Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Where To Take My New Ride?

I had expected that Santa would bring me something triathlon related for Christmas. I knew he was on a budget because one of his little helpers, my wife, told me. She said in fact that Santa wasn't getting me much. I chocked it up to the old naughty or nice requirement for gift giving/receiving.

Well, Santa is a liar! That’s right, I’m callin’ out Santa because he (she) gave me an awesome gift. I got a Trek Fuel EX 8 full suspension mountain bike. You may have seen the picture in my What’s for Christmas blog.
2013 Trek Fuel EX 8
In the few days since Christmas I've been investigating where I might ride my new steed and contacted some of my cycling buddies that I know are mountain bikers. Here on Atlanta’s south side we have Dauset Trails in Jackson, Georgia which seems to be the most popular. The Georgia International Horse Park (GIHP) in Conyers is also an option coming in a close second. Dauset is a 37 mile drive and Conyers is a 30 mile drive from my home.

Another option is the Clayton County International Park (CCIP), also known as Atlanta Beach or simply The Beach, located east on Jonesboro, Georgia and only 3 miles from my front door. Being an avid cyclist, I think I would have noticed riders in the park but in eight years I don’t recall seeing a single one. The first time I heard about any trails at the park was about two months ago when someone posted a ride there on the Southern Crescent Cycling Facebook page. Me not being the owner of a mountain bike at the time, did not join in on the fun or even take much notice.
Clayton County International Park trails
Now that I do own a mountain bike I’ve got to plan my first ride. I’m thinking that, for convenience, I’ll stay close to home and ride at The Beach. I have some concerns that the trails are not maintained well however, who am I to judge. I’m sure it will be fun.  My concern is less regarding actual trail maintenance than is the relationship between the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) - Atlanta chapter, and the now absorbed SORBA - Southern Crescent chapter. I'm a big proponent of bicycle advocacy and an apparent rift (or maybe it's the lack of interest in anything exercise related by most of my south Atlanta neighbors) has left the southsiders with little leadership than I would like as a person new to the sport. A good solution to this is probably less forum reading time and more time on the saddle.

Unfortunately, for my mental state, even before I hit the trails I've already heard the stories about trips to the emergency room. Needless to say, I’m hoping for a safe and uneventful first ride. If something bad does occur then I only have Santa to blame because, if it wasn't for him (her) I wouldn't have a mountain bike, I wouldn't be riding in the woods, and I wouldn't have gotten hurt. That’ll be my argument should the situation arise. It’s not my fault!

One thing is for sure, I’ll be taking a lot of pictures over the next few months. I’m sure that along the way I’ll also improve my biking skills. Hopefully this new discipline will result in improved bike splits in my 2013 races.

Thanks for reading.