back to the bike

It’s hard to believe I’ve gone an entire year without hopping on my mountain bike. I actually enjoy mountain biking a lot more than road biking, but I end up on the road bike a lot more, mostly because it’s more practical. I can just hop on the road bike and ride out to Winters or Sacramento, or I can just ride my bike to work. To go mountain biking I need to throw my bike on top of my car and drive out to a trail, which is usually at least a forty minute drive.

At the end of the last season I took apart my mountain bikes to swap parts between them. They ended up sitting in pieces for the entire year. I spent Friday evening putting my hardtail Superbee back together. I installed a single speed crank, so I was running a 1×9 setup. When I bought the crank it seemed like a good idea, since I was getting to the point where I wasn’t using my granny gear a whole lot. But I found that after a year off, my legs weren’t as strong as they used to be. You’d think that road biking would keep my legs in shape, but oddly enough it doesn’t. Road biking is just a long steady aerobic exercise, whereas mountain biking tends to have short periods of really high intensity. It was those short but steep climbs that were killing me, especially without the granny gear.

Apparently during my year long hiatus from mountain biking Geo had gotten addicted and had bought two mountain bikes, one of which was a beautiful carbon fiber Ibis Mojo. So on Saturday we went out along with two Daves to the Vallejo-Benicia buffer trail, which is part of the Bay Area Rim Trail. It turns out that my car can just barely hold four bikes, but only if one of the racks is a wheel mount rack.

On paper the trail seemed pretty easy, and I thought I would have no problem clearing it with my current bike setup. But when we got there I found that climbing on the loose dirt was tiring- I was really beginning to miss my granny gear. Afterwards there was a pretty hairy descent down a long steep slope. I was pretty much riding the brakes the whole way down, and at the bottom I could smell the pads burning on my disc brakes.

The trail dropped us off in town at Benicia. We hadn’t had enough by then, so we decided to continue on along the bay towards the Carquinez bridge. Riding out here was nice, not very challenging technically, but we were able to pick up a lot of speed, and the scenery was beautiful.

This part of trail ended way too quickly too. We ended up at a dead end in a construction site. From there we ended up riding through some residential areas, then ended up at a kid’s playground, and then a drainage ditch before finally getting to our destination near the Carquinez bridge. From there it was about a four mile ride back on the city streets of Vallejo to get back to our starting point.

I forgot how much I loved mountain biking. It was good to get back on the mountain bike at least once before the season’s end.

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