So Many Feels.

I now have two rides in on the Powerfly. I would need at type at least 2000 words to say how I feel. Almost indescribable. I rode trails I have not been able to ride in years. I don’t know where to start. But I’ll try…..

I am absolutely back in love with MTBing. Just to be able to ride all the tough stuff without puking is the best. These are trails that I was not physically able to ride in the last 5 years or so. Last week I took my MTB home after work Saturday and didnt touch it last Sunday. Yesterday I woke up and saw the Powerfly on the back of the car and could not wait to get out the door. It’s been too long since I had that feeling. I mean, I hurried to get dressed. Today Im making plans to hit up as many trails systems as I can this fall (legally, more on that later).

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Let’s talk about the bike itself. Its got 4 levels of assist. One level is called eMTB and it adjust the level of assist based on how hard your pedaling. From what I read, this was the popular level to use. To my surprise I never took the bike off the lowest level of assist, called “economy”. Every hill that I could not climb before I climbed with this bike in the lowest setting. And the best thing about that was I still had to work. Heart rate was up many times. But not to the point I needed to stop. I should have put my HR monitor on and next time I will to see that Im still working hard. I really was and that was one of my concerns. I just did not want to soft pedal around. I can tell you that I worked just as hard on this bike, but instead of getting off and walking the big hills I cleaned them. And could keep going.

Let’s talk about speed. I was also concerned that if I rode hard I would destroy all the KOM’s out there. Not the case. My fastest lap out there ever was one hour nine minutes sometime around 2012. Ironically, I finished up this lap tired and happy at exactly one hour nine minutes.

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So even with the assist Im not the fastest bike out there by a long shot and thats the furthest thing from my mind. Just completing that lap without having to stop is huge for me.

This bike takes away your physically limitation and just puts you on the same play field as most others. If you follow this blog, you know I struggled mentally to do this. For two weeks I lost sleep thinking Im giving up. Today as I type I think how silly that was. But really not. Its like before you can accept help you have to admit you need it. And thats hard to do.

The bike is heavy. Very. But after a bit of time you get used to it. It’s never going to handle like my 25 pound EX but thats OK. It’s got really big brake rotors as expected. Even with the weight it braked just fine.

This is a game changer for me. Like I mentioned, Im already planning some weekends somewhere. I wont say just yet.

Because there still is some talk about these bikes. Banned from this trail or that trail. Some of the talk is legit, some of it is coming from uninformed mouths.

I will say this. I just might turn into the States biggest advocate for these bikes. Like anything new, they are misunderstood. Most of the time (not all of the time) its the local MTB groups and clubs that proclaim these bikes are not welcome. But they dont own the land. It’s really the land owners that have to make the call. You could talk to two different people from the same organization or governing body and get two different answers.

That all Im going to say about that today. It’s a touchy subject for sure. At least today when its all still so new. Remember when fat bikes came out and we all rode the trails in winter and the ski people freaked out? Now they ski\ride side by side. In time this will all work out. Just takes a bit of patience.

Im sure I will have a lot to say about this ongoing. I really can’t say enough about how this bike gave me my MTBing back again. At least the way I remember doing it back in my youth (early 40’s).

DLD

 

Post eBike Post Post

So Im convinced the eMTB is a good thing for me. Every comment I’ve got both private and on social media has been positive. Very positive.

I just typed a 600 word post on how and why I should not do this. Then I deleted it. This decision has consumed me for the last 2 weeks. Its not the bike. The bike is amazing from what Im told. It’s me. Im having a hard time with this personally.

I just typed another 400 words and deleted it again.

Yesterday I pulled the trigger. I ordered the bike and its due early next week. Maybe sooner.

Its been such a mental thing with this. I’ve really struggling with it. These bikes are great for all the obvious reasons. Give someone who once could not now can. But what Im struggling with is me. Maybe Im not quite that bad off? Sure, I struggle at times. But is that all just part of the experience? Just because there are a few hills I can’t climb anymore get a bike that climbs them for me? I dont know. That goes against what I think MTBing is. I read somewhere that these things are good for the elderly or disabled. Is that what I am? I mean, Im old but still can ride a bike better than the average guy.

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If Grammy can do this why do I need a ebike?

The thing is at what point does one pull the plug on trying. Its like retirement. You live your life working a ton, then all of a sudden your standing out in your yard yelling at kids to get off your grass. Im not sure Im not done working yet. Hell, I raced the Fat Bike Birkie last March and beat a bunch of people. Should all those people get a eMTB too?

If you really sit and think about it you could realize Im not over thinking this. It’s a big personal decision. And then decide not to do it. At least not yet.

Then….. I think, dude ( I call myself dude), its still a bike. You still pedal it. You still will get a heart rate going. You will still sweat. It’s not a motorcycle. It a bike. Same or close to same geometry as my EX. Same amount of travel. How much more could I ride? How much longer. A two hour ride up in Hayward was getting near my limit. 3 hour max. Now I can ride all afternoon. Deep down I know this will be a good thing. And I just need to get past all the issues in my head. And besides, I have plans to build a kick ass ( Shimano Di2 again this year) fat bike in two months so Im right back to a normal bike when the snow flies so its not this decision will ban be from a pedal bike the rest of my life. Its crazy how one minute Im excited to get it and the next minute I dont want it.

So I should stop typing shit and just get the bike and ride it. And all my insecurities might just go away. So this is the last post on this. At least the last post pre eMTB. Im sure I will have a lot to say after.

DLD

Post eBike Post

So I did get a lot of conversation I must say. All positive. But Im still on the fence. The bike is queued to ship but I just can’t pull the trigger. I’ve had my finger on the button several times and got cold feet each time.

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Yesterday. Rain over the lake.

 So let’s look at this again. There’s no doubt that I could do more with more people with this bike. Super tough trails will become more accessible to me. And by super tough I dont mean technically. I mean vertically. And I can ride them with others who are much faster than I. So thats a good thing.

Now, let’s look at what percentage of that riding I do. Im going to say those situations will be less than 10% of the way I ride today. Maybe 15%. That’s not to say I would do way more of that riding if I had the chance. There’s no doubt I could lay down a 4 hour ride up in Hayward. I can’t today. I would love to ride Marquettes North trail all the way to Ishpeming or Negaunee. I can’t today. So what’s my problem?

My problem is that when Im NOT riding stuff that I need help with Im stuck with a 50 pound bike. Is that a big deal? I dont know. Can I do Marquette’s Down Dogger or Eh Line with a 50 pound bike and not hit any trees? Maybe, again I dont know.

It’s not that I fly down those anyway. When your a guy my size you tend to keep the wheels touching the ground most of the time.

Am I overthinking this? In about three months I’ll build up my fatbike for the winter and its all back to normal then anyway. So thats only three months away. It’s not like Im ditching non assisted bikes altogether. I rode my Checkpoint 20 miles yesterday. See, now I’ve talked myself into it again. So Im heading over to the Treks dealer site and will hover my finger over the button. And get cold feet again. As Nike said, just do it. Maybe I will.

Another weekend is here and Im alone in the store today and tomorrow. So its a working weekend for me. The next week might be a quick run up to Marquette. Will see.

Looks like a great weekend here in Wisco. Get outside.

DLD

EBIKE

This post was not typed in one day. This is a big decision. And one that is tearing me apart. This post is about me about getting a electric assist mountain bike. It’s a touchy subject for sure.

 Today any good bike shop has at least 3 or 4 ebikes in stock. They for sure have their place in the bike world. I’ve sold more in the last 4 months (not MTB) than the last 10 years. Mostly to those who just want to ride farther. Not faster. For commuting. If your not a cyclist and your farthest ride was 5 miles now you can do 25. Again, they do have their place in the cycling world. And I agree that this is a good use.

Enter the eMTB. This is a bike that is very distinctive in what they do. No elderly people buying these. No commuting. Im on the fence here. The bike manufactures show videos of these bikes being ridden by young riders ripping it up. So here they are showing riders that are perfectly able to ride in any terrain but now you can ride said terrain faster. I disagree with this use. And some trail systems are also disagreeing and banning them on their trails. But thats not the reason Im getting one.

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I will be riding this one.

Let’s back up a few weeks. No… a few months. Last fall when I was riding out west my buddy had to adjust their route for me. I just could not ride what everyone else was riding. Thousands of feet of climbing. Having someone pick out a easy route for me and still struggling. That’s not a feel good moment. Fast forward to two weeks ago. On my Sunday ride in Eagle River I struggled terribly. It took me two weeks to say this out loud but I had a terrible time that day on the bike. I walked more than I rode. Sure, I was a ton dehydrated but the effort knocked the crap out of me. That was the start of this thought process.

Today almost all of the people I ride with have to wait for me. Trails I had so much fun on years ago I cannot ride today. So here are my thoughts:

I love MTBing. It’s really the only riding I care about. Last week I decided to ditch my road bike and had me thinking about how much I want to just MTB. But physically Im just not able to ride the way I once did. Some trails I just dont do anymore. Any ride over 1000 feet of climbing and Im done. I’ve always been a big guy and in my youth I could work past that but I just can’t anymore. Bad knees and bad hips. Up until last week I just thought I could lose some weight and ride harder to get back in shape. Ive been thinking that for 5 years now. Its time to face reality.

Currently I pretty much ride alone. I can’t do the rides everyone else is doing now. I used to, but cannot anymore. So my rides are solo. I miss riding with my freinds and the ones I do ride with go out of their way to accommodate me.

Im not going to get faster. Im going to get older. And slower.

This has not been a easy decision. It’s hard to be a true cyclist and ride a bike with a motor in it. It just does not sound right. It’s for sure not the same. Part of riding bikes is fitness.

Here are some specs on the bike.

But this is pedal assist. Not a motorcycle. Am I going to crank the assist up to 11 and ride 30mph in the woods? I am not. This will let me ride with my friends on trail systems I forgot that I could once do. Im not going to rip it up. This will not put me ahead of everyone. It will bring up to their speed. I dont care to go faster. I just want to keep up.

I will never lead, only be happy to once again follow. This bike wont be an addition to my stable. I will sell the EX and this bike will be my one and only mountain bike. Its a leap of faith.

And maybe I will fall in love with MTBing again. And maybe stay that way for quite some time. Head west and climb some mountains this fall. Ride the local trails with the crew.

But in a way, Im giving up. Im admitting to myself that my bike fitness is on the way down the other side of the mountain. But you know what? That will happen to all of us. No one can beat father time. But as I battle father time I will be riding my bike in the woods with friends. And that may mean I win.

Again, I’ve been lying awake at nite thinking about this. But I think Im in it for all the right reasons. And I know some trail systems have flat out said no ebikes. I hope that they would make exceptions for riders like me.

Its looking like I’ll have said bike in 7 to 10 days. Im considering heading up to Marquette on the 11th and 12th for Ore to Shore (not to race of course). And maybe find some friends to ride with.

DLD