Monday, September 17, 2007

gravel and sand and rocks--oh my!

On the way up to Tahoe this weekend, I was bragging to Christian about my cycling abilities. Relative bragging. That is, in comparison to someone my age, weight, athletic ability, etc. I don't compare myself to real cyclers. That would just be stupid. But I was telling him how I feel like I can bike pretty fast and climb hills without getting too tired, and how I'm doing just fine without a "granny ring," and blah blah blah blah. Hubris always results in a fatal tragedy, right?

Ok, I wouldn't go to quite that extreme. But I did find it quite ironic that right after I bragged about how I'm not too bad on a bike, Christian and I decide to go mountain biking.

Keep in mind, I have NEVER been mountain biking. I've always wanted to, but it scared me to death. Trail running is way more interesting than road running, so why wouldn't trail riding be way more interesting than road riding? Trust me. It is. And it's a lot scarier, too.

Perhaps I should have started out at home at sea level. But no. I figured if I have no problem running at 6796 feet, why would I have any trouble biking at that altitude? I could not have been more wrong.

To get to the trail behind the Tahoma residential streets, we had to go up one hill. One measly little hill. Right as we got to the hill, I said to Christian, "We have to go up that." What? "And you're going to want to keep going after that, right?" Uh, maybe. "Yes. We're going biking on the trails after this hill." Mmmhmm. I then proceeded to bike up the hill. I felt so proud of myself when I made it to the top and turned around to see Christian walking his bike up the last half of the hill. When he passed me and turned the corner toward the trail, I wanted to say, "I feel like we're climbing Mount Everest," but all I could do was stand there and wheeze in his direction. I couldn't breath! My lungs were on fire. My heart was ready to pop. And Christian was just fine and on his way to the trail. What was I thinking?? Maybe I should have walked.

After my breathing calmed down, we got on the trail and started riding. Scary! Rock here, soft dirt there, bush reaching out to scratch me there, and a log in the trail! "Just bunny hop over it" was Christian's advice. Yeah right. I stopped my bike and carefully maneuvered over the log. And the next. And the next. And the next. Then we had some nice flat single-track trail riding. Very pleasant. Until we started to go down hill. You want me to do what? You want me to bounce around down this single-track trail over rocks and roots and eroded ground? So I did. And all I could think was "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I'm going to bail. Oh my gosh."

After another half hour of this and some tips from Christian, my lungs were back to normal, and I was going up hills, down hills, and bouncing over gravel, sand, rocks, and whatever else decided to get in my way. I loved it. Our hour-and-a-half ride was WAY too short.

I can't wait to go back. It was beautiful. It was challenging. And it's really hard to keep your teeth from getting all dusty when you're smiling on the way down a dirt trail.

Who knows. Maybe in a year I'll be bragging about my mountain biking abilities. Doubtful. But maybe.


LJ said...

You are way braver than me! I don't think I could handle that!

Veronica said...

I wish I could have seen that. I on the other hand would prefer a horse. Did you take a picture of your dirty teeth? Oh, did you guys ever find those bottle rockets in Nevada?