Why I’m Quitting Mountain Biking

Posted by on Apr 1, 2011 in Bike | 14 Comments

I’ve been a mountain biker for a long time. Nearly 20 years. I’ve had some amazing rides in that time. I’ve seen some incredible places. And I’ve met people that are now very close friends. I’ve loved being a mountain biker.

However, in the wake of the True Grit 50 and the nausea inducing mechanical resurrection of my bike, I think I’ve had enough. Enough dirt. Enough mud. I don’t need anymore 3,000 foot climbs into the mountains. I’ve exhausted my tolerance for singletrack and desert and altitude. I don’t have the energy to clean up again after the next wet or muddy ride. I’m tired of chain suck and mud-speckled jersey’s. I’m done. Finished.

I quit.

Yesterday I sold both of my mountain bikes.

I threw away most of my jerseys and shorts. I’m preparing to sell off any useful tools I have. There aren’t many. I’ve never been mechanically inclined. But they, and the bikes—along with a few other accessories—will provide enough money for me to get started in my next and new adventure: triathlons.

Mountain biking is quite limiting. I can only go as far as the trail goes. And there are only so many trails. How many times do I have to ride The Wasatch Crest? How many more times must I yield to rental bikes on the Mid-Mountain Trail? Or ride through horse poo? Or crash into trees, rocks, shrubs, and rivers? No more times! Never again. Because I quit. Instead of having to follow a trail, I will now be able to ride my specifically designed triathlon bike wherever I want. When the road ends, I can run. When the land ends, I can swim. No more limitations. And no more laid back, friendly, mountain bikers either.

Mountain bikers are undisciplined. Many of them drink chocolate milk or—gasp!—beer, after a race or training ride. Mountain bikers rarely keep detailed training diaries. Many don’t shave their legs—or arms, armpits, eye-brows, chest, and… everything else. Some of them even wear baggy shorts with pockets (while racing!) which are surely causing an unwanted drag, sapping energy and forward momentum.

The relaxed attitude that runs rampantly unchecked among mountain bikers has been killing my potential as an athlete. Too often, I now realize, I have been caught up in trailside story-telling, banter, and photo-taking. It all seemed innocent enough. But those were precious minutes wasted. Minutes that could have been spent doing Tabata intervals or run/swim 2-a-days at the community rec. center. Nearly 20 years. Wasted!

Pretentious triathletes are pretentious because they are superior. Disciplined. Focused.

Today is the first day of accepting and recognizing my own innate superiority.

This new chapter in my athletic career has infused a new energy and excitement into my everyday life. At work, for lunch everyday, I will now drink a proprietary energy shake made from raw eggs, creatine, SportsLegs capsules, and an organic soy protein. I’ll use a personal blender to make the drink at my own desk. Everyday a different coworker will ask me what I’m drinking. To which I will reply: “Excellence. I’m drinking excellence.”

I’m hoping to become the first former mountain biker to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Triathlon Trials.

As mentioned, I sold my mountain bikes. I used the money to buy the very best piece of triathlon gear available: The $899 Volna Time Trial Aerobars. In white.

these bars are stupid

Nothing says “I’m all in” like white carbon aerobars. Aerobars that cost more than my singlespeed mountain bike, no less.

Why am I doing this? Let me count the ways:

1. I’ll finally be able to race with my bib number painted on my upper thigh.

2. The Mankini.

3. The Jetstream Aerodynamic Bottle System. (Traditional bottle cages require too much energy to use!)

4Lubricants.

5. Now, when I accidentally leave my shoes clipped into my bike, I can say it was on purpose. “Just working on my transitions.”

 

 

 

6. Running in swim goggles will no longer be considered weird.

7. Group sit-ups on the beach. In wetsuits.

 

 

 

8. The post-race tri-kit compare.

9.  “Triathlons. I do that.” T-shirts are amazing.

10. I’ve always wanted to swim in a choppy lake with 5,000 other people.

11. Mountain bike races are just not expensive enough. I want to be gouged!

Yeah. That list went to 11. That’s just how I’m rolling now.

Mountain biking? Soooo 1990s. I’m moving on to bigger and better (and more awesome) things.

I’m an elite triathlete now. Swim. Bike. Run.

Oh… one more thing.

April Fools!

 

14 Comments

  1. KanyonKris
    April 1, 2011

    Well played, and hilarious!

  2. eric
    April 1, 2011

    April Fools.

    Now no foolin – come run the Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim with us on April 30th. Me, Sam, and Riessen. If you can run 13.1 you can at least get down to Phantom Ranch and back.

    • Grizzly Adam
      April 1, 2011

      Eric, I’m intrigued. Shoot me an email with all the skinny. I need an excuse to get some new trail runners.

  3. Jaralei
    April 1, 2011

    Hi, I really enjoy following your blog – great photos, topics and writing style. Very inspirational. You had me going for a moment with this post! I was thinking “Oh no, if he’s giving it up, there’s no hope for any of us!” And then about the paragraph where you mentioned drinking beer, I realized you were being facetious.

    Excellent.

  4. Fish needs a bicycle » Cyclelicious
    April 1, 2011

    [...] Mountain biker Grizzly Adams gives up the limitations of his sport to become a triathlete. [...]

  5. Fats
    April 1, 2011

    Thank you God. Oh wait, it’s April fools. Damn.

  6. Rico
    April 1, 2011

    This is seriously a CLASSIC! Truly HILARIOUS!

  7. Lloyd Lemons
    April 1, 2011

    Oh man! You had me going for a few minutes. I almost changed your twitter list to Triathlete. See ya in Leadville.

  8. Bernice
    April 1, 2011

    You didn’t fool me at all! No way, no how could someone who rode solo with me through the night at Old Pueblo could ever have a change of heart like that. Good story though. :)

    • Grizzly Adam
      April 1, 2011

      Ha! Nice to hear from you Bernice. That race still ranks up there as one my favorites.

  9. Jeff Higham
    April 1, 2011

    Bike. Run. Swim? You are more hopeless than I thought. First you swim, then you bike, then you run. You should just stick with mountainbiking, it’s way easier anyway.

  10. Shavenomore
    April 7, 2011

    That is funny b/c I am reading this before the ending thinking I am totally going the opposite direction.

    No more sucking car fumes and getting run off the road by old ladies with tunnel vision. No more shaved legs or banana slings. I am going native baby! Letting my freak fur grow.

    No more counting calories and getting “skeletal” Beer is a legit recovery drink (although it’s tough to get the taste out of my camelbak I’ve found).

    Ok I am not flushing my bulk Sports Legs bottle yet. Are those things really legal!? I am just saying…

    There is something very Zen about the woods I never got, or rarely got out in traffic. Mountain biking might be so 90′s but triathlons are so 80′s.

  11. Will
    April 10, 2011

    One word says it all. GREAT!

  12. Tri$Life
    May 3, 2011

    I pooped a hammer.