Thursday, November 19, 2015

Searching for a ride, Part 1.5: 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo

So after a bazillion years as a road cyclist, I did a lot of off-road trail riding this year, inspired by pro pals Rebecca (Gross) and Caro (Gomez-Villafane) who introduced me to cyclocross last fall. I was excited about getting off the road and doing something different -- cyclocross (CX), or gravel, or mountain biking -- so I borrowed Pete's mountain bike for the winter, a Specialized Hardrock. My idea at the time was to ride through the winter on the MTB -- as the wider tires were safer on icy roads than the road bike -- but with the winter we had last year, even riding a MTB was tough. Still, I rode.

I love the bike. It makes me laugh. It is so crazy rusted and has only 4 of the 21 gears working. Pete's only caveat when he loaned me the bike was "Don't spend any money on it." (This directive came after I mentioned the bike needed a new chain.) Hahaha.... it needs more than a new chain, Pete!) It's a bit big for me and I call it "The Deathtrap" because I've had so many wipeouts on it I've lost count. (And of course I was riding The Deathtrap in March when I skidded into the pavement and tore my rotator cuff. Damn it, my shoulder is still in pain.)

But I love being off-road, heading down trails and exploring the woods, having a blast riding a slower pace, and trying my darndest to climb hills and big rocks on that heavy bike. (I think it weighs 35 lbs.) It's really been fun! So, when a Vanderkitten teammate decided to form a relay team for the epic MTB race 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo, I considered maybe joining them. In a text message to Mike I asked him what he thought. He answered with the simple word, "YES". My heart jumped. I texted back, "Really?!" He replied, "Yes". (OMG)

I then added, "I probably need to get a new bike..."

To which he added, "Yes." (Oh, wow. LOVE my man-of-few-words.)

There are so many options in mountain bikes, depending on the type of riding you're doing -- trails, xc, downhill, etc. -- so of course I asked Rebecca for help. Do I need full suspension? A 26", 27.5" or 29" tire? She narrowed it down for me based on what I'd need for the race, and the type of riding I'd be doing after, and suggested a hardtail 29er.

24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is going to be tough. I haven't even begun seriously training for it but as of today I have 12 weeks to pull it together. No problem. For now, I'm riding The Deathtrap as much as I can, hoping my new bike ships and gets built before the snow arrives. I've got quite a challenge ahead.

(Next: Searching for a ride, Part 2: Falling in love with a bike shop)