Monday, November 26, 2012

We're mountain people!

Ale: “Hey, Michael, why aren’t my gears working? I’m pedaling but the bike isn’t responding.” [feet moving in fast circles as the bike slows down while going up a hill]
Michael: “That’s because your wheels are spinning fast enough going into the hill that you need to switch into a lower gear.”
Ale: “Oh, that makes sense.” [bike and Ale topple to the side due to lack of momentum going up said hill]
Michael: [laughs, shakes head, mutters something about intelligence]


Ale: “Hey, Michael, we’re mountain people!” [big cheesey grin on face while rounding a corner on the trail and then flying down a rocky part through two trees]
Michael and Cathy: [doubled over in pain from laughing]

In addition to dominating some turkey, three types of dressing, and old-fashioned southern pecan pie, this past weekend was spent dominating mind and body while learning new skills on a mountain bike.

And, acting like a mobile comedy show for the enjoyment of my brother, Michael, and cousin, Cathy.

We had some fun this past weekend at Blankets Creek, Michael’s “home” riding spot in Canton, GA.

Photo of my brother, Michael, being awesome. Photo credit: Chad Oliver
There is something incredible about flying down mountains at speed, and having to trust your body to handle the bumps and maneuvering around trees, and convincing your legs to keep going even though it feels like your quads are about to burn out. This is the combination of awesome that keeps me riding a snowboard, although in the absence of snow, throwing on some chamois (shammy) pants and hopping on a bike to then ride up and down narrow trails is an appropriate non-snow substitute. I also witnessed my brother in his element, on his trails. Watching his intensity on the bike, and the air he was able to catch in the close trail quarters, was amazing.

My brother is a pretty amazing person overall. His skill level on a mountain bike has progressed significantly over the past few years, and he even was featured in FreeHub Magazine’s coverage of the SORBA group. He also is an amazing coach, and focused in on the areas where my cousin, Cathy, and I needed some help in order to better handle the trail.  By the end of our second ride at Blankets, Cathy and I were making tight turns, catching a few centimeters of air, and loving life, and all of this was due to Michael’s patience in teaching us some skills (and developing a ridiculous catalog of insider jokes along the way…).

Photo of Michael being awesome, again. This one appeared in
FreeHub Magazine. Photo credit: Chad Oliver
Mountain biking is incredible. Your legs burn, heart races while moving through trees and around rocks at speed.

I’m ready for the snow, though. They fired up the snow guns in PA over the weekend, and my legs are itching to strap into my board.

And here's a picture of that old-fashioned southern pecan pie that I made for Thanksgiving dessert (the annual tradition!). 540 calories of pure non-nutritional value per slice...well, maybe the natural fats from the pecans are good for something :) The biking helped burn some of those calories, and it's back to Phase 3 today...

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