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The One About the Orange Trail

25 Jun

Let’s me make something clear about my blog. I am not a mountain bike expert, a fitness expert, or a trail expert. I know just enough about all of these things to get myself into trouble. I am a noob (that’s short for newbie) mountain biker and I have a noob bike. I’m by no means a noob when it comes to training, but you’d never be able to tell by looking at me. In other words, I think I’ve read more about training than I’ve actually done training. So in that area I’m not a noob, but I’m not a novice either (I know that’s not saying much). Still I’d like to believe that there are those who are where I am, or are about to go where I am, who might benefit from my follies. With that said, here’s the first of a category of blog, that I’m sure there will be many of, that will be filed under “It Looked Good on the Map”. Why am I sure there will be many of these stories? Because it’s my fourth week into mountain biking and I already have another story for this category but I don’t have time to write about it today…

So…I have my shiny new noob mountain bike, and I’m wearing everything I have that I wouldn’t mind getting trashed. My semi-dirty sneakers I use for cleaning and odd jobs now looks like I decided to stand in a puddle of mud just for G.P. I’m wearing weight lifting gloves because my hands sweat so much when I ride that I can’t  hold on to the grips. I can’t get the reflectors off of the wheels without scratching up the spokes because they have some kind of fastener that I suppose is not intended to allow them to be removed (and yes I am mechanically inclined). Finally, I still have my kickstand mounted on the bike…well because it’s convenient. I don’t look like a noob do I? On my third day into riding I decide that Forbidden Trail isn’t exciting enough anymore. It’s not the fact that my legs are still made of rubber, it’s the trail! (yeah right) So I do the logical thing. I mosey on over to the park map at the entrance to Forbidden Drive off of Lincoln Drive and look for a trail that’s not boring. Hmmm…what’s this, the “Orange Trail”. That looks interesting! It runs up the other side (with an emphasis on “up”) Wissahickon Creek. I think I’ll try that. So I pedal back to the Lincoln Drive Parking lot and I see a big hill. Well that can’t be it. I didn’t see a hill on the map (no the maps aren’t topographical). Well, I don’t want to look like a wuss, even though if I passed out on the trail right now riders would probably ride around me like a pile of horse poop…but still, I have to maintain my image. I’ve been riding for 3 whole days now! So I pedal around in circles until I can get my bike into the lowest gear possible to make it up this thirty degree gradient. Ten minutes and 2000 pedal revolutions later I’m at the top of the hill, my legs are on fire, I’m out of breath and there’s a giant tree across the trail. Wow…                 So, let see if I can get around it, well the sign says trail closed. I have the feeling irony’s out to make an example of me today, so I think I’ll obey the sign. So the trail reroutes to the left and the right. The one to the left, near the creek, has the little “hikers only” logo. Mountain bikes to the right. Oh…that must be the easier trail since it’s easier to walk over obstacles than it is to ride over obstacles(NOT). Long story short, the whole trail is uphill; all the mountain biker trails are higher and harder; I had to carry my bike for two thirds of the route; I lost count of how many times I got lost; I almost fell off of a 40’ slope; and the coup de grace…This sucker right here…[Click to see the monster]Karl Wagner claimed he could ride it but he didn’t realize I didn’t know what the heck I was talking about. In all I took almost four hours to make it to the hill from Hades before I gave up and headed back home. But I looked cool (in my mind) until that trail broke me! Maybe I’ll try again next month. Happy Trails…

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