Wednesday, July 04, 2007

07/04/07 Holiday Mountain Bike Ride

I decided to use my day off to train (my rear end) for the mountain bike portion of the Scout Adventure Race which is coming up on July 14th. So I went to my favorite trail run, Sullivan Canyon in the Santa Monica mountains. It was a beautiful day and Sullivan provided lots of shade. Unfortunately, this trail was also as busy as the 405 freeway during rush hour. As I started at the trailhead, I saw two fellow Mountain Goat trail runners, Peggy and Rob. I said "hello" to them and got no response until I added, "It's me, Angela. You probably don't recognize me on two wheels." They briefly greeted me, then turned around and mumbled something that sounded a lot like the word "traitor."

I continued up the path just as many bikers were coming down it. Faced with the sudden prospect of repeated head on collisions, I tried to quickly remember the proper trail etiquette: Downhill bikers yield to uphillers, or was it the other way around? When in doubt, I figured it couldn't hurt to pull off to the side of the trail no matter which way I was going. Of course, this led to quite a few standoffs where both I and the opposing biker would simultaneously dismount and command each other to "go ahead." It got to the point where I was getting more exercise simply mounting and dismounting than I was from pedalling. As I made my way farther up the trail, there was less traffic, but I still had to dismount for the occassional tree trunk across the path because my bike jumping skills are non-existant (and I have the scars from previous attempts to prove it). In fact, when I stepped one leg down to contemplate the best way to get over another tree trunk, I actually tipped over and fell to the other side, so just the thought of jumping an obstacle causes problems. I snuck a guilty glance to make sure no one saw my tumble, then reminded myself that it might not technically be a "fall" because I was actually standing still at the time. Falls = zero, Tip Overs = 1. Then I walked the bike over the jump. It didn't help when a 40-something year old mom, and her three little kids all zoomed right by and gracefully jumped over the same tree without the slightest pause. Not to be deterred, I forged ahead until I reached a pretty steep gulley or trench or whatever you call a 15 foot downhill followed immediately by a 15 foot uphill. After seeing small children whizz through the air with the greatest of ease, I was both humiliated and inspired. The inspired part of me really wanted to tackle that gulley, but there was some sort of official pit stop party taking place on the other side where about 7 riders casually munched on energy bars and seemed to be waiting for some form of entertainment as they looked in the direction of the gulley. Determined not to suck at this sport any more than I already had during the past 45 minutes, I decided to dismount the bike and inspect it for some sort of mysterious technical problem. Relying on my acting background, I pretended to adjust important looking gadgets and hoped the audience would continue on their way soon. Unfortunately, I now think that the peanut gallery was on to my stalling tactics because they slowed down their consumption of food to ESPN super-slow-motion speed. Then, of course, who should appear but the Mom and her kids, hooting and hollering on their way back through the gulley towards me. That did it. I decided that I could not take any more embarrassment, nor could I afford to risk further injury less than two weeks from the race so I turned away from the Trench of Terror and went back down. When I finally reached the end, I realized that I could have completed the same distance in less time if I had been running and carrying my bike. At least then I wouldn't have had to spend all that time getting off and back on again.

Driving with the bike on the back of the car - hopefully this is legal during the race...

1 comment:

Lorenzo said...

Don't look so unhappy. You rock.