The Shorts.

I really don’t mean to make this about fashion, but this post is definitely about clothes.  It seems like such a silly thing but I have the absolute worst time finding mountain bike shorts!  I started with a pair of Race Face DIY shorts.

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I loved this shorts, but they very unfortunately stretched and ended up trying to fall down a lot.  The nail in the coffin for these shorts was a ride up in Smithers, BC where a rock was kicked up by my back tire and landed squarely in my butt crack.  It passed the shorts, passed the undies, and went straight down there.  That rock had the precision of the world’s best sniper and my butt was the target.  Of course, this led me to start giggling and laughing so hard I actually had to stop riding to catch my breath.  Ryan stood there, confused, asking what happened and through the tears and my laughter I managed to get out the words, “my butt” before reaching back into my shorts and producing the offending mineral.  I wish I had taken a picture of this, it was huge.  Anywho, it was then that I decided to get some new shorts with better crack protection.

This started a series of frustrating trips to bike shops.  I wasn’t overly picky.  I was happy to try on different colours and different styles, male or female, it didn’t matter.  But I ran into a couple of the same problems.  Firstly, it was hard to find my size.  In a lot of brands I’m an XL.  In others I’m a size 12.  When I found something I’d like, they either didn’t have my size in the store, didn’t fit well (gaping around the lower back area being really common), or the brand doesn’t make bigger than a size 10.  I definitely don’t begrudge the companies for only making certain sizes, after all, this is a line of fitness clothing and usually people are not my size.  Same with the stores.  They can’t possibly have every size for every person at all times.  It was still irritating when I would try on many shorts and walk away empty handed.

The other issue that came up fairly often (and is an issue with a pair of shorts I bought and still use) is the tightness around the butt factor.  Not only are they snug around the rump, but they’re quite keen on wedging themselves into certain personal places and it feels like I’ll need to head to the ER afterwards to have them extracted.  Either that or I spend all day fussing with them.  Not ideal, but it was the best I could find at the time.

The last pair I ended up with is much better.  They don’t let in stray rocks, and don’t try to examine me internally, but they’re still not 100% ideal.  I got some rockin’ orange Race Face Ambush shorts in XL.  I love the colour and the style.  I love the pockets and the vents.  I love that my butt looks good and the fabric is thick enough to leave some mystery.  The only drawback I currently see is the textured vents on the sides are a bit scratchy and my thighs sometimes end up with a bit of abrasion or a rash on them.  They also don’t fit QUITE right and gap a bit in the lower back while being a touch tight in the upper thigh.  Honestly?  I still really like them and wear them 90% of the time when I’m riding.

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I’m wondering if others are having these kinds of issues with fit.  Did you all just find your right fit easily?  Did you try on a million things to get there?  Am I being too picky?  Leave a comment and let me know!  As for me, I know the perfect shorts must be out there somewhere, on a rack, just waiting for me to find them.

Taking it Easy and Giving Back – Days 6-11

I know, I know.  It’s been a while since my last update.  I have been riding, riding, riding while trying to balance personal life and what little work I DO have.  In my last post I mentioned my knee acting up from overuse.  I decided that I should take it easy with how I’m riding and what I’m riding.  Most of the pain was coming when I pedalled so I tried to shuttle, walk up any climbs, and head to the pump track a couple of times so I could stay on my bike.  It was important to me to stay committed to this project but not do permanent damage to my body.

I really enjoyed the “slow down” time as it gave me a chance to work on some skills and try some new things.  On a shuttling trip to Mt Seymour I was able to try some new trails and work on skinnies which ended up in this success:

Trust me, after trying that about 10 times and always chickening out after the first little part, this was an awesome achievement!

I also spent a bit more time at the pump track with my unicycling friend, Bryan, and got to watch him fool around on his uni.

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He even let me give it a shot even though I’m WAY too short for it and my feet couldn’t reach the pedals if I were to attempt to move.

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Hopefully he can get his hands on a smaller uni and I’ll give it a try again.  The pumping practice also definitely paid off when I got back out on the trails.

There was also a special day in the mix this week.  On Sunday, the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (I believe in conjunction with NSMB and Mosaic Homes.  Correct me if I’m wrong) had an open trail day where any member of the community could sign up to help out with some trail maintenance.

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I got to spend all morning with some awesome folks digging a big trench, setting up a little bridge to go over that trench, and filling in other parts of the climb trail with ‘gold.’

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The morning flew by and was really fun (which was surprising considering it involved digging a hole) and the lovely sponsors for the event, Mosaic Homes, even donated lunch for us all as well as some prizes that got given away.  Overall, it was a fantastic first experience and I can’t wait for more trail days to come.  If you have anything like it in your area, I highly recommend going to give back to the community and to the trail networks that you enjoy.  The other thing I learned from this is if you plan a ride after an event, remember ALL of your gear.  Hiking boots do not grip to pedals well.

Lastly, I had a great run for day 11.  My knee was finally feeling better and I broke my own record for pedalling up from the Mt Fromme parking lot.  I made it allllllmost to the Crinkum Crankum entrance.  This is roughly 2-3 times my previous record.  I was so excited.  As for other out on the trail that day:  if you passed by a woman on a blue Transition Bottlerocket singing Selena Gomez or Justin Bieber on the climb… that was me.  I’m so sorry you had to be subjected to that but it was what was on the radio on the drive and it kept me going.

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That day 11 ride yielded a number of records, as my Strava showed afterwards.  It was a great day out and a nice, long ride by myself and it felt full of personal achievement.  Onto day 12 and some exciting stuff coming up for this week!

 

In case you missed the challenge.

Days 4&5: I’m pumped to pump!

Alright so it turns out that if you just jump into riding your bike on mountains everyday without somehow preparing yourself for it your body may complain.  Unfortunately, my sprained foot/ankle hadn’t healed up fully when I started this and it’s giving me a bit of trouble which has spread to my right knee as well.  Now, am I stopping?  No.  Am I trying to take it a bit easy? …Maybe.  I don’t have much to say about day 4.  I headed to Fromme and did a quick Upper Griffen ride before my knee started yelling at me and I retreated home to do some yoga and hopefully help it out.

But day 5 was some serious fun.  Laura and I headed to the PNE pump track with her little dirt jumper and I got my first taste of some sweet, sweet pump track action.  For those unfamiliar, a pump track is a groomed series of little hills and berms that you ride over with the goal of never pedaling.  You “pump” with the bike (think like pumping on a swing to go higher) to create some speed to get through everything.  If you do it right, you can go around and around and around without ever putting in a pedal stroke.  Was this my experience?  Of course not!

The good news is, there was significant improvement from my first try:

To my last:

We also had the good fortune to run into some other riders that will hopefully come along for some rides in the future.  That’s what I love about this sport and my group of riding friends:  no matter what your skill level is, you’re welcome to come ride with us.  Here’s to day 6!

In case you missed the challenge.

In case you missed Day 1, 2&3

Days 2&3: Skills that (don’t) pay the bills.

I was grumpy when heading out for day 2 but I arrived at the Delta Watershed full of gumption and ready to take on the trail!  The plan was Goat’s Trail and practicing jumping and that’s precisely what I did!  Although I did start out at not quite the right trail head, I managed to get on track and did some fun laps.

Perhaps the most exciting part of it all… I jumped!  There’s proof!  Both tired off the ground!

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Day 3 was a lovely shuttle with Ryan up Mt Seymour.  We rode Pingu, Pangor, and Boogie Nights. It was my first time on all of these trails and, while I did walk quite a bit of them, I got to work on skinnies!

I’d call that a success!  Tomorrow will bring more adventures.

In case you missed day 1.

In case you missed the challenge.