This. photo: Stefan Haworth

Reassessment

Reassessment

by / / 76 posts

Maybe it’s the milestone of aging that I recently reached. It could be an awareness of the unique foibles of this sport/activity/pastime that I practice. Possibly, I just woke up one day and realised that this is a weird thing for a middle-aged man to be doing. The time for reassessment hit me, involuntarily and without warning. And I’m in a bind over it.

I’m sure I’m not the only one here who is over half a century old… of course the big man Gianni is a few more years advanced than I, and nothing seems to have phased his resolve to continue doing what he has done for so long. Like a priest who suddenly thinks that maybe this whole God thing is a crock of shite, I too am ruminating on the concept of Cycling and what it actually is to me, what it provides for me, and how it affects my everyday life. Thing is, my everyday life is 100% Cycling.

Over the summer, I rode my mountain bike a lot more and my road bikes a lot less. There were some outside factors affecting my decision, if it actually was a decision. The lack of a Keepers Tour meant that my previous two summers of avoiding the dirt through fear of injury was no longer a concern. A new bike that was just a total blast to ride meant that it was more often than not the one I reached for when trawling the shed for a steed on any given day. And the requirement, nay, duty, nay, obligation… oh fuck it, the desire to Look Fantastic was waning inside me. Not that I shirked my responsibility in this department, after all, I am not a savage.

When it came time for the inevitable road FRBs after weeks of dirty indulgence, The Mirror was sending me mixed signals. Everything was perfect kit-wise, but underneath the cloak things were decidedly less than neat and trim. Was I becoming a parody of everything I stood for, the very person whom The Rules was meant to be guiding? I started to get if not an understanding, then an empathy with the general population who sees not a late 40s guy in better shape than they, but a shaved-legged, sweaty poser clomping around a café in ballet shoes and clad in a thin layer plastered in logos that leaves way too little to the imagination. I was becoming the guy I hated.

So much so that I began thinking of giving it away. Not Cycling per se, but the Lycra, the cafés, the duelling with tonnes of metal piloted by those who, if given the chance, would gladly run us right over just so they can make it to the supermarket 15 seconds quicker. It seemed that mountain biking, even though there are more variables in terrain to catch you off guard, more obstacles placed in front and all around you waiting to rip skin from bone or even shatter those very bones, was a far safer option. And while not really of the opinion that mountain bikers can wear whatever the hell we want (once again, not savages), at least there is a modicum of modesty afforded by baggy shorts, loose(r) fitting tops and shoes you can actually walk in. Hell, the thought of actually growing my leg hair back seemed appealing.

But not for long. Luckily, I have a good support group of riding friends, who share my passion for both tarmac and dirt. They know how much the tradition, the purity of the road means to me, and rather than let me concede defeat, encouraged me to continue to fight the good fight. The turning point came last night, when our regular Tuesday after-work ride was being discussed throughout the day by email. Who’s in, who’s out, why? I had an overwhelming proclivity that a bunch of guys who predominantly wear black, even in the dark of a winter’s evening, choosing to do battle with peak-hour traffic for the simple pleasure of riding a bike seemed a little, well, crazy. They could’ve belittled me, questioned my manhood, or even outright insulted me, but a few words of encouragement, underpinned with empathy of my thought processes, helped me realise that this is just what we do. So we did it.

And it was good.

So very good, that I wanted to do it again today, something that has been weeks absent. Ok, I went for a mountain bike ride, solo, but the joy of being on my bike was the same as I felt last night, last month, last year. And as I reached the top of the peak, a group of different friends were there, almost by some twist of fate handed down from Mount Velomis. We descended together, and while they knew nothing of the inner demons that I was slaying on the way down, they were well aware of just how much fun I, we, were having.

Never forget the reason we ride. The answer is in the question.

// Defining Moments // La Vie Velominatus // Mountain Biking

  1. That Sir, is a ripper read !

    Dodged a bullet there I reckon.

    Give up road riding, ffft, who were you trying to kid.

    Next you’ll be strapping canvas bags made by some “bike bag dude” to your touring bike. Oh the shame.   (tongue inserted firmly in cheek)

  2. Mtn Biking is a friggen blast. I love it. And I have a blast w/the local XC race scene. So much more accessible than finding road races. Mtn Bikes are always needing cleaned or fixed. A stick in my rear derailler the other day meant a long slow ride out, a new derailler, and legs loaded with effects of poison ivy as I’d spend too much time sitting on a dead log trying to at least get something working to get out of woods. Mtn biking happens at local parks, state parks and national parks. It’s a cool vibe. It’s a damn good winter sport here in the deep south. Summer time in the deep south brings out rattle headed copper moccasins. And I dread the day I hit one crossing a trail I’m flying down. I’ve seen no-shoulders hit by cars and they whip up in the air and thrash around. And once ya see a snake on the trail, for the rest of the ride every stick ya see is a snake. This SOB must just ate and he wouldn’t move for me. That big ‘ol viper head gives me the willies

  3. @wilburrox and btw ya do wanna keep your legs shaved when mtn biking ’cause otherwise the tics simply run up ’em in to the nethers so much easier…

  4. @wilburrox

    Nice viper.

  5. Nicely done. Although it can be distressing, removing the armor to reflect and reassess is necessary to avoid becoming dogmatic and stale. And cheers to support groups!

  6. @Brett

    Hell, the thought of actually growing my leg hair back seemed appealing.

    The longer I have my legs hairless (I don’t shave…) the more the look of hairy legs repulses me. Mate who’s out of town at the moment, who refuses to shave, decided to send me a picture of his hubbard tattoo. Frankly I never got as far as seeing that tat for being repulsed by the masses of black curly hair.

    I like to think by the time I can no longer ride, the hairs have given up growing back and all will be well. I don’t want to go back to that for more reasons that looks!

  7. @wiscot

    Marvelous piece and really hit a nerve. I just hit the big 5-0 last year and am as committed (if not more so than ever) to the bike – or 6 bikes as the case may be. I too have reflected on age, clothing, shaving and expenditures but when I can do a ride like last night on a beautiful summer’s eve here in WI, on lovely roads and feeling fit enough to go hard but choose not to, but to ride for the sheer pleasure of it, I know my choices are sound. I can’t make choices for others, but I can for me and being a cyclist for me is right.

    And I thought you were just a historian!  Right on, Man!!

  8. Once again Bretto, you said a mouthful. That is some nice writing, a-hole. Am I the only one around here writing about pedal wrenches, FFS?

    Like Rob, I’ve been at this for a long time. Though I debate about classifying myself as an athlete, cycling has always kept me from eating or drinking too much, from getting too unfit in the winter. It is the only sport I have any ability at and that is because cycling demands stubbornness, and not much else. When my knee seemed truly fucked and I had to contemplate not being a cyclist, that was bad. There was no answer to that question. Or no question to that answer. Whatever Brett just said.

  9. A fine write up @brett. Kudos on finding a balance between disciplines and choosing to fight on

  10. Quite an excellent post Brett, thank you.

    As one who is nearing the half century mark myself, and having spent much of my riding life on the dirt, I’ve found that the juxtaposition of road, cross and mountain bikes has resulted in bit of a symbiotic relationship between the three (or more precisely between MTB/Cross and Road) where the lesser ridden two bikes at any given time help to keep the pedals turning on whatever bike is the main ride for the moment.

    I.e.: During the height of the local road racing season in summer when riding tarmac can become a chore, hopping on the MTB or Crosser acts like an elixir not only for the legs but for the soul. Conversely, during the colder winter months during CX season, heading out for a nice long road ride can help to keep my head on straight and my heart full come race day.

    And mountain? Well mountain seems to always be reserved primarily for fun… while I do dabble in some of the local races, it’s never been as serious for me and so the majority of my MTB rides tend to be about exploration and exhilaration…”making the unknown known” as it were.

    The Road is still where it all starts and ends for me – always has been, but the lure of the trail continues to pull me out of my lycra (and into some very “unbaggy” baggies) on the regular, and always it would seem at just the time I need it most.

    Cheers.

  11. Middle Age!?! HA!!!!! Yeah right. If you’re gonna live to be 200.

  12. @Brett.  Great Article.  Your question was answered before you even consulted your friends.  That moment you looked in the mirror and saw excess written all over your body you knew deep down that MTB would not be enough.  If you had moved in to the spring looking and feeling awesome, you may well have had a point, but there is no substitute for the awesome calorie burning capacity of the road.

    We have always sought to recognise that comparing MTB and Road Riding is futile.  They may share 2 wheels but that is where it ends.  The culture, character and nature of the disciplines are completely different and somehow I doubt you would find souplesse on a MTB and without those moments, your soul would be lost.

    Great that the spirit of the prophet descended  on you, the mists cleared, and you found your way back on to the path.

    A-Merckx!

  13. Everything this article says echoes for me but for different reasons. I came to cycling later in life, after a hip replacement in my early fifties, and after half a life [optimism bias I think there maybe] of other sports and dipping in and out of riding. And how I regret not having found the Way earlier [everything worthwhile I know, more or less, is from you guys by the way, so thank you]. I’ll never race, never win, but so what? I’ve found something so purely joyful, thrilling and satisfying it doesn’t matter. Sure, I compete against myself true – the  improvement on average speed, the development of technique, the getting up climbs I had to walk at the beginning. It’s a great place to be. More. The ride’s become a moving meditation, a place to seek oblivion in the Work, a repair for the stresses of life, a place to rebuild and rebalance, and a place to grimace with the effort and then spread a grin on my face, because life really is worth living.

    So to you who’ve had this all your time on this mortal coil, I’d say this: you don’t know what you’re not missing, but will if you give up.

    There’s a guy I meet occasionally on the backroads: he’s in his late seventies, the jersey’s a bit more relaxed than in his racing days [he won quite a few national races in England back in the day], he goes slower these days, but he’s still covering hundreds of kilometres a week, and though he’d never heard of this place, boy is he rule compliant. I asked him once if he’d ever thought of stopping. He looked at me like I was quite, utterly mad, then said –

    Biking. Breathing. Same.

  14. Wow.  Fantastic article.  Great  commentary.

    Not 50 yet , but it’s creeping up faster and faster.  At this point in life I do ponder why I love to ride so much.  I’m not a racer, never have been.  I’m  one of  those “soul surfer” cyclist types.  Other than my beautiful velomiwife,  cycling and bicycles have been one of my great love affairs.

    A year and a half ago, on one of my daily commutes( I’m a rabid commuter), I was hit not by the man with the hammer but by the man with the truck.   Two broken arms, massive concussion, emergency surgery  to repair shattered wrists, 8,000 dollars of hardware keeping right hand connected to the rest of my arm.  During the initial recovery process, I had a lot of timr to ponder deep thoughts.  Was  it all worth it?  Fucking A right it was.

    I never was truly aware how much I loved cycling till it was taken away. You never miss the water till the well goes dry and all.   At this point, I am stronger than I ever was before  I was hit.  Whenever I ride, and that is as often as possible, I am acutely aware of what a gift it is just to be able to ride at all.

    I ride for countless reasons and I could go on ad ifinitum, but I won’t, ’cause that would be boring .  Suffice it to say,  Live to ride, ride to live.

    Thats my motto and I’m sticking with it.

  15. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Brett. I too have pondered the prospect of taking to the dirt. I came back to the road after many years of intermittent MTB activity. The lure of The Road has won, for now. Modern cycles and all the fantastic kit easily outweigh the challenge of Traffic! I have stayed sharp and Traffic savvy thanks to being able to benefit from being a multi-disciplinary road user. That way I can take my place on The Road with confidence and style befitting an Older Cyclist. Not for me the excesses of the tightest lycra but I can still look good on The Road and command my space. Of course the question: MTB or Road Bike is is easily answered. The number of bikes we should own = N+1 , just make sure that N includes machines for Road and Dirt!

  16. Nice one Brett. Similar age here so I gets it as well. The other thing that brings this home is the fact that I watch my father line up to race “C” grade before me each week. Knee replaced 2 years ago, but still finishing top 10 most weeks. He turned 70 this year and doesn’t look like giving it up either. The smile he has at the end of each race/ride sums it all up for me.

  17. @All

    I’d love to address each and every one of your posts individually, such are the great thoughts put forward by you all. It really warms the heart of my cockles to be a part of such a switched on community. This is why I ride, and will do so until a recumbent is the only option. Then I’ll ride that fucker too.

    Thank you. All of you.

    *Special mention @barracuda for the Bike Bag Dude reference!

  18. @gettingthere Wonderful, poetic post. Appropriate for the equally so article. Thank you and thanks Brett.

  19. @brett

    This is why I ride, and will do so until a recumbent is the only option. Then I’ll ride that fucker too.

    This ^ and great thoughts In the article. It strikes me that part of your deal is that 100% of your life is the bike where most of us it is only a small %. I can’t imagine working and playing at the same thing in life. Meaning that part of the joy of life is change, both physically and mentally.

    Aways, when I ride big miles for long stretches, a summer of racing, training for a goal a year away the following season, year, I need to do something totally different. Because there never is a question of not riding in some form, it becomes a different kind of bike. The long and the short, for me there is no bad bike. Mountain, fixed on or off the track, little commuter and road they are all good and when I go too long on one then I can’t wait to get back with another.

    So I read your mid life questioning more as not a middle aged wondering why am I doing a kids activity but man, I need a break/change.

    Glad you sorted it because you would be missed!

  20. @Kyle

    When my VMH asks how I have the energy to do so much, I tell her I have the energy because I do so much.

    There is so much truth in this simple phrase.

  21. Brett, I was a product of this very thing. I discovered cycling in my early 20’s, got good at it pretty quickly and next thing I knew I was a Cat II, close to Cat I. The training dialed way up as I hoped to get on the national stage. I’d cooked through a number of lady friends who saw racing as a unique, interesting sport at first, but after a number of months where Friday and Saturday nights were spent doing nothing (don’t stand when you can sit, or better lie down, right?) because there was the big race the next day, burned out. Eventually, it burned me out too. One day I came home and got another “that fucking bike” lecture, I hung my Ritchey on it’s hooks in the shop and didn’t really ride again for 10 years. My teammates were dismayed, as I’d been in the top 10 in 2 State Championships, and when I hung it up was way stronger than I’d ever been, so I’ll now never know if I could have made it to The Big Show.

    You’re lucky that your friends made you see the light.

  22. Got a Friday morning ride at 7:45 lined up with two mates. Not a bad way to kick off the weekend! D-Day ride, my birthday falls on the weekend, can’t beat that, and parties going on both Friday and Saturday.

    Sometimes I enjoy the peace of a solo ride, but it’s also nice to ride with pals sometimes. I can easily run my mouth for a few hours, forget I’m even pedaling, and then I’m home and have gotten in some fun KMs.

    Yes! Lots of great comments rolling in on this one. Glad to hear the stories of some of you who are a bit older, but still loving the hell out of riding bikes.

  23. That’s about all of it. It doesn’t matter what you ride as long as your riding

  24. @brett

    @All

    I’d love to address each and every one of your posts individually, such are the great thoughts put forward by you all. It really warms the heart of my cockles to be a part of such a switched on community. This is why I ride, and will do so until a recumbent is the only option. Then I’ll ride that fucker too.

    Thank you. All of you.

    *Special mention @barracuda for the Bike Bag Dude reference!

    A work colleague has several pieces of BBD product for his Titanium Fat Bike.   I own a T shirt due to connection.  Lucky eh !     Bloody good gear though !

  25. Beautifully written Brett, thanks.

    Perhaps in your nadir of darkness you may have found enlightenment regarding The Rules and The Purpose.  The Rules are just enablers for the journey, not a destination in themselves.  Hold them up as the destination and they rightly will appear hollow.  Use them to enhance the journey instead.  Of course, ignore the ones that don’t suit you, we all do……..

  26. Niece piece.  I’ve been riding less over the last six months or so, but not really from lack of desire, just too much other stuff getting in the way, and a horrendous run of flats.  I think I flatted about 10 rides in a row, on 4 different bikes at one stage.   I have really suffered from the lack too, with my mental state going off and struggling with weight and energy levels.  I know that riding more will fix all that.

  27. A welll thought through, nicely written attempt to justify a flawed baseline.

    Mounrain biking is clearly better.  Just look at the picture a the top. Nature, solitude, dirt. What more could you want? Not only an absence of road-rash inducing tarmac, but a complete lack of cars, buses, trains, and starbucks.

    Evoking the carefree dsys of our childhood, playing in the dirt, with no other requirement than to be home before the street lighrs come on.

    No need to shave your legs in some vanity oriented attempt to make the ride more interesting.

    There’s probably less Rules too.

    Possibly

  28. @Days

    A welll thought through, nicely written attempt to justify a flawed baseline.

    Mounrain biking is clearly better. Just look at the picture a the top. Nature, solitude, dirt. What more could you want? Not only an absence of road-rash inducing tarmac, but a complete lack of cars, buses, trains, and starbucks.

    Evoking the carefree dsys of our childhood, playing in the dirt, with no other requirement than to be home before the street lighrs come on.

    No need to shave your legs in some vanity oriented attempt to make the ride more interesting.

    There’s probably less Rules too.

    Possibly

    The road cyclist can have nature  and solitude too – riding through the lanes and over the hills we see the forest not just the trees. Plus we can stay out after dark.

    And we know that it should be ‘fewer’ Rules, although we’re happy with the number we have thank you.

    While I was out on the group ride this morning I was thinking about this article and the things I love about cycling on the road. Being able to ride up to someone and chat to them for a while and when things get serious riding through and off in a well-drilled and well-oiled machine.

    Maybe I will have a moment of doubt one day – I’m of a similar age – but I think it would be if another sport competed for my attentions, not a different type of cycling.

  29. Some of your best work right there, Brett. Chapeau.

  30. Fine piece brett. I’m approaching 60, cycling has been a part of my life for nearly 40 of those. It’s a way of life. I’m a roadie to my soul. I’m all for anyone cycling, any way you like it, as long as you’re not being stupid. I have a mountain bike, don’t use it much. But I might, and I can. I look forward to having more time to ride. Age is state of mind.

  31. @Days

    A welll thought through, nicely written attempt to justify a flawed baseline.

    Mounrain biking is clearly better. Just look at the picture a the top. Nature, solitude, dirt. What more could you want? Not only an absence of road-rash inducing tarmac, but a complete lack of cars, buses, trains, and starbucks.

    Evoking the carefree dsys of our childhood, playing in the dirt, with no other requirement than to be home before the street lighrs come on.

    No need to shave your legs in some vanity oriented attempt to make the ride more interesting.

    There’s probably less Rules too.

    Possibly

    Not better, different.

    Plenty of us live in places where you can ride on the road with a lack of cars, buses, trains, and Starbucks. 15-20 minutes from my house, I’m in farm country with very little traffic. Over Memorial Day weekend, I did about 90kms up in the northwoods of Wisconsin. I can count on one hand the number of cars that I saw, and believe me, there was plenty of nature and solitude.

    Personally, I don’t care what your preferred riding surface or style is. Whether it’s road or mountain or track, or just taking the cruiser down to the coffee shop. There is beauty in all forms of riding if you choose to see it, and there shouldn’t be a competition about which is “better”.

    To paraphrase many who have come before me: Just ride your fucking bike.

  32. Great read! I too am a bit North of 50. I’ve been racing MTB for a few years, and as much as I enjoy riding off road, I cannot forsake the road. There’s nothing like a hammer fest in a big group, whether pushing the pace when I’m in shape or spit out the back when I’m not, it’s always good.

  33. @KW

    Personally, I don’t care what your preferred riding surface or style is. Whether it’s road or mountain or track, or just taking the cruiser down to the coffee shop. There is beauty in all forms of riding if you choose to see it, and there shouldn’t be a competition about which is “better”.

    This.

  34. @Days

    A welll thought through, nicely written attempt to justify a flawed baseline.

    Mounrain biking is clearly better. Just look at the picture a the top. Nature, solitude, dirt. What more could you want? Not only an absence of road-rash inducing tarmac, but a complete lack of cars, buses, trains, and starbucks.

    Evoking the carefree dsys of our childhood, playing in the dirt, with no other requirement than to be home before the street lighrs come on.

    No need to shave your legs in some vanity oriented attempt to make the ride more interesting.

    There’s probably less Rules too.

    Possibly

    Ode to Days

    Ooooo Days.. the “Mounrain” trail never fetter.. clearly.. is clearly.. is but clearly.. just better.
    Carefree “dsys” of Nature.. yo Ralph Waldo Emerson!! no cars.. no buses.. no trains.. just sweat.. just veins.
    Would not.. could not.. on a boat.. or on a plane.. no road is the same.. or better.. not ever.
    Look home.. look home.. oh Shit!! Street “lighrs” are on.. and on.. and on.. and on.. oh come on!
    Ooooo Days.. the “dsys” wane.. bored?? be vane?? just shave your legs.. again.. again.. tis but.. just better.
    But I’m wrong.. not better.. I’m not right.. nor clever.. not better.. not ever.

  35. Nice article, Brett, I enjoyed it.  Recently a friend of mine who works for Ellsworth bikes loaned me a really nice full-suspension carbon MTB, which I took for a quick spin.  It was an enlightening experience, it felt so light compared to my vintage (1995) steel no-suspension Jamis MTB.  I almost bought the Ellsworth.  Almost.  Then I went for a ride on my #1 (Trek Project One) and came to my senses.

  36. @unversio

    Noice…  great semtiment. And total agreement with other replies to my malt-inspired goodnatured trolling of skinny wheel set.

    Seriously,  this is a great blog, with great comment threads.  And I love a bit of good natured rivalry. Youse guys are alrihht.

    And kw’s summary is perfect.  The lste great Freddie Mercury said it best… “Get on you bikes and ride”

  37. Weird. What the hell was I thinking?

  38. Bah! Purists are pussies! Tank top, mtb shorts + hydration pack on my road bike. I’ve got 2-3 times the water you’ve got! And I’ve got a better tan.

  39. @MichalInator

    Bah! Purists are pussies! Tank top, mtb shorts + hydration pack on my road bike. I’ve got 2-3 times the water you’ve got! And I’ve got a better tan.

    Perchance are you from DownUnder?

  40. @MichalInator

    Bah! Purists are pussies! Tank top, mtb shorts + hydration pack on my road bike. I’ve got 2-3 times the water you’ve got! And I’ve got a better tan.

    I think this is hilarious.

    Wearing MTB shorts on a road bike means you acknowledges “normal” clothes don’t work, but lacks the confidence to wear shorts designed for what you are doing.

    Wearing a hydration pack means you are less comfortable.

    Wearing a tanktop “for a better tan” means you don’t know what a good tan looks like.

    But have fun!

  41. not a word about touring? that is done a bike as well. yes bags but where else will the tent, stove, sleeping bag etc go? just back from a month in patagonia. you want quiet?

  42. @Days I really hope ”noice” Is a typo

  43. @The Grande Fondue

    @MichalInator

    Bah! Purists are pussies! Tank top, mtb shorts + hydration pack on my road bike. I’ve got 2-3 times the water you’ve got! And I’ve got a better tan.

    I think this is hilarious.

    Wearing MTB shorts on a road bike means you acknowledges “normal” clothes don’t work, but lacks the confidence to wear shorts designed for what you are doing.

    Wearing a hydration pack means you are less comfortable.

    Wearing a tanktop “for a better tan” means you don’t know what a good tan looks like.

    But have fun!

    Perfect I stared writing a response then I saw that it was basically a bad version of yours.

  44. brett,

    This is quite simply, one of the best articles I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long while.  Very honest and poignant…plus a happy ending – can’t fuckin’ beat that.

    I’m 45 and I absolutely love it when I see guys in their 50’s and beyond laying down the V and looking fantastic doing it.

    Good stuff Brett!

  45. @MichalInator  Hmmmm……I thought I broke a lot of rules with my saddle bag and lumberjack look. Maybe I’m not that offensive after all. Bummer.

    But anyway. ………Michal if that’s your name, I would like a description if your saddle sores after attempting say, oooh, anything longer than 50 miles in mtn bike shorts. As for the short sleeves, try on some real jerseys.  In general they’re more comfortable and can hold more than a sleeveless. And for the hydration pack……

    Ok I’ll just ask, how long have you been off your mtb. (If not your rockers)                                                 P.S. Please don’t tell me that you’re American.  If you are please change your clothing or move to a different continent. Thanks

    P.P.S. He probably rides a $20,000  Road bike.

  46. @Teocalli

    @MichalInator

    Bah! Purists are pussies! Tank top, mtb shorts + hydration pack on my road bike. I’ve got 2-3 times the water you’ve got! And I’ve got a better tan.

    Perchance are you from DownUnder?

    That’s a fairly common occurrence in Los angeles county as well, pervasive on weekends any where near the Rose bowl. or for that matter anywhere in LA county

  47. This is a timely article

    I went from mountain to road back to mountain.

    I never shaved my legs and when I was racing road bike I got razed at first but like the rules say if show up with hairy legs you better be able to dish out some pain, so the razing stopped after awhile. I was always know as the angry mountain biker at the crits.

    7 years ago I moved  and within the first month I got clipped out in the country twice by some rednecks in pickup trucks, not to serious but nerve racking.

    Subsequently I sold my beloved Eddy Merckx because of anger and solely road the mountain bike. I have not owned a road bike since. There are days lately when I really think about the road bike especially after doing a gravel grinding century a month ago with some riding buddies on a pieced together 29er/gravel grinder, while it was painful, there was time for much deep reflection while pedaling in no mans lands on back gravel roads.

    I still do not own a road bike, besides the hairy legs, I do still kit up in the proper fashion for the most part, as if is was hitting the tarmac. Old habits are hard to break, looking good on the bike still goes for the mountain bike for me.

    At this point I am still sole searching as I embark on the potential purchase of another bike, to road or not to road, that is the question and my sole is torn in two right now

  48. @Roger Don’t let a couple of rednecks ruin your journey.

  49. I started out in the bush and was reluctant to try the road despite the urgings of my friends as I felt terribly afraid of traffic.  One day my beloved VMH handed me a brand new road bike and my mountain bike has been neglected ever since.  Whether it be on a solo dive into the pain cave or a friendly group ride, the road seldom disappoints.  Participating this past weekend in a 225k charity ride for cancer as my good friend and cancer survivor’s ‘wingman’,  I met all sorts of wonderful riders…kindred  spirits if you will.  Occasionally as some particularly fast groups went past, I would tag along and burn some matches.  At one point, a lead rider of a pretty quick group sat up only to find that he and I were alone and his mates had shot off the back!  It was great fun and he said to me,” Wait until you hit fifty” to which I replied, ‘That happened five years ago!”  In the future the pace will surely drop off but the smile will never leave

  50. Downhill Wurbauerkogel 1992-94

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