The Conservation Of Momentum

This has been up on my Instagram (@jackbaruthofficial) for a few days but I thought I’d share it here in higher-definition form. This was my “progression goal” for last weekend: make it over all eleven box jumps on the “Profile World” flow track. On my first trip here, I made it over nine of the eleven, but I totally “bonked” in the last turn. My bike and I together weigh 281 pounds so it amounts to eleven deadlifts in forty-two seconds while also pedaling.

I’d figured that I would need to spend a month or so doing something differently on the elliptical during the week in order to build the endurance I’d need, but my coach and old friend, Javier Larrea, had a better idea. He re-mapped the line that I use in the beginning of the section. adding an extra jump on the skip-up to the hard uphill left turn. This sounds like it would take more energy than riding it but it actually gives me enough extra momentum to save me two pedals on the way down the second hill, which gives me enough oxygen to pull for the final two jumps. Then he was kind enough to be the camera bike for my run. I actually dropped him a bit in the beginning… there’s something to be said for weight when you’re going down a hill.

My old friend Nick will never realize it but when he died he gave me the final push I needed to start riding again. I don’t have much left in me; too much metal in the left knee and too few ligaments in the right. But I want my son to see me ride with his own two eyes instead of looking at old Digital8 clips. Someday he’ll be forty-five years old and the day may come that he needs a bit of inspiration or motivation to tackle whatever’s ahead of him. I won’t be around to tell him myself. But he’ll remember that his old man was both stubborn and pain-resistant. That goes a long way in this world. It’s not like being handsome or lucky but sometimes it’s enough.

17 Replies to “The Conservation Of Momentum”

  1. VTNoah

    These clips are getting me pumped to ride again. I sold my DK 4 Pack about 7 years ago but now I’m scanning craigslist to pick up a cheap ride to hit up the local park. Have you ever ridden concrete parks? Burlington recently built a really nice one but I know that there’s a bit of bad blood between skateboarders and BMXers when it comes to it. Pegs chewing up the surface, etc… what are your thoughts?

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I’ve ridden a bunch of concrete parks. Used to ride the full-pipe at Louisville around the turn of the century.

      I don’t put a peg on concrete, not never, and I show respect and courtesy to anybody on plastic wheels. That helps me with the skaters… that, and the fact that I outweigh most of them by a hundred pounds.

  2. JD

    What’s the weight of the bike? Ya know, if you feel comfortable sharing your weight. I’d be curious to know the ratio so I can apply it to my weight and try 11 deadlifts that quickly.

    It’s always a weird feeling knowing someone’s death can influence you to start doing something again or doing something differently. People don’t see their family very often and then one person dies and suddenly everyone is together each week for a Sunday dinner. My dad dies and my husband quits smoking even though my dad did not die from smoking. I guess these are better than someone’s death triggering your bipolar disorder that you never knew you existed until you were age 37 or binge-eating until you’re miserable.

    What I’m trying to say is that I am glad to read that Nick has had a positive influence on you to ride. I shouldn’t speak for your son, but from my own experience, I am grateful for the 28 years of memories I have of my dad doing the things he loved doing. I am sure John will tell his stories of riding with you until people are sick of hearing them.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I was 246 this morning. The bike is 29 pounds.

      I’m trying to think of what an equivalent off-the-bike exercise would be. I think it’s this: Put a ten-pound weight on each of your wrists and ankles. Start running. Then jump up in the air and when you’re at the top of your jump, pull your hands and feet into a fetal position. Then straighten out, land, and keep running.

      • Doctor Awesome

        Not to be argumentative, but surely tire pressure plays some part in easing and/or assisting in pumping over ramps?

        With complete innocent ignorance I ask you;. Do BMX dudes worry about tire pressure?

        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          I could write a novel about tire pressure in BMX over the years. Early freestyle bikes were limited to 40psi by the Zytel plastic Tuff Wheels. By 2002 some of us were running special 65psi tires. Today we can go to 110. I run 70 right now.

          • Doctor Awesome

            Again, in ignorance;

            tL;dr I would probably read your book

            as a roadie who weighs ~240# I pump my road tires up to at least 120psi, the current popular trend (among skinny bitches) who ride bikes is to ride (slightly (25 vs 23)) wider tires with lower pressure for more “comfort” also there is some apparent physics that says riding wider tires means lower rolling resistance.

            As a similarly proportioned rider, do you think about fussing with a higher pressure? And what affect does that have on rebound (or whatever the correct term is) that could somewhat assist in pumping over the ramps you’re going over?

  3. Ronnie Schreiber

    This is making me feel guilty. I didn’t ride much last year. My rear wheel really needs replacing but I have what is now a vintage 8 speed Campy Exa Drive Athena group which means tracking down a wheelset with an appropriate freehub, or just buying a new group. My knees could probably use a triple crankset at this point. The best price I can find on an Athena Triple 11 Speed group is about $600. Add hubs and wheels and it’s going to be the better part of a grand. At this point, my spare funds are committed to the Harmonicaster project so I don’t think putting a thousand bucks into my bike at this point is a great idea.

    However, there is a used Campy Ypsilon wheelset on eBay with an 8 speed Record Exa Drive hub for $200 including shipping. Someone else has a new 13-23 Exa Drive cassette for less than $50 w/ shipping. Maybe spending the money on that will encourage me to get off my tuchas this year and ride some.

    • Doctor Awesome

      13-23?!? ditch that fussy triple and get a new 2×11 with a wide cassette!

      Sram makes an 11-36 that can easily be adapted with reliable, cheap non-italian, japanese parts. It would obviously blow your entire budget but Sram also makes an 1×12 with a 10-50, Paired with a 46 or 44 big ring in the front and a 30 tooth little ring I can think of very few hill i’d have to walk up.

      • Ronnie Schreiber

        I’ve been so far out of the bikie world for so long that I don’t even know if a wide cassette will fit my 130mm rear spacing.

        I ended up offering the guy $150 plus shipping and he took it. With the cassette, for about $200 the bike will be in much better riding shape.

        Southeastern Michigan is pretty flat, I’ll see how the knees hold up.

        • Doctor Awesome

          As long as you get riding it’s all good!

          For the record I’m currently rolling an 11-32 on my “aero” road bike. My pride won’t currently let me trade out the 52/36 front for a much more sensible 50/34, but I fear my 37 year old knees may soon .And me face the reality of biology

          • Ronnie Schreiber

            I developed some tendinitis in my right new while recovering from the same injury to my left knee, a tibial plateau fracture, that Jack got not too long ago. My “bad” knee doesn’t hurt but if I torque my right knee the wrong way, usually going up or down on stairs, it hurts.

            On the bike it means I have to really concentrate on a smooth spin and avoid the temptation to power up as that pedal approaches top dead center.

            I figure sore knees are better than the three heart attacks my dad had by the time he was my age.

  4. DirtRoads

    Kudos, Jack. Hell, I’m trying to talk the old lady into a tandem bike so I can just get out in a breeze. She’s too slow to bike with me, and she will never speed it up; too stubborn.

    I doubt we’ll do too many jumps on a tandem though.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      “turned into”

      If anything, it’s an improvement. Given his incandescent talent in other areas, I have to think that his Connecticut middle-class desire to be agreeable turns into a sort of odd feedback loop in interviews.

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