with a lack of fitness to work from, I decide "Oh, I don't really need to ride a mountain bike, I'll just ride the same old cyclocross bike for this". For those of you who don't ride bicycles much, here's the basic difference: Mountain bikes typically have at least front suspension, a lot have rear suspension as well & mountain bike tires are over 2" wide. Great for digging into dirt, grabbing on rocks and roots, that sort of thing. A cyclocross bike, on the other hand, has no suspension, much skinnier tires (about 35mm wide, or 1 3/8" or so) and has a more aerodynamic, less "in control" positioning. Needless to say, come the day of the ride I was the only one foolhardy enough to actually carry through with this irrational train of thought.

One of the great views from near The Wilds
 The Muskingum Madness however has a certain draw for me. The ride begins on The Wilds mountain bike trails, then continues up the road up and around The Wilds wildlife conservation center. This would allow us some good views (although not super-close) of rhinos, giraffes, gazelles, and other animals. We would continue on along some roads, across some grass lands, a bit more time on dirt and paved roads, on into the AEP mtb trails, back to some little-used road through rolling hills and on back to the North Camp starting point. Sounds like a great idea.

It was. But I had to add to what was already going to be a good challenge for me by riding the 'cross bike. I had seveal reasons, one of which was I didn't really have a mountain bike (mtb) ready to roll yet. I also believe that  a lot of hardpack dirt trails can be ridden on a bike with no suspension. Now rocks, tree roots, steep hillsides and miles of MUD (thanks to one of the wettest Aprils on record for Ohio) tend to play in the favor of the bike I didn't have together. Additionally, I thought that by pushing myself on the 'cross bike it would aid my bike-handling skills come 'cross racing season.

To my credit, I completed the ride although I did forgo the last ~5 miles of trail due to mechanical issues - I got the bike to ride-able but decided to NOT tempt fate one last time. I had done enough of that as it was. It was indeed a tough, long, challenging ride. And a lot of fun. Met some really cool people. Thanks to the folks with Appalachia Outdoor Adventures and associated organizations for putting together a great ride with great support. I definitely recommend their adventures as they certainly are a class act.

And to think, I had cleaned all this up about 4 times along the trail...
Thanks for reading.


  1. Yay you! The countryside is gorgeous. I wouldn't have been able to pass on it either.

  2. JD this is TEAM BRAINLESS are we reaching you ? I've tried to contact you on Twitter but we are not sure we are getting through.....Todd wants to know if you still have your Steve Olsen deck so he can borrow it to skate the Nelsonville pool. Follow me on Twitter...TakeJackMyDog co I can communicate with you. TEAM BRAINLESS NEEDS YOU

  3. Or you can email me at'm in love with the girl who works at the store, but I'm nothing but a customer.....

  4. I couldn't find your email address on your site, but I wanted you to know that I made a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project in your son's name. Our youngest son is a Marine -- he came back safely from Iraq, and is now getting ready for his deployment to Afghanistan. God bless all those who serve our country!