Bike Trials Group Ride – The Ledges – Exeter, RI – November 24, 2021

Preparing to drop gap from one rock to another on my trials bike
This looks a lot smaller than it actually was. It’s one of my higher drops… actually a drop gap onto another rock. Despite knowing I could easily do this, it was still quite intimidating.

For Thanksgiving week, we changed things up a little bit, traveling a bit farther than we normally do for our weekly group ride. We met up at the Rhode Island (moto) Trials Club in Exeter Rhode Island – the same location as the 2019 North American Trials Championship competition, as well as our informal “Turkey Shoot” competition last November. This spot has endless rocks and lines. We barely scratched the surface this week, even though we started a couple hours earlier than normal.

Other than a really nasty loop-out crash that dropped my on my back really hard, I rode pretty well during this session. We also had another rider join us that I had never met – and he’s a damn good rider, which is always fun to watch. He also likes to provide coaching, which is always welcome – I need all the help I can get!

While I miraculously escaped harm during my aforementioned brutally hard crash landing, I do have a new injury that I expect will sideline me for several weeks… or maybe months. I haven’t yet gotten a medical opinion, but it seems like I might have a fairly rapid onset of tendinitis in my left arm now. It seems like it was only at the beginning of this season that my right arm finally recovered from tendinitis – after over a year of physical therapy and at-home stretches and exercises. The right arm injury took several months to gradually manifest; this time with the left arm it went from a vague possibility beginning a couple weeks ago to excruciating pain and inability to ride by the end of this week’s session. This is beyond frustrating to say the least. Nothing sucks more than being unable to ride.

Trials Biking Group Ride – Haley Farm – November 17, 2021

On the rear wheel of my trials bike, balanced on one rock, preparing to hop to the next rock
This is one of the lines that’s harder than it looks. I’ve struggled to ‘clean’ this part of the line for a couple years.

With winter fast approaching and diminishing daylight, the weekly rides are getting shorter. Wednesday afternoons have also been competing with work, family, and university schedules, so our recent gatherings have had fewer riders. Regardless, it’s always a good time.

This week’s ride at Haley farm focused on several lines across on a handful of features. Most of our lines this week focused on basic skills, vs. big ups or drops. One way to make these type sessions even more fun is to play the ground (or in this case, the leaves) is lava. If your tire goes fully onto the ground (leaves), you “burned up”. If you just touch the edge of the ground or do it momentarily, you get “singed”… often followed by the onlookers saying “tsssss!” This led to a rather humorous response for one rider in this edit…

As you can see in this edit, we rode past sunset, trying to eke out every last moment of light to get in as much riding as possible. Winter is coming.

Passion for Your Job

Man standing beside a projector screen in front of workers
Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

Prior to retirement, we spend roughly ⅓ of our waking life at our jobs. Given the amount of time we spend in the workplace with our colleagues, why would anyone choose not to be actively engaged? Even if the work you do at your job isn’t exactly what you want, you’re spending a large portion of your life doing it. You’re also probably interacting with the same people every day as well. If you’re going to invest such a large percentage of your life there with those people, why simply trudge through it or just let it happen to you?

Regardless of what your job is, make it your own and make the workplace better through your efforts. You can do this by building relationships, getting to know your colleagues and teammates, exuding positive energy, initiating and participating in healthy dialogue, generating and implementing new ideas, sharing lessons learned, coaching and mentoring others, and generally leaving your (positive!) mark on the workplace. It’s not about the job per se, it’s about pursuing excellence, exercising your inner genius, and supporting your team. It’s about being the best you can be at whatever it is that you do, as well as making the world a better place through your sincere, personal touch. 

Conversely, if it’s not worth the effort to become deeply engaged with your work and with your team, or worse – you hate what you’re doing – then why are you still there?!?

What’s Your ‘Awesome’?

Everyone has their ‘awesome’ – their unique set of gifts and talents. What’s yours? How are you leveraging it to bring your gifts to the world, both in your professional and personal life? Even if your job isn’t your ideal dream job, how are you bringing your ‘awesome’ to the table in the workplace? What’s holding you back? What if you shared your ‘awesome’ with the world?

Trials Biking – Backyard Session – November 13, 2021

Preparing to gap from a rock to a tire
Preparing to gap to the tire from the rock

Just a chill session at home in my backyard trials area today. The focus was on basics, not any big moves. Most of the riding was on two wheels today, which was a bit of a departure from the norm this year. I also went over the bars and sliced open my knee somehow. Not a big deal, just annoying.

A thunderstorm passed through this afternoon. cutting the ride a little short, though with sunset around 4:30 pm these days, the storm didn’t cut off too much from the ride.

Bike Trials Group Ride: Glacial Park – November 11, 2021

This pretty much sums up my level of success during the past 2 group rides

This week brought us back to one of our favorite locations: Glacial Park. This place has limitless lines and endless rocks on which to play. With daylight “savings” and less daylight this time of year, our riding time is pretty short these days. We also had only a handful of riders this week. And some of us (me in particular) spent a good deal of time struggling or falling down this week. What I’m getting at is that this week’s video is kinda short.

Despite not being able to finish a single line for the second week in a row, I still enjoyed the ride. As I’ve said before, I’d rather have a day of bad riding than a day of no riding.

Trials Biking Group Ride: Hidden Pond – November 3, 2021

This was one of those rides where I literally could not complete any line that I tried. Regardless, it’s always great to be riding my bike, and it’s good to be with friends. It’s also cool being behind the camera as well.

Most of the lines I tried were pretty simple and not that challenging, though I tried a gap that scared me a bit right at the end. I know I can do it, but have to come back again later to try again…not at the end of the ride when I’m tired and I’m under pressure because the rest of the group is heading back to the parking lot.

This Is Why I Share My Trials Biking Experience

Photo by Brett Jordan from Pexels

The other day I stopped to chat briefly with an acquaintance. During our discussion, he asked whether I was still doing bike trials (he had seen some of my videos). I responded that I was definitely still riding trials, and absolutely loving it! He replied that not long ago he had considered starting a new hobby, but was wondering whether he was too old to begin that specific type of thing. Then, he said, he reflected on the fact that I had started trials biking at almost 50 years old (he’s probably 15-20 years younger than I am). He caught me off guard (in a good way) by saying that my trials biking had inspired him. If I could start trials at my age, then certainly he could certainly start his new hobby. So he did!

There are two reasons I share my trials experience with anyone who will listen: (1) I want to grow the sport here in the US – both overall awareness and the number of riders, and (2) I want to inspire people to chase after their passions and do things that are challenging, regardless of their age!

Learning that my experiences in trials biking had inspired someone to take action, to stretch and try something new lifted my spirits that day. My hope is that this blog and my other social media channels (YouTube and Instagram) will inspire others as well, whether they decide to ride trials or do some other difficult thing (if it does, let me know with a comment or via the ‘contact‘ page).

Reaching ‘middle age’ doesn’t mean you have to stop learning or doing things that are physically or mentally demanding. I would encourage you to stretch yourself. Try something new. Do something different. Push yourself to grow and excel. Pursue new goals, or chase dreams that maybe you thought were out of reach. You still have plenty of life left at fifty.

Trials Biking: Nichols Field – November 1, 2021

Rear wheel dropping off the end of a log with the sun behind me
Sometimes the lighting creates some pretty cool shots. I love the lighting effect with the sun behind me.

Despite feeling terrible Monday morning, I really wanted to do some trials riding, and had been itching to go back to ride at Nichols Field. In addition to the rocks and other fun trials riding features, Nichols Field has baseball/soccer fields, a basketball court, hiking trails, a small playground, a gazebo, and a disc golf course. Of course I mainly care about the rocks. Lately every time I’ve wanted to go there, a kids’ sports event is happening. I’d rather not be a huge distraction to the kids while they’re playing soccer or whatever.

I don’t know if I’ve been fighting some sort of bug or what, but I felt tired, out of breath, weak and shaky Monday morning. You know, the perfect recipe for hopping bikes all over rocks and stuff. Anyway, I pushed through it the best I could, but tried to avoid doing any big moves.

It ended up being a decent two hour ride on a perfect, gorgeous fall day. I sessioned a few features before having to pick up my son from school – I took the day off from work, and he had a half day, so it worked out perfectly!

Trials Biking Group Ride: Colonel Ledyard Park – October 28, 2021

Tim getting ready to drop off a rock on his trials bike
Probably my highest drop ever (so far). It’s higher than it looks; the ground quickly slopes away toward the tennis courts

A nor’easter ripped through the area Wednesday bringing strong winds and heavy rains (thankfully instead of snow) on Wednesday, so this week we rode on Thursday instead. We figured Colonel Ledyard Park would be a bit drier than the woods after all the rain.

Looking back through my YouTube group ride videos, apparently we hadn’t ridden there since mid-July. In that time I’d made some progress in my skills, balance, and control, as well as my level of fear for riding some of the obstacles. I was able to do some lines that I had struggled with before, and did some bigger drops – one from a very rickety picnic table (my first time doing that) and one from a rock that I’d tried before unsuccessfully (which resulted in an absolutely spectacular bail. This time I nailed that drop… a couple times.