Dec 2016 17

Riding Dirty0

Posted In Blog



For several years now, as I’ve slightly expanded my social cycling network, I have been hounded by friends to try mountain biking. Quite of few of my closest cycling friends ride both road and mountain bikes. For years now, I’ve been feeding them a response that I can continue to ride on the road because I have the proper cold weather clothing gear. I’ve also joked with them that most of their mountain bicycling stories either include what they broke on their bike…or their body, and no part of me finds that a good attraction to the new discipline of cycling.


I changed my view point somewhat this this past summer when we moved back to Frankfort, where I grew up most of my young life. Frankfort is home to Capitol View Park, one of the nicest trail systems for mountain bicycling in the state, so I’ve heard from many folks that ride trails. I thought to myself, now that I basically have Capitol View in my backyard, I should at least give it a try. So I managed to find a decent mountain bike on Craig’s List for around $300 and made it my “Bessie.” I showed Bessie some love by riding around town a few times and even got her a little dirty on the seldom ridden trails behind Buffalo Trace distillery, but most of time, she sat in the sunroom and watched me take Roadie out trip after trip, while she collected dust.


After a dismal cycling month in November, I noticed I could possibly break 3000 miles for 2016 if I could muster up another 250 or so by the end of the year. So I took advantage of the occasional mild weather weekends and kept Roadie rolling…until his last ride a couple weeks ago, when I had multiple chain drop issues, and breaking my front shifter lever and had to spin my last 12 or so miles home in the small ring. I’ve been warned by Brian at my local bike shop, Small Batch Cyclery, that Roadie needed some major work including new front rings, new cassette, bottom bracket bearings, etc. and now I can add the shifter to the list. Not ready to make this investment right before Christmas, I decided to forget about my annual mileage and give Roadie the rest of the year off. To break 3000 miles for the year doesn’t seem like much for me, but given the additional time I required for recovery after knee surgery, then the precious time I lost while going through the moving process, would really have been a significant comeback accomplishment. Nevertheless, I have often said, I don’t ride to accumulate miles, which is also why I never upload my trainer activities to my Strava, I ride for pure enjoyment and physical fitness gains.



So last week I reached out to Nathan to see if he was ready to introduce Bessie and me to CVP. Thankfully, he was. He invited a few others, but it ended up just being the two of us on a bitter chilly December day. He was very informative about the different sections and where to enter and exit each trail area. He explained, and I experienced it firsthand on the bike, the differences in “rooty, rocky, and flowy” trail riding. Capitol View has all three of them in some sections. Several times, I ask if we had already been over a section of trail (I kept thinking we were looping around and then reconnecting back over the same trail), but Nathan ensured me it was not the case. The trail just has numerous areas that look alike.


A month or so ago, I saw where my friends Adam and Muhammad had been doing some night riding at CVP and I asked Adam how he has the nerve to ride in a pitch dark forest? I understand now, because unlike road riding where you have to pay attention to the road in front of you and the road ahead of you, the traffic and everything going on around you…with mountain biking, you just pay attention to what’s right in front of you! Nathan says it’s like playing a video game. True! Similar to playing Atari Frogger game growing up, I felt like I was weaving in and out, dodging trees and deer! I fell (was basically launched once) off the bike twice as I was unable to keep it upright going through slick turns. The first time caught me off guard but I wasn’t going too fast as I laid it down on my right side. The second time was a little more forceful when I felt myself losing it and nearly saved it only to not! And I had mud all up my right side and back that trip. I knew no other riders were near me so I just laid there for a few moments and laughed at myself.


Mountain biking compared to road riding is more of a cardio workout for sure, and definitely requires a little more focus. Capitol View has some fun areas, I think it’s a great park for me to learn how to ride a mountain bike. It has some short but steep switchback hills, some fun sink holes, plenty of rolling trail, a decent amount of scenery change and I like how there’s multiple sections where you can enter and exit so you don’t have to be stuck riding the entire trail at any spot. Hopefully, by the end of the “dark” months (while clocks are rolled back), I’ll learn the entire CVP and maybe attract a few other friends to join me in my new expedition with Bessie on the trails.


I’m already excited and anxious for my next trip to Capitol View! …@KPtheMasher