Friday, March 16, 2012

Dirt Fest Part One - I am not, and never will be a mountain bike rider.

A post by Carla

So quite a while ago Beck and I decided we needed a challenge of the physical variety….a goal to work towards.  Neither of us are particularly good runners. Triathlons seemed too scary, and there was no team sport we could agree on, so we decided, giving special consideration to Becks love of getting dirty, to do an adventure race.  Yes yes okay looking back it may have been a little crazy (I blame one too many protein shakes), but once we had made up our minds there was no going back.  We just needed to find an event, choose some team mates, and tell them that they were going to do it with us (non-negotiable participation……that’s the way we like it).

We found a great event, Dirt Fest, which seemed a good taster.  It had events of varying lengths to suit all members of the team and most importantly, it had mud.  Accommodation and flights were booked….it was time to begin training.

Now as I hadn’t owned a bike since a pink number I got in my pre-teen years we had to go bike shopping.  Thanks to The Machine’s research and negotiations, I ended up with a very tidy WSD dually.  In normal person speak, that means a Mountain Bike [MTB] with a design specific to women, and with suspension on the front AND back.
My Trek, before it go ridden obviously - look how clean it is !
Now despite numerous spin classes over the last year, I have only ridden a real bike outdoors twice in the last 15 years.  Once during an Easter holiday 2009, and once in ‘the good old days’ before children when we couldn’t afford a hire car and so decided to rent a bike and ride around Tuscany.  It sounds romantic but let me remind you that there are lots of HILLS in Tuscany, people……big steep sweaty breathless hills.  Anyway, I digress.

So the first time we took the bike out for a spin, The Machine suggested we go up to a well known MTB reserve – Kate Reed, which in hindsight wasn’t the best of ideas as I had no idea about how the gears on my bike worked and spent the majority of the time holding on for dear life.

The second ride I went on was with Beck and The Machine.  We decided to stick to bike paths which was nice, but we were gone for 90 minutes and by the time we got home, it took me an hour to regain sensation in my buttocks.  My ischial tuberosities have never been the same since.

Our third ride was again to tackle Kate Reed reserve.  I opted to follow the Machine, Beck and Beck’s husband.  There were a few tense moments when The Machine (oldest child) nominated himself the leader and Beck (only child) made it clear that she was going to be no ones b*tch, but I hung out 500m behind and let them fight it out. 

Now it was during this ride at Kate Reed Reserve that I decided that I am not, and will never be a mountain biker.  My brain is simply too small to negotiate terrain, tracks, gears, branches, tree stumps, rocks, and brakes simultaneously.  Going uphill, I can do (thanks spin class).  Going flat I can do.  Mud and puddles, I can cope with.  But going downhill, down a teeny weeny track as fast as possible is just not my cup of tea.  I like my healthy functional body thank you very much and I am going to do whatever it takes to prevent cuts, grazes, bruises and fractures. There were two points on the track where it seemed physically impossible for me and my bike to pass through the gap between trees at the same time let alone at speed and down a hill.  To be honest, I’m not really sure that we were even on a designated MTB track, I think it was just the path taken by the echidna we saw, where it had flattened the grass a bit. 

I did learn a very important lesson though.  As I still had my heart rate monitor on from my personal training session that morning, I discovered that Mountain bike riding burns a lot of calories.  Not through exertion but through sheer freaking fear.  Forget putting in hours of cardio….I think I might start a new trend - ‘The horror movie/Extreme Sports diet’.  Think it will catch on?
Know why I'm smiling?  Because it is over that's why!

1 comment:

  1. Ha! You're a great story teller Carla. MTBing is Awesome (yes, it has a capital A!)

    I'll be down your way in October for an adventure race at Freycinet :) Can't wait!

    I'm eagerly awaiting the race part of your story.

    Amanda (from Phat Camp)


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