Friday, April 20, 2012

Back In The Saddle, One Year Later...

I'm back again and one year later. A lot of time has flashed by, a lot of things changed, like the fact that I don't live in New Jersey but Pennsylvania. I'm figuring out how to do a nice transition from this blog into a newer, sweeter design and name. That little project is on the horizon but for the time being, I'll keep posting to here.

I still got the Turner 5 Spot, I feel like I'm the only one that hasn't switched to a 29er. It's not that I don't want to join the band-wagon, I mean the 29er revolution but it just comes down to timing and money. When I got the cash, something more important pops up and then the money goes elsewhere. That's life, I guess or maybe poor saving on my part but after building up the Turner to my specs, it's hard for me to just buy a complete bike and replacing and upgrading the parts as time goes on.

Now-a-days, there's so many options, by different companies that are offering a 29er. Carbon, seems to be the big rage. I never owned a carbon bike or got the chance to ride one, so I don't know really how it would feel on a rock shrewd trail. I can only imagine that it would feel a little harsh. I got the full squish now and after a 1/2 hour on a trail that is covered in roots, my lower back aches, so I can't imagine how intensified it would be on a carbon bike... or i could be wrong. Anybody can agree or disagree??

My biggest gripe with a bike shop, is that I don't want to do a parking lot test and then drop 2k on a bike. I say 2k because it seems like the entry level bike price has shot up from 12 hundred dollars, for a decent entry level bike to 22 to 25 hundred dollar bike for a decent component bike, that is just one step better than a entry level bike. I could be wrong on this issue of price point but around here it seems that way. What is it like in your area?? Ok, back to the parking lot test. There are a few shops around my area that will allow you to test ride a bike for the day, it's not a bad option and the fee goes towards the bike if you buy it from them but if one shop offers Cannondale Flash 29er and another shop offers a Santa Cruz Tallboy 29er you are going to lose your money someway. So why not offer at least 40% of your money back even if you don't buy the bike from them, that way it isn't a complete loss. Who's to say within the first 1/2 hour of the ride, you think the bike sucks and now you are out of 50 to 75 dollars.

We had a very mild winter and I think I'm to blame for that, I bought a snow blower and jinxed the winter. So it wasn't global warming it was me and my SEARS snow blower. This winter, I did a lot of road riding, more so than the past 3 years (i think 3 years) that I had this bike. when you have the proper clothing, winter riding is doable. It's a hell of a lot different riding the road in the winter than in the woods. In the woods, the trees are a big factor, hell it shields the wind for you but now I know what it feels like to get hit with a 50 mph wind in a open field feels like. In that same day, which was probably not the best day to ride, we rode into a massive snowsquall. at first it was pretty cool but as my pace picked up, the sleet started to sting a little bit, but who the hell cares, it was really cool to ride through and in it. Oh the wind, it was brutal. 50 mph winds that day as well as the snowsquall and my god, it felt like someone was tied a rope onto my seat post and was playing tug-of-war with me and I was losing badly. Chuggin' up the hill and the wind hitting my bike sideways, either pushing me towards that ditch or closer to the traffic, someone clearly didn't want me out there. But I did it and that's what matters.

Last year, I trained for my first charity ride, the Bike MS: City to Shore bike ride. Between me mtn biking and road riding, I felt really good riding 75 miles at a 15 mph pace. The rest stops were packed with good treats and were evenly spaced every 15 miles. I did good in raising a little over a grand. For my efforts, I got a really cool Bike MS: City to the Shore jersey (I'll post it up). So this year, I decided to do it again, with the same team I rode with last year, Lor-Mar Mechanical (free plug here!) I got an awesome cycling jersey from them (and I'll post that up as well) but this year I'll be doing the 150 miles in 2 days and I'm hoping to raise more money this year. I also decided to do another charity ride this summer, the American Diabetes, Tour De Cure and I signed up for the 63 mile ride. This should be interesting because this ride should be much hillier than the MS ride, which was pretty flat except the last 2 bridges you need to cross. I figure my time won't be as good as the MS ride was and my speed will be a tad bit slower, since lately, I have been climbing at a snail's pace. Not much saddle time with the road bike, I have been enjoying my time in the woods, on the mtn bike and last year it was the opposite. I'll have to balance my road and mtn time, along with my work and home life.

I hope you all get out this weekend, enjoy a ride, whether it's on pavement or dirt. AND if you feel a little generous, here are the links to where you can donate for my charity rides. The American Diabetes, Tour De Cure Charity Ride 2012. The Bike MS: City to Shore Ride 2012. If anyone donates, I'd like to Thank You in advance!

Happy Trails!