Mountain Biking Life

DATE OF EVENT: 1997-1998

Mountain bike (MTB) gives me excitements, joy, and freedom.

I didn’t like MTB at first, because riding MTB for a long time hurts my balls seriously. But it didn’t take too long to discover the joy of MTB.

I started to ride a bike to go college. My host family offered me to borrow their bike, so I did. It only took 7 minutes in dry condition to get college, but then I began to like riding. Soon, I stopped buying bus tickets and I rode MTB to go to school, downtown, to movie theaters. This was the beginning of my MTB life.

You may not have much idea of what it’s like to ride bike in wintertime, so I will describe riding bike in a typical winter day for you. You wake up and wash your ugly face unlike my cute face, eat junky out of date cereal unlike my yummy and fresh cereal, and change your favorite clothe that you bought from a sale at everyday low price Wal-Mart unlike my good looking well known brand’s clothe. You put a hat on. You put tights on underneath pants. You put expansive Gore-Tex 2 layer gloves on. You are now ready and it’s time to leave home. You open the door, and feel the coldness of –25°C (-13°F). You get your bike from a garage. You find that the wires are frozen. You can’t change gears. You look at brake pads, and they are covered by frozen ice from yesterday’s ride. Pulling the brake levers means nothing. You try to get on the bike. You make sure that the bike is perpendicular to the ground as much as possible otherwise you will spin out on the ice road. Make sure you don’t turn the wheel too much or you will slip and fall off. Less than 5 minutes of riding, you already start to feel that your nose is cold. Wind-chill makes it even colder. But nose won’t run because it’s frozen inside. Every breath takes the cold air right into your lungs. It doesn’t matter if you are wearing Gore-Tex 2 layer gloves, your fingers are frozen and you can’t feel anything but pain, pure pain, beyond pain, pain from inside of your fingers. It’s pain from hell. But you still have to ride for 10 more minutes to get college. So you tolerate it, bear it, and put up with it. This is what it is like to ride bike, but if you think this is bad enough, wait until you ride under -35°C (-31°F) degrees, I guarantee you it gets even better. I’ve done that many times. Believe me.

One thing I learned from this is that once I get used to ride under -35°C, riding under -25°C was a piece of cake. It felt like spring. It really did. Wind chill was not an issue. It used to freeze fingers, and nose, but not anymore. I could go fast, and I could ride as long as I wanted. It’s all about mind game, folks. Our body is stronger than you think, certainly stronger than your mind. Try it.

After the winter is over, I could ride little more comfortably. During the last summer I spent in Canada, I went back to Crowsnest Pass for volunteer activities for the campus I used to go every day by car. This time I went there by bike. So I rode about 45 minutes total everyday. Going to the school was easy. Because it was all down hills with wind helping me, but that meant to home was hard. I used to take a gravel road, and that was where I had my very first heavy crash. It did hurt and I learned to wear globes. In weekends, I went hiking, backpacking or of course biking. I woke up at five in the morning and left home to bike every time. All the pictures you see here you may think it is sunset, but it is actually sunrise. Fun days of my life. I miss that a lot.