Two weeks ago I was feeling down. Rather than drinking my way to happiness, I decided to get on the bike and do a short ride. 6 miles to be exact. Mind you it’s been months since I’ve ridden so that meant my pace was slower than usual. What’s difficult for me is when I was riding, all sorts of emotions started coming up and at one point I wanted to cry. Eh…this sucks.
Then part of a trail had a little jump, I took it and while in mid-air, I quickly remembered why I love to ride. My heart jumped and all my sorrows went away and it produced a big smile on my face. Don’t get me wrong, the whole ride was just tough on my body. I took everything slow and wanted to enjoy the moment, you know, be present.
I stopped at a local lake to just take it all in. I was grateful for the beauty that surrounds me. Maybe if I just approach riding as a way to enjoy what’s around me and not focus on what was and focus on what is, that might help me get back into it a bit more.
This morning I was graced with the presence Staff Writer, Albacore. Some actually know him by his alias, Adam Spik. So we met up at the Fullerton Loop after his shift where he plays with big hoses and revives dead guys…yes all at the same time.
Here’s Albacore telling me how he holds his hose…you guys, get your mind out of the gutter! The dude is a Fireman!
Oh ya, make sure you have water in your hydration pack…2 days in a row I forgot to fill up. Lucky for me the Fullerton Loop has some drinking fountains along the way.
Let’s talk about the 3 hot chicks. Well here they are!
Here’s the Fireman part of the title.
So what do they have in common? Well duh…they were all on the same trail! Actually this has to be a first for me. I’ve NEVER seen any chickens on any trail before. During our ride, I kept asking Albacore all sorts of questions about being a Fireman, cuz you know, everyone loves a Fireman. Anyhow, we discussed things about fighting fires, dead bodies and fire engines. Check this out, he even invited me to go on a ride along! Ya I didn’t even know that they offered such a thing. I told LadyP about the ride along and she perked up and got all excited then said, “oooh I want to go on a ride along too!”
So the other day The Moe and I went out for our lunch time ride. Rather than taking my 29er, I brought out the Footbike.
To some this may look like a scooter, perhaps mechanically it is, but I have to say this thing is a butt kicker. I’ve never had such a great workout than with the Footbike. The major difference with this bike than your mountain bike is it uses your full body. From your legs, abs and upper body, it all gets worked out. How do I know? It’s because I’m sore all over after the following day.
Here’s the machine right here…looks unassuming. But it kick your butt and ask your mom out.
What’s great about the Footbike, you can use it to cross train with. I plan on riding it at least once a week to change things up a bit as I train for XC racing.
The Moe and I ended up riding 7.11 miles that day. Not bad on a bike and definitely a hard ride on a Footbile. Funny thing about this picture that The Moe took, in my head I thought I looked way cooler. But I looking way dorky with my orange socks, pink gloves and red helmet.
Today marked the first day of the year where The Moe and I rode together. What better way to tell this story than with pictures! We all know if there’s no pictures or if it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen!
So here we go! The Moe showed up to the trail wearing the EXACT SAME jersey as I was! We’re like Twinsies!
The Moe and I actually hadn’t seen each other since Thanksgiving or something like that. So this was our time to exchange presents. I gave him his gift, then he turned around and said in a sultry voice, “Hey big boy, I’ve got your present right here!” Immediately I asked if I could get the gift receipt…haha.
This was The Moe’s first time on the bike since…October. So here I am doing my best impression on how he was feeling.
As we rode the trail, The Moe was telling the proper techniques of looking good on a bike even though its been months since he last rode one. He told me to go ahead of him and take a picture so we can document his prowess. Wow, he wasn’t kidding! The Moe looks great!
When we got a certain part of the trail…there he was in all his glory…JESUS! I had found Jesus on the trail!
It was great to ride with my old friend The Moe. It’s always fun and magical! Yes it’s magical. If you ever get a chance to ride with him, you’ll understand.
Last but not least, check out these big nuts! Wow! Those are some big nuts!
The other day Lady P sends me an email and here’s a little excerpt from it,
“Babe you’re so awesome and handsome! You have nice calves, and great riding skills. Due to your awesomeness, I wanted to let you know that Sizzler has a coupon offer for $20 of food for $10! “
Before I go on, let me give you some history and explain the significance of Sizzler. Back in the 80-90’s Sizzler was a wonderful place to eat! I recall eating at the Sizzler on Redhill in Tustin, Ca. and having a great time with my family. We loved Sizzler so much that we went there at least once a week.
Fast forward 20 and odd some years later. There’s a Sizzler that is in the direct path of the Fullerton Loop. So for the last few years, every time we ride passed it we joked that we should eat at Sizzler. We never did just because towards the last part of the 90’s Sizzler took a dive. It became worse than Denny’s or Coco’s . So when this coupon came up, a bunch of us grabbed the opportunity to save money and have some fun eating at Sizzler. It’s much like drinking a PBR, it’s cheap, not very good, but its fun to do it.
For our Wednesday night ride, we all agreed that we’d ride super fast and do a shorter, 8 mile ride in order to get to Sizzler before they closed. Behind me is Doc Thunda, Lady P and Constant.
I was riding the Redline D600 because I’ve found that this bike rolls pretty fast through the trails and at that moment, I NEEDED to be fast to get to Sizzler.
This was my view most of the ride since I was ahead of the pack…I was a determined fella so that means I pushed hard through out the ride!
We eventually made it to the Sizzler parking lot…oh thank heaven!
I was one happy dude. I guess I was remembering all the good that occurred inside Sizzler from the 80’s and was hoping to relive those moments.
Here’s a shot of Constant and Doc Thunda. Notice how Constant’s eyes are rolling back? Well that’s because the food was sooo good!
See this piece of toast? That right there was God’s gift to man kind….
I’m sure you’re wondering, was the food good? Since I only had the Endless Salad Bar, I can only judge what I ate and let me tell you, I was impressed with it. Constant had Steak and Shrimp. You can see that his steak wasn’t all that big, check out how it compares to his knife…
Overall we were genuinely impressed with the food at Sizzler. The last time I was here was about 16 years ago and it sucked and that’s probably why I haven’t been back until last night. If you’re inclined to try out Sizzler, do yourself a favor and eat at the one we were at, it’s in Fullerton off Harbor and Brea Blvd. I’m sure other Sizzlers are fine, but from our experience, this one is pretty decent.
For the past month or so, my daughter and I have been riding our tandem. You may have seen this machine used in a previous mountain bike race that Cousin Joe and I participated in back in the fall of 2010. It actually took quite a bit of convincing and bribery to get my daughter to agree to ride the tandem on dirt. At first she said she’ll only try it if we were on the streets. Then one day I asked her if she’d like to ride parts of the Fullerton Loop. To my surprise she said yes. But our agreed first time out didn’t happen due to the rain. She then kept asking me for days about riding once the rain had cleared up.
So now we’re in the month of May, we had actually been riding tandem since April. Our adventures have included other trails like Aliso Woods and Whiting Ranch. Both of those places can be challenging on a regular mountain bike, even more so with a tandem. Aleah actually learned pretty quick on how to handle the tandem. I call out commands and she responds. For example, if I say BUMP, that means I stop pedaling and she gets off the saddle and tries to get behind it as far as she can with her elbows out. PEDAL means, she sits back down to pedal. PUSH means to work hard especially up a tough climb.
Now that you know all about how our tandem adventures got started and how it works, let me explain how I’ve used it as a training tool for an upcoming downhill race. For the past month or so, I’ve rarely ridden my regular mountain bike for any riding. I’ve spent almost every weekend as well as our week day ride on the tandem. Heck my daughter and I even rode the Ride of Silence just the other night on the tandem. What I love about riding the tandem, well for one, I get to spend time with my daughter. 2, I get to become a stronger rider because of the added weight of a Stoker and the bigger bike.
Aleah loves to ride the tandem, in fact its what she looks forward to on the weekends and during the week. My bike handling skills have actually gotten better. Having to balance the two of us and maneuver through some tough trails can become a major work out. As I am typing this, I can feel my upper body’s soreness about to set in from the ride we finished a few hours ago.
My hope is that when it comes to race time, my legs and lungs are stronger this time around because of all the tandem time that I’ve experienced.
A little picture post just because. This is from my afternoon ride at the Fullerton Loop. I have been riding the Famous Fully Loop for many years and there are still days when I am just in awe of spring’s beauty!
Ok…well if you can just look past the smog…it’s really nice out there! 😀
Spring is definitely my favorite time of year to ride! Hope you get the chance to get out and ride today!
I always find the first ride for a new mountain biker to be a bit of a conundrum: the trail I choose has to be easy enough for the newb but hard enough to be a challenge mentally and physically. Too easy for the newbie and the rider loses interest. Too hard and the newbie never comes back. WAY too hard and the newbie warns other potential newbs to not even try it. It is always a fine line determining which trail will illicit the right response, that being: I want to mountain bike again!
What I have figured out, through trial and error, is that the Fullerton Loop is not a good trail for the first timer. Over the past year I have taken two friends new to mountain biking to the loop as their first excursion on dirt and well, they have not ridden a mountain bike since then. Aerobically, they are both in good shape. The first enjoys half marathons and the second hits the gym and the basketball courts on a regular basis. They were challenged physically which is always a goal. Mentally though, the descents on the Fullerton Loop, intimidated them to the point of no return.
Personally, I think you should feel like puking on your first mountain bike ride
On my first mountain bike ride I went out on the Fullerton loop solo (no mountain biking friends when I started out) with little more than a print out of directions from the website efgh.com, thanks Mr. Erdelsky. I remember being tentative on the downhills but I did not find them to be overwhelming. I was never scared for my life but I did find myself gasping for air after just four miles. This assessment of my first ride has influenced my decision to bring new riders to the loop. My thought process is that if the newb is in decent shape they should be fine on the loop. However, I vastly underestimated the lasting mental effects of getting scared out of your mind on the loop’s descents.
OK, so after thinking about these issues for a while, I decided to take my friend Adam, new to mountain biking, on the most tame trail I could conceive of while still barely being a “mountain biking” trail. Telegraph Canyon in Chino Hills State Park is very mellow, so much that I have hiked a good portion of it with my 3 year old son. Adam and I met up with a couple of roadies posing as mountain bikers: Leo and Leo’s friend (yes, I suck with names) and we took the 12 mile out and back at a very newbie friendly pace. Adam even made it all the way to the turn around point and only once felt as if he wanted to hurl. Pretty good, huh?
Whats even better is that Adam is ready to hit the loop now. He said so both verbally right after the ride and in an email sent a few weeks later. He is waiting for his new helmet to arrive via brown Santa and we’ll be tackling the Fullerton loop next. Success!
A few months ago The Moe took a dive during a DH practice run at Fontana. He took a jump, landed but his bike bucked him off and OTB he went. Little did he know that his fall actually resulted in a REALLY messed up shoulder. He knew it hurt but he didn’t know the extent of the injury since he kept DH racing. Months later the pain got to The Moe. He finally went in and the doctor said that he tore his labral or something like that. That meant surgery, a few screws and orders that he stay off the bike for months.
Well its been a long few months and the Doc gave him the ok to start riding again. When The Moe told me that he wanted to ride the Fullerton Loop, I assembled a Welcome Back Ride with a few Trail Thugs to help him ease back into the joy of riding.
Randall Robinson. He has a nick name of “Full Squish.” But that was sooo 2008. I’m assigning him a new name. Randall “Radical” Robinson.
Priscilla “hawtness” Policar
The Dr. is in! Gabe “Dr. Thunda” Preda
I actually forgot his name, so for now, his name is “This Guy.”
Cameron “Mac” McMackin. That’s one cool last name! Can you imagine all the ways you can use that? “McLovin'”, “MacDaddy”, “Daddy Mac”, “Snackin On Da Mackin”, “Mac Attack”, “Mac Mac”…the possibilities are endless.
Andrew “GoGo” Gomez
The Moe felt pretty good during the ride. Though there were times he had to walk some of the hills, he was back in his groove on the descents.
Have you ever heard of that saying, “your bike will go where you’re looking?” Well sure enough, The Moe was trying to avoid the mud pit and look where he ended up.
hmm…I guess 29ers don’t really roll over everything.
By the end of it all, we had an awesome time. No injuries, no mechanicals, just pure fun. We’re glad to see The Moe Back on the trails. Who knows, you may see him at the next DH Race.