Today I went and got the Giant back from the doctor. I came home and tried it out, and the gears were all working correctly.
So I decided to hit the trails at Ella Sharp Park here in Jackson. They have a trail system that is maintained by a local cycle club.
I found the park with no problem, but I had some issues locating the trails. I came across a gentleman on a mountain bike, so I figured he would be a good source to find out where the trails were.
I told him I was pretty new, and he pointed me towards a trail that would be good to get my feet wet.
Unfortunately, I didn't find that trail, and instead found one of the more difficult trails at the park. Undaunted, I decided to give it a go anyways.
Man, what a workout. I don't think I've ever worked so hard in my life.
About halfway through the trail that I was riding, I think I got turned around and ended up on another trail. I know this because I went over a part of one of the trails that I know from the map wasn't supposed to be on the trail that I had chosen. This, of course, meant that I had no idea whatsoever where I was at.
After riding around in the woods for about an hour, I finally decided I was hopelessly lost...well, as hopelessly lost as one can be on some trails that are inside a park that is inside a city. I eventually ended up just blazing my own trail through some underbrush and coming out in a field. I knew I was back in the park, but had no idea where in the park. I asked another person if he knew how to get back to the area I knew I had parked in, and he gave me some good directions and I quickly found my way back to the car.
I learned a couple of things while I was out there.
1. Mountain biking is TOUGH. I'm posting this about six hours after I got done, and I'm still sore all over.
2. I need to learn what markers are on the trails so that I can make sure I stay on one instead of getting switched from one to another.
3. I need to practic shifting gears a bit. I was having some difficulty shifting while on the fly through the woods. When I got home I was riding around the neighborhood and was again having some shifting issues, but then I discovered that I don't think it was the bike...it was me. I learned a technique to use while pedaling that was making the gears shift much more quickly and easily. I need to make sure I'm doing that while out in the woods.
Unfortunately, I also found out that my back derailleur might be in need of some tuning. It WAS
working fine before I took it to the bike shop. I'm guessing that it was set to work with the front derailleur not working...and now that the front one is in tune the back one needs to be adjusted. It still switches through the gears just fine, but if I hold it a bit too much it can throw the chain off of the gears and onto the rear wheel's axle. It can easily be fixed instantly, but I think it can be adjusted so it can't do that at all.
All in all, it was a lot of fun. Exhausting. But fun.