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A Pig in Mud

March 1st, 2008 [print] Go to comments

To paraphrase a post on one of my bike forums, "I don’t care how light a bike is, slap heavy tires on it and it’ll climb like a pig in mud."

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Well, on my first ride of 2008, that’s exactly how I felt today.  Not just because my ridiculously light bike had super fat, heavy tires mounted on it.  Not just because the parks and rec department threw a fresh pile of gravel on top of all the trails.  Not just because it was extremely windy…

Nope, it was mostly because I spent the last four brutally cold months sitting on my butt in front of my computer, putting on my winter blubber.  When I get bored, I eat.  And there’s no more boring a time than winter in the mid-west.  This year, no doubt due to global "warming", was colder than any we’ve had in a while.  Plus, instead of waiting until January to hit hard, it started about the middle of November.  Believe me, that’s a lot of time to sit on one’s ass, snarfing down tortilla chips, pizza and ice cream.  And soda.

Okay, and some pumpkin pie, Oreos, Hot Pockets, and anything else I could get my hands on.

Sure, I could have spent the last few months in the gym, as I originally planned, but I had to take a week off in November while they re-did the floors, and after that brief break, I lost momentum.  Screw the gym, I’d rather do nothing.  Which is what I did, and today I paid the price.

Going back to the pig in mud thing, the ride could have been at least somewhat more enjoyable had I not allowed my bike to lead the way.  I guess it missed Rhett’s Run, because I found myself headed that way shortly after I left the house.  Right as I crossed over a strip of ice, going from the main trail and into the ‘Run, I should have realized this place hasn’t seen much sun lately.  Of course, I began to spin out right as I headed up the short path that connects the two trails, but I figured, being at the bottom of a huge hill, the ground would shortly dry up as I began ascending.  That wasn’t case, as my bike was soon covered in more mud than it’s ever seen before…

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Within five minutes of entering the park, there was about a pound of wet mud, leaves and small twigs gathered right behind the bottom bracket between the tire and the chainstays.  My rear derailler was mostly hidden, too (but somehow continued to shift perfectly; must be the brand-new chain), as were both of my rim brakes.  The tires were so caked in the stuff that they essentially became extremely heavy, brown, road slicks.  Later, when I cleaned some of the mud from the sidewalls with a stick, I even found another good-size twig hanging on to the side of my tire, glued there by the mud.  I climbed the rest of the hill on foot, slowly pushing my bike, while using it as a crutch to hold myself up as I sank into the mud.  Two girls passed me, wanting to know the shortest route to the main trail.  Their tires were as heavily covered in mud as mine, and they didn’t seem to be enjoying it any more than I was.

So, there I was, pushing my fat gut and increasingly heavier bike up a hill in the mud.  Just a couple of fat pigs on our first ride of ’08.

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