Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mountain Biking 101

Wednesday evening (June 13th) Ryan and I had the fun of joining fellow Cannon Valley Velo Club member, Griff Wigley (aka Mountain Bike Geezer) to learn a little about mountain biking.

My mountain biking experience is almost nonexistent - I rode some trails last fall with Ben Witt of Milltown Cycles when I test rode a Salsa Mukluk. To say that I had fun is an understatement! Since then I've hit some gravel and dirt paths on my hybrid with my daughter, Rose, but I haven't had a chance to actually ride any mountain bike trails since my outing on the Mukluk. My opportunities have been limited, for one, but the other problem has been my lack of a mountain bike. 

But then Griff arranged for a beginner's mountain bike for CVVC members and friends at Salem Hills Mountain Bike Trails at Harmon Park in Inver Grove Heights - I decided that I HAD to go. So I called up my younger brother, Joel, who has an old Specialized HardRock to see if I could use it for the beginner's ride. Joel said "Sure!" so I brought the bike to Milltown for a tune up and got it ready to go.

My son, Ryan, said he wanted to try mountain biking, too, so we loaded up the van and headed to Salem Hills last night. I was super excited to join in on last night's ride. I was also kind of nervous  - so I was totally okay with the fact that just Ryan and I were Griff's students for the night.
We're ready to go! Ryan said he probably blinked right when Griff snapped the picture. Photo courtesy Griff Wigley

First Griff did a little skills assessment with me and Ryan to see how well we handled our bikes. (Griff, by the way, has been trained to help newbies like me and Ryan. Along with Sue Welch he will be coaching high schoolers in the newly formed Cannon Valley Mountain Bike Team). Even the skill exercises he put us through were fun! Then Griff gave us a little briefing on where we were going to ride and some tips on how to ride the trail and we headed out.

We had a blast! Ryan and I laughed and screamed and talked and laughed and screamed some more (okay, maybe I did most of the screaming) as we rode the trails. Between whoops and hollers and during breaks to catch our breath Griff shared his knowledge of mountain biking with us. I learned a lot - but mostly I had fun!

Ryan fell down a few times (he didn't get hurt, unless you count a scrape or two as hurt) and though I didn't fall at the end of the evening I totally lost energy going up a hill and slipped off my saddle and onto my top tube (slight bruise but otherwise okay). Though we only rode about four miles (two .7 mile loops on one trail and two trips around another 1.3 mile trail) we were totally exhausted at the end of the evening - but other than being tired we were both in fine form.
Here's Ryan post fall. I'm up the hill and laughing - with Ryan, not at Ryan :) Photo courtesy Griff Wigley
I honestly can't wait to try mountain biking again. I had so much fun and it was a great way to work on improving my bike handling skills. Ryan is raring to go, too - and we'd both love to have Rose and Owen join us and they say they are willing...

So we're all ready to go - the question is.... is Griff?



1 comment:

Griff Wigley said...

Great post, Myrna. I really enjoyed the experience... my first of hopefully many as a ride leader for the CVVC.