I am now fully aware of the weakest mechanical link in the wold of hardcore biking, the tires. The past few days have been very bad for me and my tires, I have gone through three tire tubes and I am mildly annoyed. Two of the tube failures are decidedly my fault, but one is not so much my fault. This whole process, although bothersome, is a good thing as I am starting to get a good feel for what is and is not acceptable abuse of my tires and I do not believe that tires will end up limiting my aspirations towards being hard of core. In short order, I'll have my bike back in peak condition and get the weakest link title, rightfully, back on my shoulders.
Up until now, I've been discussing the inner tubes of bike tires, now I will move on to the outer treads. Right now, I'm using a pretty good pair of off-road mountain biking tires and they serve off-road purposes quite well and on-road purposes adequately. Adequately, however, is not sufficient for my needs and I intend to get some more specialized treads for my bike. The current off-road treads have standard off-road treading, which causes the bike to vibrate and makes a fairly high-frequency whine when on any hard, flat terrain (asphalt, concrete). The vibrating, whining and low-traction mean that I waste a lot of energy and control when on hard, flat terrain, which I don't like. I am intending to get a pair of mountain bike slicks, which I know to exist, and then use the slicks when riding on paths and roads, and while doing any urban mountain biking (I plan to have so much fun with government center this year). I have no intention of getting rid of my current treads as they serve me incredibly well whenever I am biking on dirt trails or bushwhacking. The next big tread thing will come this winter as I intend to get some studded tires when it snows and have me a whole lot of fun. I really hope that we have some good blizzards this year that will give me a chance to fully exploit studded treads.
As far as my progress towards being hard of core goes, things are slow but steady. My leg endurance and strength are getting up towards where I want them and I am more and more getting the hang of bunny-hopping. My current practice is largely centered around distance biking, going down stairs, going down drops, wheelies and going up stairs. I am really enjoying having my bike, despite my ability to destroy tire tubes.