My First Time (In a Bike Park)
Updated: Sep 13
Some weeks ago I had multiple first-time experiences. I, both, visited a bike park and rode a full-suspension-mountain-bike for the first time ever. While it will not make a long blog, I still would like to talk about the experience and what I had taken away from it.
We had chosen the Bikepark Sammerberg for our first-time experience, mostly because it is really close to our hometown of Munich. I had rented a bike there, while Clemens would bring his trusty full suspension, that had just carried him over the Alps. I first thought about bringing my hardtail, but quickly decided against it. I wanted to know how a full-suspension felt like.
And it took me barely one ride to figure out that a full suspension has vast advantages over a hardtail. For one my hands did not hurt like hell from the vibrations. And I was able to immediately increase my riding skills by a substantial level.
But let me start at the beginning: After arriving at the parking lot, I first went to pick up my bike and all my protective gear. Since I owned nothing of the sort and fully expected to have a major crash on my first day I went with the full package: Back and chest plate, elbow, and kneepads. And a full-face helmet to complete my space ranger look. On setting up my bike the, a little bit unfriendly, employee had asked me if I had prior experience in a bike park. I, of course, took the traditional route of not admitting to my weaknesses and lying to him and told him yes. What I had not prepared for, was the follow-up question of where I had been before, but luckily for me, I had just come from my Transalp, and was, therefore, able to claim to have ridden some black trails inside the “Bike Republic Sölden”. Which was technically correct, which is the best kind of correct.
But of course, these, close to nature trails, have nothing to do with the shaped flowy downhill a bike park has on offer. And that I found out the hard way during my first ride. Immediately I went the fastest I had ever dared to go on a bike. Shortly thereafter I cleared the highest jump I had ever attempted. Only to, seconds later, slide through the steepest berm I had ever seen. And while I was able to stay on my bike, I basically had to hold on for dear life, while only ever reacting to what bike and trail did with me.
I arrived at the bottom completely exhausted, with shaking legs and numb knees. And I honestly thought to call it quits after that one singular descent. But then I would have to face up to the bike shop employee. So, I clearly chose the better option and went back to the lift. Riding the lift with the bike had been a challenge the first time around, but this time I almost doped my bike, got thrown off the lift myself and generally made a fool of myself.
The second lift ride of the day marks the lowest point of the day. Because immediately upon starting the second descent I could see my skills grow in front of my very own eyes. I was way more confident on the features I already knew and hit them way better than on my first attempt. But I also, very quickly, started to include new features into my riding routine. After two rides I was using the wooden wall rides to their full height, on my third ride I jumped of a meter high tabletop, on my fourth I was able to chain my jumps perfectly on the jump line and on the fifth I successfully cleared a feature I had deemed impossible for me on the first descent.
And after my fifth ride of the day, I got a call from my employee. They informed me that, after three months of pause they were ready to resume operations. And at that point, I could not have been happier to be offered the chance to take part in this effort.
So, after five more, awesome, descents I went home and started to pack my gear. And this is how I ended up back on board. Currently, I am stationed on AIDAperla, which has become some sort of my home vessel during the last years. And I could not be happier to work again with my amazing team and be part of this gargantuan effort to return to normality after our Corvid-19 break. But this also means I have much less time to devote to this website for now. And I am quite sad for it, as I was able to gather quite a substantial base during the last weeks.
But as we will be laid up at sea during our ramp up, and this will take us until the beginning of September, I will not be able to go outside and have some great adventures to tell you about. So please be patient during the next four weeks, I will still try to keep you entertained with some smaller stories. And I would like to close with the same tag-line my company has used all throughout Corvid-19: #WeWillBeBack