Injury and Recovery from the Wife’s Point of View

Having crashes while mountain biking is considered normal. You come to expect road rash, cuts, and scratches. Broken bones are not common, thankfully.

Usually Ogre only enters a couple races a year at the most.  His primary race is the Coolest 24 hour race.  It’s a cancer fundraiser held on a trail system fairly close to home.  The promoter of this race puts on several others and  offered an entry in the Boggs 24 hour.  Ogre chose to enter in the solo 24 hour category, a first for him, having raced in the past on teams.  I would be the team support, making sure he ate, slept, hydrated at the base camp.  He would suffer through the riding.  His plan was to ride like an adventure racer, push himself, but not over-do-it and to take breaks to recover as needed.  I was more concerned that he maintain his eating regiment as this had been a problem in past races. Continue reading Injury and Recovery from the Wife’s Point of View

Out to have new experiences.

Riding bikes seems to be a forever evolving thing.  You start by learning to ride, then try to acquire some skills to improve your riding experience.  With each skill mastered, comes the need to try to do something harder, more challenging.  Well, how about trying to ride a bicycle built for two?

A few weeks back Ogre and I were allowed to borrow a friend’s mountain tandem to see if we would enjoy the experience.  We had played with the idea of getting one for a while, but I was nervous about the discrepancy in our ride levels.  I had heard that matching your cadence is really important in riding a tandem.  We ended our demo ride with big smiles and a decision that a tandem would be a great addition to our bikes.  Over the following weeks we began looking through ads and discussing what features we thought would be the most important to have on our tandem.  I personally wanted a rear suspension.  The demo bike had a Thudbuster seatpost, but I felt like more suspension would be a better option.  We talked about the tandem for a couple more days and finally decided to plan to get one for our anniversary in July.

Then this past week he comes home with the news that another friend has a mountain tandem that he’s getting ready to put up for sale.  Want to try it out, he asks.  Why not.  He makes the arrangements, we get up Saturday morning, load our gear, and head out.  Morgan has the garage open and is setting up the bike so we can try it as we pull up.  He lives close to Joaquin Miller Park and has an idea of a route we can use to demo the bike.  He rode along with us giving us hints and preparing us for anything tricky up ahead.  The funniest part was him telling us how he rides this section or that one with his son so we should be ok.  We manage to complete the route without any carnage and return to his house again wearing big smiles.  What a blast!

Ogre turns to me with one question, so we doing this?  Oh, yeah!  So now we have our own tandem mountain bike to hit the trails.  It’s going to take a little while to learn how to ride the tandem together.  Other tandem riders we’ve spoken to have given us lots of great advice.  The one thing that keeps coming up is that the captain and stoker must learn some commands.   Everything from which foot to start pedaling with to when to coast have to be communicated back and forth.  It’s going to be interesting learning all new skills, but I definitely think I’m up to the challenge.

A Change in Seasons

Well, with the first real rain comes the change in the riding seasons. Now it’s time to break out the winter weather gear. I’m not looking forward to cold, wet rides on one hand, but at least I can get in some riding. Every year I have to work hard to encourage myself not to be a fair-weather rider. I hate getting my face wet, but I love riding in the rain. I don’t mind cold weather, but I hate freezing. The challenges of riding on rain-slicked trails are kind of fun too. It just changes everything in even little ways. I’ve been finding myself making mental lists of the trails I plan on hitting within the next few weeks. I have the ‘it’s just rained’ list and the ‘woohoo it’s sunny’ list. I keep looking at weather reports and thinking which list am I going to choose from this time. I’ve come up with Lake Hogan and New Melones if it rains. Auburn and Folsom if it doesn’t. Possibly sneaking in rides a little further up the hill is a thought for adding to the drier days. Of course I couldn’t resist adding “reading about bike riding on the web” for those severe days when no one should be out on their bike.

I’ll have to see how this winter plays out. So far it seems to be like waiting for the other shoe to drop.  There’s still barely any snow at Lake Tahoe and it’s the end of October.  It would be great to get at least three rides in each week at the minimum, but I honestly expect to only be able to ride twice a week on average.

Gauging Improvement

Last year I rode at Annadel in Santa Rosa for the first time. I joined the festivities of May by the Bay, an annual mountain bike gathering organized through MTBR. Knowing that I hadn’t ridden there before, I asked for directions on recommended routes. Instead I ended up with a pair of guides who graciously showed me the way at my speed. I found Annadel to be a beautiful park with many trails that could be ridden by different experience levels. Definitely a place to have a map or guide the first time though. Even experienced riders could have a less than stellar ride without some prior information.

Now it’s a year later and I have the chance to ride there again, so off I go. I end up starting off the ride with about a dozen other riders in addition to the ride leaders of the year before. Even just a short time into the ride, I notice that instead of walking the climb, I’m still on the bike. And I’ll confess, looking back and seeing a couple other people behind me helped motivate me to keep pedaling. The route was very similar to last year’s. As I rode along I kept noticing that it seemed easier. I did walk some sections still, but I also was able to stay on the bike and clear some stuff that just seemed too hard just 12 months earlier. All in all I had a blast and felt glad to make it back to the parking lot at the end of the ride. A change of clothes and something cold to drink made a perfect end.

The Two Sides of Auburn

Well, actually Auburn seems to have many sides. Last weekend Ogre and I went to the Russell Rd. trailhead to ride. It was overcast and threatened rain so we figured that we’d play it by ear, but brought the rain gear along in our packs. We dropped down the road to Manzanita and rode that until it hit Stagecoach. Climbed back up Stagecoach to where Upper Stagecoach hits it and then rode Upper Stagecoach back down to Stagecoach and then continued down to the Confluence. Ogre wanted more miles and I needed a break so we decided I’d hang where I was and he’d go ride a loop on the other side of the bridge. He expected to be gone for 1-1 1/2 hours and we planned for me to start climbing back up Stagecoach after he’d left me for 30-45 minutes. Just 30 minutes later and I feel a couple of drops. Hmmmm… Continue reading The Two Sides of Auburn

Fiona’s Tale

Fiona on a bridge.Well, obviously I don’t need tell you about the trip up but, I had a great time flying up to Oregon with Ogre. For me the best part of the weekend was the fact that I got to actually ride all three days of MTB Oregon and there were skills clinics for women specifically.

When Ogre and I started planning this trip, I visited the MBO website and requested the video CD to see what to expect. I didn’t think the chances were good that I’d be able to ride much and especially not with Ogre. The trail listings sounded like the rides were more advanced than my skill level, but I figured I’d find something that would be fun and maybe I’d be able to walk/ride my way through one ride. Boy was I wrong. There were several beginner/intermediate trails available. The one that kept me coming back everyday was the Salmon Creek Trail. This trail left directly from the camp area and followed along the side of a beautiful creek. The majority of it was covered by lush, mossy forest and even in the heat was a pleasure to ride. Continue reading Fiona’s Tale

Monterey in a weekend

Alright, so during MTBR’s May by the Bay raffle I win one of the big prizes, a night’s stay at Los Laureles Lodge in Carmel. I ask Ogre can we make it a ride weekend to celebrate 17 years of marriage? His reply, sure. Gotta love a guy that’s willing to ride with the old wifey. So, I post a thread on MTBR fishing for info and thanks to some locals, find plenty. The weekend falls together nicely. Continue reading Monterey in a weekend

A Ride Around Lake Natomas

Lake Natomas PhotoOgre and I needed to go to Sacramento on Sunday, so we brought the bikes along and got in a great ride. Starting at the Hazel parking lot, we rode across the bridge, down the bike trail, and out onto some dirt trails that break off the American Bike Trail’s paved surface to the north. These trails wander around in some old quarry areas. A beginner/intermediate rider would find some great areas for practicing their skills.

We wound around the lake mostly on the dirt with short connector sections of pavement. As we went along there were 2 rather steep hill climbs, but nothing unhikable (if needed) and one downhill by Negro Bar that is like riding down a trough. The blackberry brambles and thistles overgrew the trail and beat up our legs and arms. I had a hard time keeping up with the Ogre even with him keeping it slow for him, but I was afraid of going too fast. All-in-all it was a fun adventure culminating in a quick dip in the lake near the CSUS boat area.  (More Details about Riding at Lake Natomas)