Don Snell

Mountain Biking Sunday May 26, 2024 EDT 
a nomad in search of...
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Tails from the Trails

Don Snell

My 1st Moutain Bike Experience
by Don Snell

I had always been successful throughout my life with various athletic endeavors, so when I was asked to participate in my first mountain bike event, the 24 Hours of Adrenaline, I figured I could walk in there and perform without a hitch. No problem. I had competed in several triathlons and had no problem running 40 kms. on a road bike. My only problem was how would I get a workout that day. It was only an 18 km. relay race...a cake walk.

This invitation came on a Thursday and the race was that week-end. I made my way to the local bike shop to buy a mountain bike. I told the salesperson that I was competing in the 24 Hours of Adrenaline. He asked me if I was experienced. I told him I had been able to ride 35 km/hr on my road bike without really killing myself so this wouldn't be a problem. Even if I rode at only speed, I could still finish the loop in 35-45 minutes. No big deal.

I left the sore with my $600.00 GT looking like a giant slayer. I would show everyone that runners were the real athletes. I was told that clipless pedals were the best way to go, so I put my LOOK road pedals on the bike. I was going to kick some serious ass!!

The morning of the race it was suggested that I do the 1st lap since I was the runner and it was a running start. Made sense to me. It was the 1st time I really noticed the grin on everyone's faces. At the gun I was off and running. I got to my bike in 2nd or 3rd place. This was too easy. I jumped on my bike and attacked the 1st hill. Funny thing though - people were passing me left and right. When I finally got to the top of the hill, my legs were screaming and my heart was pounding. In the span of 3 minutes I moved from 2nd place to 302nd place! Suffice to say, that 1st loop was the most grueling ride of my life. At one point we had to pass through the campground. When I heard the music I figured it was the finish line. I was not as fast as I thought - 63 minutes - but I had made it. I hammered down the hill so that I could finish strong for the crowd and save face. Then I saw it - I was only 2/3 finished into the loop. As I passed by my friends laughing at the pained look on my face, I screamed "never f**king again!!". When the dust settled, my watch read 1 hour 53 minutes. In hind sight I guess it was a little different than road riding.

In fact in was not my last ride. In the time since the race I have become a true hammerhead on my bike. I love it!!! I have graduated from my $600.00 GT to my love of all loves - my Jekyll 3000SX!! Lefty shok, XTR components - I can't believe I know what these mean!! My bike and my friends have helped me through the rehab of an injury that had me in a bad place. My motivation was to be able to hammer through the trails with them once again.

God bless mountain bikes!

-- Don Snell


I had the pleasure of meeting Don as a team member of "TheLoneRiders" on the event day of Chico's 8 Hour Epic. I had a great time riding with him and a greater time laughing at his wacky stories. I can only look forward to the next ride with cool dudes like him. -- TheLoneRider

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