The Official Newsletter of the Tyler Bicycle Club
Vol. 20, No. 9
September 2002

“Confessions of a Reluctant Mountain Biker”
by Kahne Parsons

It was a dark and rainy night….

Okay, it wasn’t—just an ordinary July afternoon in Tanner’s bike shop. I had just gotten my first part-time job in Tyler, and I guess working in an office full of women, the idea of losing some weight gained a larger (!) appeal. A bike seemed a way to “reward” myself with a “present” and give myself a way to exercise and lose weight. A part-time job, however, won’t buy much, so I wanted versatility, practicality. Sport set me up with a decent bike with knobbies but no front suspension. It took me three months to pay it off, but I finally bought myself a bike—a mountain bike.

I rode that bike for a year on the roads around my neighborhood. I lost 40 pounds, and began to dream one day of riding with the Famous (or infamous, Patsy?) Tyler Bicycle Club. Last June, I bravely took my “mountie” to Faulkner Park to ride with the Club. As I expected, the place was full of expensive road machines, but I went anyway. Galen and Roger Singleton rode with me, and Roger pronounced the “pilgrim” had done pretty good to keep up.

Everyone was shocked I hadnít been out to Tyler State Park, since they assumed I was an off-roader. Nope—never had. But with so many questions, I finally went out to try. By now, Sport had fixed me up with clipless pedals, so I was ready to rock and roll. Rock. Roll. Oy….

When I envisioned “trails,” I had summoned wide, leafy avenues capable of accommodating a small truck. It didnít take me long to learn differently. Two falls and several scrapes later, I was pushing that bike back up the hill, and drove it straight to Tanner’s and told them to put slicks on the wheels as I never intended to ride off road again.

Not long after, I bought a road bike, and the “mountie” gathered dust. But then came Mr. Walker, the Mountain Bike King, and assurances that I  would just “love” riding the trails once I learned how. After ten minutes with him, I did not love it. (Word to beginners: donít go out first time with someone whose idea of fixing a bad back is to slam over backwards a few times to “knock things loose.” Also donít let them start you out on C loop!) Luckily, I went out with Galen and Eric a while later, and Galen mothered me over “EZ” loop and later, even “A” trail.

Cooler weather moved in, and road riding after Thanksgiving became increasingly difficult. Riding in the woods gained a certain level of attraction. I also did my patriotic bit for club and country by participating in the Gnarly Dog Time Trials, and as painful as that was, the fact that (a) Eric was standing there where A and B diverge smiling encouragement, and (b) I was assured of some reward by being the only woman in my category and age group (!). Finally, there was the prospect that riding the “mountie” would keep me strong for the return of road season.

…and danged if I wasnít stronger on the roads when Freeze Your Fanny rolled around! So I felt the pain was somewhat justified, and I should keep it up.

…which leads me to further explanation of what a Reluctant Mountain Biker describes as “pain”: for the RMB, “pain” is not a broken arm or a lacerated leg, but more the constant fear of such. Every time that front wheel hit a rock or root, my heart stopped for a second with the prospect of imminent death. (Really.) And that happens at least three times, minimum, per ride. Imagine my consternation that first time when, staggered by a rutted, winding downhill route, my significant other offered as advice: “Just donít think about it.” Excuse me? “How can I NOT think?” I responded. “I think for a living!” Of course, he was right. I learned over time that if you have to think about it, youíre sunk. That doesnít obviate what should be an obvious point: for RMBs, not thinking is fairly difficult. (So what does that say about the rock hounds?!!) 

Thus, for this RMB, the pain is more psychic than physical. 

(Physical-actual—that’s a word I’d like to introduce into the English language—since to overthinkers, the difference between physical and psychic is very slim.) So will I continue riding the trails? Absolutely. Will I always enjoy it?

Hmmm. All I can do is repeat something I said to Eric: itís all relative. For me, mountain biking is like drinking: if I donít feel good when I start, it ainít gonna make me feel any better! So cheers—or bottoms up—and see you on the m-trails.  

By Eric Williams

Well, here we are again. HHH is history for 2002, and in a lot of riders minds, the end of another riding season. I'm sure that a lot of riders from around the state train specifically for Wichita Falls, so that they can complete the 100 miles without having a heat stroke. However, I would like to encourage all of you to keep riding for we have a lot of daylight left and a lot of warm weather until winter time. One of the benefits that we have living in this part of the country is our long riding season, so, let's take advantage of it.

Let me encourage you to look at our web page at www.TylerBicycleClub.com and check out some of the excellent tours for September and October.
If you want to know who else in the club may be attending a specific tour, post your inquiry on topica. If we donít support these tours, the local communities and clubs canít afford to host them. Also, our annual “True Grit Bicycle Tour” in Arkansas and Oklahoma is scheduled for October 5.
This ride is one of the highlights of my riding season, and if you could talk yourself into going, Iëm sure it would be one of yours, too. If you want to know more about it check it out on our web site or else give me a call.

Last, and far from least, is the annual “St. Jude” ride that we do on the third Saturday in October (October 19). We use this ride to Hawkins as a fund raiser for the kids of St. Jude Childrenís Research Hospital. Each year, TBC has consistently raised over $1,000.00 to support St. Jude in
its effort to find cures for catastrophic childhood diseases. Having had a brother who died of leukemia, I understand that this effort is an investment in our own families and in the families of our friends and neighbors. So, please join us.

See you on the road, and remember to finish strong. Maybe somebody can then talk you into taking up mountain biking for the not-so-cold winter months. 

Letters to the Editor

Cutting edge Bikes and Gear is the one thing Tyler Simpson has grown to love and continues to sell. Eating it one too many times on motor cross bikes gave him his bad hip and he then took up racing Mountain Bikes. 

The old hip surgery in 1978 was cutting edge at the time but got to the point were he lost range of motion to the point of needing a cane to walk. He could ride the mountain bike pretty good for not being able to walk. He has been true to the sport and rode his bike up till he went in to surgery. 

The hip replacement he chose is cutting edge and he is part of research project. It is a metal on metal resurfacing; where they cut off the femoral head and replace it with a metal ball and resurface the hip capsule. It has been a hard choice of taking the research hip because Insurance doesn't pay but a no brainier when knowing that hip will allow him to get back on the bike.

He shall ride again yet proceed with caution when mountain biking because he has to protect the component but look out when it comes to road riding. He feels good enough to ride but the DR has the final call and says he will look at him in 8 weeks to see if it's all intact for pushing cranks.   --Laurie Simpson

TBC Members In the News…..

“A modest Man by any name….

Call him a hero. Call him a Survivor. Call him a great athlete.

But never ask Tylerís Olin Jackson if he is any of the three.”… Modest for the most modest of men, Jackson will ride this weekend in the 

Hotter ‘H Hell 100 in Wichita Falls — a ride he has completed several times before….Such read a recent (08-23-02) Tyler newspaper article by Shane Stark. Thanks to Olin for setting an example others may follow for fitness and a positive outlook in battling and surviving illness (cancer).

Joe Canal’s Mother (who lived in Dallas) recently died. Our sincere condolences to Joe and his family.

For those who love Buffalos: 
“When the chips are down, the 
buffalo is empty”...Spike 


Related Link