Ped(al) Lovin’ So Nice, Had to Do it Twice
Big Momma Nature, she can be such a temperamental jokester when she wants to be, but she’s really a nice lady (hey, I may need a favor some day, better stay on her good side). Saturday came and so did the rain, along with the threat of thunder, lightening and tornadoes. As ominous clouds dimmed the day, I looked to the sky and screamed, “Really Mother Nature, really? You knoooooow we’ve been waiting all week for this and you go and pull a stunt like this! I mean REALLY?”. She laughed, parted the darken skies, and smiled sunshine. It was all was good. Let the fun begin!!!!
The Shred Love crew, traveling from points north and south of New Jersey, met up with the wonderful riders from Jersey Off Road Biker Association (JORBA) at Allaire Park in Farmingdale, NJ. Rick, Mike, Frank, “the Other Joe” along with Lucy and Juliann took the Shred Love crew on another spectacular mountain biking adventure.
Preparation is always key for any challenge in life and mountain biking is no exception. Prior to hitting the trails, JOBRA fitted each Shred Love participant with a helmet, water bottle and most importantly a bike. These were no Wal-Mart specials, oh no, these were certified trail tamers: Trek, Giant, Fox, and Cannondale. Frank from JOBRA, ran the team through a series of cone drills to help us get use to taking sharp turns, as well as a lesson in gear management. Once he felt we were ready (and after he got a few more wheelies in), we hit the trail!
The returning Shred Love “vets”, Armani Rae, Jackie, Liz, Savion and of course yours truly, were joined (but not to be out done) by Shred Love Snowboard Alum, Tyson, Wyheem, Jennifer, Jaden, Kayla, and Trey. Also joining the team were new Shred Love teamsters Assemblyman Charles Mainor and his son CJ.
This time around, the terrain was different from the previous trip, but no less challenging. Whereas both parks had their fair share of uphill and downhill climbs, tree limbs, and muddy puddles, Allaire added a new element: sand. The sand, in addition to puddles of water and mud, added an unsuspecting degree difficulty on various turns.
Kayla and Trey, the youngest of the crew, held their own handling the up and down hill climbs, muddy puddles and deep sand. Jaden, being the natural born leader that he is, assisted “the Other Joe” in guiding the team through the rough twisting terrain. Armani Rae and Jackie kept the crew informed of upcoming obstacles along the trail with shouts of: “Lots of Water”, “Muddy Puddles” “Big Limb” “Right Turn”. And even with all of those announcements, we still ended up covered with mud. Charles showed his super human strength by single handedly (with the help of Rick, Wyheem, Mel and Joe) moving a large tree that had fallen across the trail. Way to go Charles!!!!
Reminiscent of going off trail in snowboarding, Rick led Wyheem (an experienced rider) for quick off-trail hits. Not be shown up, Charles followed right on their heels or is that tires. First time rider CJ gave it his all, if he fell, he jumped right back up and got going. By the second time out, he was hard to keep up with.
Tyson, the charming teddy bear of Shred Love, ended up getting a personalized trail tour by Frank and Juliann. They rode with him on trails that challenged his skill set. Like always, he conquered the mission.
Now in the woods, if you’re real quiet, I mean like a whisper, you may hear the strangest thing like, “CHEESEBURGER” and then it echoes throughout the woods. Mike explained that it’s the term used when a team of riders stop to take a break or wait for someone who may have fallen behind. When the team is ready to ride, someone shouts out “Cheeseburger” again to let the leader know to “get moving’.
After a much needed lunch (great sandwiches, but no cheeseburgers) to replenish our energy supply, we hit the trail again. This time around, the JORBA crew set out to really test our mantle. This time some of the trails went from sharp sandy turns straight into rocky tree limb climbs, only to be followed by twisting downhill turns. WHAT A RUSH!!!! However, all too soon, Mother Nature woke from her nap and gave us all just enough time to get home safely before she exploded the sky.
Shred Love would like to thank JORBA, the Trips for Kids program and Clint of Ski Duck for such an incredible opportunity. We had a BLAST. Can’t wait to do it again…. Can you say, Cheeseburger!!!!! ~ Old Man Winter