Confessions of a Reluctant Mountain Biker
by Kahne Parsons
It was a dark and rainy night .
Okay, it wasntjust an ordinary July afternoon in Tanners 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, wont 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 bikea 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. Nopenever 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 Tanners 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-actualthats a word Id like to introduce into the English languagesince 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 cheersor bottoms upand see you on the m-trails.
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.
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
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.
GET HIP !
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
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).
For those who love Buffalos: