dates for the diary

hey girls! hope you are all well, and hitting the trails regularly.

hmba is going to hold a skills course this weekend, to help people learn how to ride the new section of trail – the chute to “ross river”. i know a few girls have been putting of racing in club events because their confidence on the new trail wasn’t super high, so this is a great way to master some new skills, and tackle a new obstacle.

all the details are below, but i am you can also pop leonard allen an email for more info: trails@hmba.asn.au

the next chick’s ride is only a week away, which is pretty amazing. don’t forget the new time of 7am at glenrock. last ride we split into a couple of different groups, being a more advanced girl’s group, and a group of social riders, for those who just want to do a bit more of a cruise on the bike. we are likely to continue to follow a similar format from now on, because that seemed to work well to cater to different abilities.

just a reminder – when you do come out on the rides, bring some food and drink, just in case your blood sugar drops, and to stop dehydration. we want to make sure everyone is safe and having fun on these rides. anyway, hope to see heaps of you out on the trail soon.

HMBA Skills Course – How to Ride the Chute – Sunday the 7th March, Awaba
A skills course on “how to ride the Chute to Ross River” will be held on the 7th of March at 2pm. The session will cover how to brake properly and how to go down steep slopes with confidence. The training is from our own skills guru B-rad Mertens. Cost will be $5 for members $10 non members, meeting in the car park.
http://hmba.asn.au/?q=node/56

a new use for old shoes

why not make your own exercise bike?!? cute.

seats, road riding and the next chix ride

heyo. so i am still off the mountain bike after my off of a couple of weeks ago, although fortunately am feeling less shaken than i was before, which is nice. however i have been hitting the streets on the road bike and having a ball whilst doing it.

the fun really started a week or two back, when i decided to play around with a couple of different seats. the one that came on my bike was desperately uncomfortable causing certain pain and numbing right on the worst possible place (yes, use your imagination), which meant that riding any kind of distance was a pretty horrible idea…

on a whim, i ended up stealing the seat off my mountain bike (a wtb deva seat – see below), and throwing it onto the road bike. and what do you know? my sit bones love it on the roadie just as much as on the mountain bike. and so i have been cycling pain free, and with renewed vigor over the last few weeks.

in addition to the new seat, i am in training for the sparke helmore triathlon (yes, it’s true, i am a cyclist who does indeed dabble in triathlons), and so have been logging a number of hours and kilometres on the roadie (as well as running, and the odd bit of swimming)… with the result that i am feeling the fittest i have ever been in my life right now. it’s a very wonderful and exciting feeling, especially as i have never been someone who is naturally fit. go cycling! it’s great. fitness is so very empowering.

and this very weekend i will get to turn that fitness to great purpose, as we have the next chick’s ride at glenrock. the ride kicks off at 7am on sunday morning, and should be a lovely way to spend a sunday morning. and that also means it’s time for me to face my fears and get back on the mountain bike. truthfully, i am looking forward to it (although hope i can kick back to the rear of the group, and just take things slow).

like pain

well, i have been off the mountain bike for almost two weeks now, with ribs that still give me some grief (although the pain is slowly dying down). i think i must have bruised them, and banged up the cartilage at least a little, when i had my fall early last week. the experience has really reminded me of the pain that i experienced when i fractured my sternum, and although it’s nowhere near as bad as that, it has left me feeling fairly vulnerable on the mountain bike.

for me, fear is a really present thing when i ride off road. i think there are lots of women who get an adrenalin rush, but whose actual fear on the bike would barely register a blip on a scare-o-meter. and those women blow my mind, because just being out in the bush on the bike, i often find myself living with very real, if somewhat abstract, fears. fears of coming off. fears of smashing into something and breaking myself badly. and basically, the fear that comes from being out of control.

because i know that even when i hurt myself badly (like a fracture) it doesn’t really hurt too much. and it heals. so my logic brain knows that chances are, things are going to be absolutely ok. it’s just that sometimes i don’t listen to that part of my brain too well.

and i know that it feels amazing to conquer those fears, and take a ride and have everything just work and be amazing. but they never quite go away. always there to whisper to me. so i step off things that i could almost definitely make. and i hold myself back from trying new things. and i try to stay safe (and then take a tumble when i am on the easiest bit of track around). which just goes to show we can not predict the things that will hurt us in life.

anyway, i wonder whether other people have the little voice of fear going through their head all the time too. do you? i would love to hear your stories on this issue too.

one for the road

i am starting to come to the conclusion that i should take up some other sport. something with fewer potential dangers than mountain biking. something involving a greater number of pillows or similar soft things…

came off my bike again today. not sure how it all happened, but i landed with my chest right on the end of my handlebar. that was around 20minutes ago, and i think i have gone up a cup size with the bruising and swelling. mmm. pretty.

this is not a lone incident for me. i have already fractured my sternum whilst mountain biking. smashed my shin. bruised a thousand times in a thousand ways… hell, even as a little kid i put my teeth through my lip when i came off my bike. so why on earth did i think that i would be someone who should be placed onto a moving machine and placed on a hill surrounded by obstacles?!?

argh. but it is fun. and getting the skills and flinging oneself around a singletrack is great. and all the rides without significant smashes are excellent. it’s just a shame i am not very good/skilled at anything except falling off. oh well. that is something i seem to be uniquely good at. ha.

so, with this post, i might start the injury count. it starts at three, with the sternum and smashed shin taking line honours, and then today’s accident following suit. hopefully i won’t add to it too often, but i have always been uncoordinated, so i am a little worried that the numbers will go up quicker than i want them to.

i’m going to spend a bit more time on the roadie over the next few weeks. i have a couple of sprint triathlons coming up in march, before the mont24hour. and while i need to focus on my mtb riding for that, i think i will benefit from a few weeks away from the mountain bike. although, chances are i will still find time to hit the trails every so often.

cycling trivialities – update

i have not been on the roadie in a couple of weeks, and today i felt every part of that absence. i felt slow and heavy-limbed, with breath that pushed unwillingly from my lungs. the ghost ran beautifully (must be those clean cogs and chain), but i did not. although my times were looking pretty ok.

the ride got cut a little short when i found the unknown rider wandering along the fernleigh on his way back from a glenrock ride with the boys. his rear tubeless tyre (check out his blog on DIY tyre sealant if you are interested) had a massive gash in the side wall, and was out for the count. we slowly made it home from there, part through walking, part through coasting. it was a slightly lower energy way to finish the ride, but really nice.

especially because the unknown rider was detailing his adventures to me (borrowing pumps from various cyclists around the grock) and he mentioned that he ran into a group of riders with a couple of girls in the group. and not only had all of them heard about the chicks’ rides, but one of them was even stopped by someone in the middle of glenrock telling them about it. now, i have been hassling everyone i bump into near the gate about the group, and i have occasionally yelled at strange girls to find us on the internet as they whiz by on the trails, but i don’t think i have stopped anyone mid-ride to promote us. so i guess some of you have been getting the word out too, which is awesome.

cycling trivialities

earlier this week, i got up to go for an early morning road ride when i discovered my roadie had a flat. it’s only the second flat on that bike, and laziness (and the time of day that i discovered it) meant i just left it until i had a bit more time for repairs.

that turned out to be this morning, so i got up and changed my tyre in readiness for a ride. but as i was popping my wheel back on the bike, i thought that maybe i should lube my chain. and that if i was lubing it, i might as well clean it first. so my quick tyre change turned into an overall grease and oil change too. i took my trusty toothbrush and cleaned my chain and cogs until they shined. the ghost never looked so pretty.

anyway, the reason i am posting about this is because it’s actually the first time i have ever given my bike a real service. usually the unknown rider does it for me. and given how many women who attended the first ride last week mentioned that they had to pester their husbands and partners to get their bikes in working order before they could come, it’s clear that i am not the only one who hasn’t had the confidence or the knowledge to properly look after my bike.

it’s a pretty empowering feeling, being able to just do even simple bike mechanics. so over the next few weeks i might try to do a couple of little photo blogs on different bits and pieces you can do to look after your bike, so that maybe a few other girls will get out and give it a go too.

right. now out to ride this sparkly clean bike.