Sunday, December 9, 2007

I ride alone but it doesn't bother me.

Endurance athletes have a whole crazy concept of what constitutes a long workout. Unfortunately I am not one of them. I am queen of sprinting on the treadmill at 9.0 mph in order to get really tired quickly and not have to run anymore. I was a sprinter/hurdler in track, a wing in rugby and consider my competitive advantage my speediness more than any sort of endurance nonsense. So it is interesting that now I am trying to do these endurance events. I think it is the challenge of something I am inherently not built for. That and two straight years of knee issues where sprinting is difficult and slow endurance activities are the only thing you are allowed to do.

So anyway, for endurance athletes, a three hour bike ride is just a normal jaunt in the park. I am not an endurance athlete however , so my quick mtb bike ride Saturday afternoon that ended up being a three hour bonk fest, was a bit exhausting. Since my normal biking buddy Sarah is rowing across the Atlantic, I am riding more and more on my own. I used to be afraid that if I mountain biked on new trails by myself, I would go off a cliff and die a lonely death. But I am somehow over that and now just assume I would break my leg close enough to the path to yell for help.

Saturday, I got ready to go for a quick ride while on the phone with a friend, so I ran out of the house without really thinking bringing no food or camera, and only filling up my camelback halfway. I road a part of a trail in South Mountain that I haven't ridden ever which hooks up with a trail I am very familiar with, the Desert Classic. The beginning of the trail was a pretty cool uphill slog of big rocks and climbing. I was fresh so felt pretty good and was pleasantly surprised how technical this ride was. About an hour in, I stopped to drink some water and realized that I was still a ways from the portion of the trail I know. But I was having a good time and didn't want to turn around yet. I hate hate hate not getting to the end of something, turning around early is really hard for me. Maybe something cool is around the corner!

So I decided just to keep going and if I had to take the road back, I would. I knew it was only around 10 miles of trail to the other end which isn't bad if you are in shape, but my acl-less knee might not enjoy 20 miles of trail out of the blue. So once I got to the part of the trail I knew, I was flying (at least in my mind). Wet sand is sooo much better to ride on than dry sand. Loving life, I reached the other end in 1 hr and 45 minutes as clouds rolled in and thunder started sounding.

I decided to take the road back for expediency and since I was running dangerously low on water and had no food. Problem was, I hadn't realized I was riding with a back wind the whole time (climbing will take away that advantage) and all of the sudden, I was tired and trying to ride into ridiculous headwind. Not to mention this road biker kept passing me like I was going still as he weaved in and out of neighborhoods. I think he was laughing at my big dirty tires.

Finally I was getting fed up with the road and I came upon a road cutting down into a wash back into the mountains behind the house line. I thought maybe that would be a short cut to the parking lot my car was it which was behind the house line also. At the very least, it would at get me out of the wind. The trail was fun and wet with sections of it actually consisting of running water, which is such a treat to see in the normally dry rock pile of a mountain range.

I was happy with my decision until the trail starting climbing the mountain again. It became almost unbikable uphill and at this point I was bonking pretty bad. After summiting a ridge, it dumped me down into a million dollar neighborhood on the top of a private mountain. I was then had to scale an 8 foot fence with my bike to get out of the neighborhood before finally making it back to my car. Tired dirty hungry and happy was a pretty accurate description of how I felt. I would guess I did about 12 trail miles and 10 road miles on about 1 liter of water. Not my smartest move ever, but, it made my cookie and wine party that night seem much more earned.

I forgot to take my camera, but snapped these pics from the top with my cell phone. Not bad for a cell phone camera.


Bill said...

Ride with us Saturday. 40 miles...lots of fun & easy. Flag to Sedona soon. So...?


la chaser said...

Saturday sounds good. Is it mostly road or canal path? Is there any trails involved? How fast will the pace be? I am most likely interested. Drop me an email with details (ruggerluv at gmail)