Awaiting my bike!

So this weekend I went out, test road the 2 bikes I have been looking at for the last 5 months, and put down a few bucks to hold the last in stock Specialized RockHopper 29er!

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I’m super excited about this bike for many reasons. The biggest reasons are; saving on gas, getting in shape without having to run, and getting back to something I used love. Before I got my license I road my bike everywhere! I had a single speed redline BMX bike. Tough to pedal uphill, tough to maintain downhill speed gain, super uncomfortable to pedal sitting down, and not great for going long distances. The furthest I remember riding in one day was 20 miles each way to the “mountain bike” trails and riding probably something like 7-8 miles of trails. A few of my friends made the ride on bmx bikes but most of them were on mountain bikes. The bmx bike handled the trails ok but not great. The mountain bike I will soon own is going to be pretty good on all but the tightest trails and will also handle nicely on long rides. I’m hoping the bigger wheels will make each mile a little easier than on a 20″-26″ bike. When I took it out to test ride it I only got to do a couple laps around the shop but I could tell the bike was definitely for me. The brakes are super responsive, the riding position was very comfortable, the ability to lock the front forks while riding seems convenient, and it felt pretty solid on the gravel/grass area I rode on. I definitely plan on doing some long distance rides with this bike, hopefully frequently, so the front fork lockout feature will be a wonderful thing! Also with this bike, I intend to tow around my kayak on a trailer system either from WIKE trailers or I’ll build something similar. The biggest advantage to this will be not having to carry my kayak a mile or two down to launch at this one spot I really like. What I currently do is drop my kayak in about 2 miles away and paddle over. That wastes a lot of time that I could spend either fishing there, paddling around looking at the wildlife(this spot is the quietest area with the most to look at), or biking through all the scenery. I think being able to ride my bike and then go kayaking will be great on those longer distance rides. If nothing else it will serve as a secure area to hold my camping gear, clothing, spare parts, etc. I’m absolutely a beginner when it comes to long distance riding so any advice will be greatly appreciated. As far as spare parts and tool kit, I’m planning on taking these items; two spare tires(probably going tubeless right away), a few chain links, 2 cables, a few spokes, hand pump, spoke wrench, chain tool, a few various wrenches for fixing on the road, and of course, duct tape. I’ll have my new bike within a month, hopefully sooner though, so check back to see what I think of the bike once I get to ride it for a few miles. Also check back for the trailer idea, I will probably end up building my own to save some money but who knows. If anyone have any input on trailers or distance riding, I’d love to hear from you, shoot me an email Sean.Dziedzic@gmail.com.

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Rock Climbing and the Rice Workout

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Indoor rock climbing actually. Central Rock Gym here in Hadley, Ma is an incredible place for anyone who wants to learn how to boulder, top rope(belay), or lead climb. The place is huge!

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The bouldering area is along the side wall of the building and a few hundred feet long. It has some very very challenging holds, and some rather easy ones. I’m by no means good at indoor rock climbing. I have a lot of fun doing it on the area mountains but this was totally different. I used muscles I didn’t even know I had. And with indoor rock climbing not only does it give your body the work out of a life time, it gives your mind a work out as well. You have to plan out each step and each movement of your hand, and if you make one wrong move you will likely fall down and have to start over. At CRG they use a rating system for each planned out climb. For bouldering they all begin with V followed by a number 0-10 for degree of difficulty. I was doing mostly v0-v3 yesterday but did complete one v6 and was very proud of myself. I didn’t get to check out the top roping or lead climbing because you need to go to a short class on how to do it which I missed. I’m hoping to get out and do that this week though. I think the coolest part about CRG is how willing to help everyone is. I was having some trouble on a few of the routes so a guy came over and showed me how he would do it. After watching him I got it pretty quick. The hardest part is having the strength in your fingers to hold on. All in all it was super fun and I will be going back very frequently!
As far as preparing your hands and fingers for this, just try this workout for hands of steel! For this work out all you need is a bucket and at least 20 pounds of rice. You may need more rice or two buckets depending on the size. First thing you do is throw on a short sleeve shirt and pants that you can flex a little bit in for one of the exercises. Each one of these excercises you should do 5-10 repetitions followed by as short a break as you feel comfortable with before moving to the next. And now on to the workouts!

1.) Stab your hands into the rice, make a fist, pull your hands out and repeat.
2.) Stab your hands into the rice, spread your fingers as far as possible and pull your hands out palms facing down.
3.) Push fists into the rice, rotate in one direction for 15-20 seconds, then switch directions.
4.) Push fists into the rice, move them side to side keeping your arms stationary sort of like making a “U” side to side. Do this for 15-20 seconds.
5.) Push fists into the rice, move them forward and backward keeping your arms stationary sort of like making a “U” front to back. Do this for 15-20 seconds.
6.) Place open hands on top of rice, take large pinches of rice quickly for 15-20 seconds.
7.) Touch your fingers to your thumb, dig into the rice, spread your fingers and thumbs out wide, and repeat.
8.) Dig your thumbs as deep into the rice as you can and repeat.
9.) Stab your hands into the rice, grab a handful of rice and squeeze as hard as you can then repeat.
10.) Follow number 9 only this time stand in an athletic stance and stop after one time. This to me is more to show you the difference in power when you’re standing rather than kneeling. And the first couple times I did it I felt it in my back, probably from the stance.

That’s it, how’d you do? Most people say this was super easy and it’s a pointless workout, but try it after you’ve rock climbed for a few hours. And trust me the soreness does not set in instantly, you’ll feel it the next morning. Good luck and maybe I’ll see you out at CRG.