Jul 2017 04


The transformation of my cycling over the past year is a very pleasant surprise. When we relocated to the downtown that I grew up in last July, I had a feeling that I should get out of “my box” just a little by taking advantage of an awesome trail system located on the banks of the Kentucky River and providing excellent views of the state Capitol from multiple vantage points. Over my 12 year road cycling passion, I’ve often been told (but not tempted) by friends that I need to give mountain biking a try. I claim not tempted because it never seemed to interest me and I often heard stories of things always breaking with my mountain biking friends (either broken bikes or bones).


Growing up in Frankfort, I was familiar with Capitol View Park but had never been on the trails. In full disclosure, I really knew nothing about mountain biking, but having heard that CVP is one of nicest, most versatile trail parks in the state. My initial feeling was nearing a genuine attempt when I picked up my first mountain bike on Craig’s List from a former college student in Lexington. The trial cost me about $300 and I slowly began riding the Jamis Durango hardtail around town, before finding some trails behind Buffalo Trace distillery. Having no idea what I was doing, I took my first trip to the Buffalo Trace trails and I’ll never forget the moment it struck me that I could possibly run across a snake. I’m a big chicken when it comes to snakes, it’s one of my biggest fears. I put that fear aside to give this discipline a real chance.


My first trip to Capitol View Park was with good friend Nathan on Thanksgiving weekend and I wasn’t getting a warm fuzzy feeling. Especially the times I was catapulted off the bike twice, trying to follow him winding in and out of the multiple trails. Now I was beggining to second guess this feeling. My second trip to CVP was just after Christmas when I joined a few other friends Gene, Steph, and Fred on a morning when temps were near or below zero degrees and the trails were lightly covered with snow. It was cold!! Other than freezing and not being able to feel my toes and fingers for part of the ride, my experience was much better than the first after Stephanie checked and adjusted my tire pressure. As I said earlier, I really knew nothing about mountain biking.


Fast forward 6 months, I just purchased my next mountain bike. After accumulating a little over 250 miles on Bessie, my first dirt bike, and having gone from those first rides behind Buffalo Trace, to the first couple falls at CVP, to increasing my endurance and ability on trails, I was very confident that I’m committed to remaining a mountain biker as much as a road cyclist. That confidence was enough personal justification that I was ready to upgrade my equipment, knowing it would also enhance my overall experience. The only hold backs were my budget and still being a rookie.



I’m very thankful for the close friends I have gained in my cycling life, even though I ride with some more than others and still enjoy plenty of solo rides also, I’m always picking brains for tips and ideas that help me improve my riding. I am especially grateful for the few friends that loaned me bikes to experiment on. I borrowed full suspension, hardtail, 27.5, 29er, carbon, aluminum, steel, I weighed buying used versus brand new, nearly any option that I may possibly want to ride on a mountain bike trail. Ultimately, I settled on buying the bike I borrowed from Gene. It is a 2014 Giant Anthem 27.5– 3, a full suspension bike and he had already added a dropper seat post and converted the tires to tubeless. He gave me a very fair deal and I really like the bike and love the Louisville colors!


I enjoyed my first ride on it at CVP last night after having new tires installed, changing out the pedals and officially making it mine by paying for it. It is very smooth, a great fit and feel for me and I’m fully committed to enhancing my mountain bike experience to go along with my continued great passion for road cycling.  I look forward to to venturing many trails on my new bike “Elle Byrd!”