Or at least, my world is a funny place.
In a blink of an eye, I went from working for inGamba Tours and traveling the world with a bunch of shaved-legged, power number crunching, gram-counting, Strava checking, prosecco consuming roadies to hanging out with a bunch of baggie short wearing, hairy leg having, sag checking, flat pedal pedaling, beer drinking, shuttle taking mountain bikers.
Now not all the folks that work at or wear Kali helmets are fat tire fatties, we do sponsor a road team, some triathletes, a few gravel riders and a whole bunch of BMX riders.
But the culture definitely slants towards the pickup truck tailgate-sitting mountain biker set.
And for me this has caused a bit of a culture shock.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely unfamiliar with the activity of mountain biking. Hell, I bought my first mountain bike before there was suspension and then proceeded to save all my “extra” money to buy a RockShox Mag21, so I could experience this new fangled thing called a suspension fork.
But it turns out, while I have been commuting by bike, riding the road and doing some “mountain biking” in the Oakland Hills, the real world of mountain biking has passed me by.
I got dropped.
And my attempt to chase back on has been a bitch.
First of all, the trails have gotten deeper and steeper.
The bikes have gotten bigger and more capable of, well, just about everything.
And the riders have gotten more “bruh.”
Okay, the mountain bike riders aren’t any more “bro” or “bruh” then they were before, but it is just a little bit harder to infiltrate the club now that I’ve been away for awhile and I’ve grown a little to grey.
Now, I’m not talking about the type of mountain biking the “roadies” of my previous life were participating in. You know, the kind where they pull on their lycra road kit, throw their leg over their 20-pound carbon wonder whip and pound out 50 miles of dirt, where the up is almost always more important than the down.
I’m talking about mountain biking where the riders hire vans to drive them to the top of whatever mountain there is, any pedaling is frowned upon and the riders are more concerned about the alcohol content of their beer, than the calories in their power gels.
I am not ready for this type of activity.
My shorts aren’t baggie enough.
My shoes aren’t clunky enough.
My jersey is a nudge too “aero.”
My legs aren’t hairy enough.
And my bikes not big enough.
Well, not all is lost, as I have solved the first problem. I’ve bought myself a big ol’ bike to make up for my lack of talent and to try and fit in with my new peeps.
There are plenty more lessons to be learned and shit to buy and this makes me happy.
Let the deep and the steep journey begin.