Don't get me wrong, I can ride a bike, I can ride for more than 180km in one session...I have done that on several occasions training for and during the Ironman...but most of my riding is done in a straight line, on smooth bitumen with no switchbacks.
As part of my "no training" month of April, I thought I would dabble in a bit of non-triathlon specific riding - considering that I do own more than one bike and the A-race are over for the season. Lets face it, triathlon training and racing gives you little to no bike skills whatsoever.
Firstly, I spent time on my cyclocross bike. I wanted to do some re-mounting practice but the park was just filled with (off leash) dogs and people kicking the footy. I couldn't use the main park to do re-mounts so I just decided to ride off track the park, not only on the single tracks but over all terrains. I then rode along the dirt path all around the golf course before I headed home.
I discussed the Dirty Gran Fondo with my partner and he recommended that I ride the mountain bike rather than the cyclocross. So we decided to head back out on the park but ride the mountain bike instead.
I bought a 2nd hand mountain bike during August/September of last year. The frame is a Giant Arete but all the components (I mean everything) has been upgraded. I am not familiar with all the MTB components or lingo but from what my (mtb) people have told me, the price I paid for the bike was a super-duper bargain!
The gears and the braking of the mountain bike took some time to get use to as they behave very differently from the roadie and the CX. I got use to the bike after a few rides up and down some hills and over different terrains. I found it hard initially when the terrain was sandy but I got used to it after learning what needed to be done before I attempt the section - change gears early without losing momentum to one which I can pedal consistently and quick. I found a new level of confidence going over bumps but still hesitant about going down hill especially when it was sandy or filled with thistles or rocks. Why? Because I have no idea how to handle the bike down those conditions and also don't know what to actually do (am I making sense?). The fear of not knowing what will happen scares the bejesus out of me. My abilities got better towards the end of the day but I am hoping to practice some more before I take the bike out to Lysterfield on the 27th April with the Tri Alliance group...