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It's just the Beginning ...

by clairestevens — last modified 2008-04-07 22:53
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The beautiful world of knobbly tires, trees, mud .... sticks, scrapes .. and big grins!

Hey Bikers,

Welcome to my first blog ever. What to say?? (not usually a problem for me at all...)

I love riding my bike. At the moment, I have this thing where whenever I go out on the mountain bike (a beautiful little Yeti ASR) I can't wait to get back out on it again. There is nothing better than a bit of flowing single track and the smell of the trees .... mmm .. - thinking about it while living in the stinky city makes me want to ride right now!

I have only been riding MTB for just over 18mths. It all started in Alice Springs where any rider in town gets soon gets the message that the hills in Alice are only of the dirt variety and the terrain too amazing to appreciate from the roadside saddle only. After trying to make the message clear that I was a roadie, I was soon 'talked to' by the local riders, given a special deal at the bike shop and whisked away over rocks and dirt (not many logs there) on my first mountain bike. The first ride was a blast until disaster struck - side wall tear, butt covered in the Alice prickles, I ran after the 'girls evening ride' as my bike was no longer rideable. The tear was so big a tube wouldn't stay in, let alone inflated. I had run to because I did'nt know my way home and had to keep up with the riders (lucky they were going slow for me).

NB. Don't jump to conclusions from this ... I don't run. I had to run because I didn't want to get lost or hold up my new MTB riding buddies ... unnecessary running is evil.

Despite the unlucky start, mountain biking was going well and on my ... fourth time out on the mountain bike, I was entered in the Alice Springs 12 hour with three other girls. We were having a great time and doing pretty well - mostly thanks to my mate Nicole and her amazing ability to float over every bump and whip around switchbacks at amazing speed - I soon learnt that was what real mountain bike riders do (I'm still not one). On my third lap I got pushed off the bike by some fierce little trail troll and rolled down the side of a hill. I got up, the inevitable Alice prickles were everywhere, but all else was fine... until I went to walk .. I had a stick stuck in the side of my knee and it was clearly in deep. How did that happen? We never figured out how I fell, or how the stick got there...

I recovered after a bit of surgery and a few weeks. Road racing was going well in Alice. We'd had a few track events too. The crash had knocked all confidence out of me (as they do) and I wasn't getting better on the mountain bike. I started training and practicing my skills on my own in the early morning (the road bike still perched up against a table in my room, wondering what it had done to deserve being given the silent treatment). I am not sure that I am made to ride mountain bikes ... I got done by another, bigger stick. I balked on a little incline after a corner, so went back to try it again and lost control (in slow motion) and peddled into a mulga bush. It promptly showed its displeasure at being ridden at and stabbed one of its dead branches into my lower leg. Seven days in hospital. No more riding in Alice :(

Heaps has happened since then and I think I am getting better at steering and stuff!

While in Alice I was not only suckered into the wonderful world of knobbly tires, but to enter into a big race in Canada - I had to get off the training wheels! .. more about that another time.

This weekend I return to the road. I am off to Coleraine to do the Tour of the Southern Grampians. Those fast girls are going to kill me ... but I'll be smiling all the way (almost) :)

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