21 April 2013

Lost in Translation

Takeaway From Today:
I am not God's gift to mountain biking.

I have this bad habit of thinking that my skills in one area (such as road biking) will easily translate to skills in another area (like mountain biking). I did this same sort of thing 8 years ago when I signed up for my first off-road triathlon (aaaand first triathlon ever). I figured that since I knew how to run 14 miles, obviously mountain biking 14 miles will be cake because road running and mountain biking are practically the same.

No and no and I got my rear end handed to me.

My friend Karen, road-and-mountain biker extraordinaire, saw my post on Facebook earlier this week that I'd signed up for my first Xterra tri in years and rightfully told me that I should probably hit the trails ASAP (and get a bike). And oh boy was she correct. I borrowed a friend's mountain bike today (thank you Kyle!) and took to the trails at Wakefield Park. Last night I purchased mountain bike shoes and crank brothers eggbeater pedals because I figured it might be a good idea to learn how to mountain bike with my shoes secured to the pedals. It actually wasn't bad and didn't feel strange or scary at all to be clipped in while hitting roots and rocks. I did, however, feel like a train wreck just waiting to happen. These bikes are substantially heavier and more unwieldy than my road bike or tri bike. I feel like an elephant trying to take sharp corners and I almost bit it a few times. Complete rude awakening that road biking skills DO NOT translate to mad skills on the trails. Next weekend will be an interesting experience and if you are in the south Jersey area, maybe come out and watch for free laughs? I've learned my lesson (and will, undoubtedly, continue to learn) that new-to-me sports absolutely deserve practice and respect and I shouldn't just assume I'll be good at it right away.

And the whole purchasing a mountain bike. The wheels have begun moving. I've drafted up a Craigslist ad to let the DC Metro area know that wife is selling husband's bike because he has chosen golf over triathlon and she wants the funds (and real estate in the basement) to add to her own bike collection. Once that puppy sells, I'm off to the bike shop, yee-haw!


The Miller Family said...

YOU are so funny!!! Selling the hubby's bike..to fuel your own habit. Cannot wait to see you next weekend!!!

Karen Talley Mead said...

While road skills in no way translate to mountain biking, the mountain biking WILL help you become a better cyclist all around. Be patient and stay positive. The learning curve is sharp, but it is totally worth it. Nothing matches the feeling of floating over technical section of trail. And when you do it right, it really does feel like floating.

Em said...

You rocked CX - so mtb is just a few more hills :-) I'll be more than happy to hit the trails with you anytime!!