Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night….

Rage, rage, against the dying of the full suspension Rocky Mountain ETSX-50, large size.

Alas, the ride today ended early, in tragedy. My trusty, well-loved, well-ridden bike is broken. Snapped at the gusset between the frame and rear suspension triangle. I was riding at a place called White Ranch, just north of Golden, Colorado, rolling along on flat singletrack section hidden in shadows. It was cold, but I was feeling fine. Bumping over a slanted pitch of rocks–not too rough or steep–I spun my rear wheel and clipped out of my pedals. My chain was stuck and I couldn’t move. And then I looked down, and saw the break:

The lower silver bar should be attached to the seat tube, about three inches down.

I’d bought my ETSX a few years ago off Craigslist, for $900–a totally great deal. My first full-suspension, it helped me grow from a timid, sometimes clumsy rider to a much less timid, much less clumsy rider. I love (loved?) this bike. I love how it rides, how it handles, how I feel so well-balanced on it. I love how cheap it was. I love that it’s black, and a called a Rocky Mountain.

I can’t really afford a new bike, or even a frame. I’m not sure what I am going to do. (Boohoo. Why did I ever create”crash and/or break” as a blog category? I doomed myself.)

Nothing lasts forever. Change is the only constant. Stuff breaks. Breaking (up) is hard to do.

The cliches are all so very true, and yes, I will figure out a way to ride. I have an old single-speed sitting in the garage, which I can ride, though it’s terribly hard riding. And yes, part of me is excited about the possibility of getting a new ride.

Tragedies, large or small: you can’t let them stop you. You must keep going. You must find a way to finish the ride, and begin the next one. Things won’t ever be the same. But that’s not a reason to stop.

You must endure. Ah, that old lesson I keep learning over and over again.

Rocky Mountain ETSX-50

November Riding. Part 2.

Seems like I am falling into a nice pattern–riding every Saturday.

My two daughters, 6 and 8, have tennis lessons on Saturday morning, and afterward we drop by an exceedingly busy Starbucks to jostle for a table, where we chow on doughnuts and egg sandwiches. Then we’re over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house, where we drop the girls off so they can gorge themselves on DVD movies, online games (,, et al). Once that’s all done, my wife and I hit the hills. She jogs. I ride. I’ve always wished that she would ride with me, but alas, as she has said many times: “I don’t like rocks.”

So alone I’ve been going, up the mountain.

This past Saturday, it was warm–almost 50 degrees. We hit Mount Falcon Park, which is a long grind up to a gorgeous meadow and lots of singletrack options. There were many other bikers around–a gang of five hit the trail a few minutes after me, and though I hate to admit it, I hammered it so they would not catch me. I mean, I didn’t kill myself, but I didn’t take it easy, either.

Up to the top, to some old ruins of a summer house, then on to a lovely, lonely, singletrack.

This is why I do this: to feel the pain, to scare myself awake. To be alone, to make myself into something I want to be. To breathe, to be in the midst of the forest. And all that.

If this keeps up, it just might become a habit I can’t break. Which is fine with me.

November is Freaking Cold. Part 1.

This past weekend, I rode at a local hill called Green Mountain, which is ideal for November–and after the first snow of fall–as it’s open, treeless, and snow tends to melt from the trails quickly.

I rode for around two hours, and let me say: it was awfully cold. My fingers and toes were numb; on downhills as I cruised, the chill blasted through my jersey and made me shiver. Such pain made me reconsider the recently decided upon idea that I would, as long as the trails weren’t buried in snow, ride through the winter. I have the gear. I like to ski, and can handle cold. I grew up in Buffalo, New York, for cripessakes. If I can survive that, I can survive anything.

Plus, there’s something solemn about riding in the gray and white, something quieter and more thoughtful, somehow, than the heat and green of spring and summer. Time to cool off, literally and figuratively. And we all know how important that is.

I just need to make sure I wear my warm gloves and my little riding booties next time.