***Warning long and rambling
Amidst my dog sitting duties and preparing for a hectic week, I decided to forgo an early morning ride. Once I was ready to go, the temperature had already climbed to 90F and rising. I knew that if I went for a ride at that time, I’d be a couch potato for the rest of the day. So I continued on with the boring stuff---housecleaning, bike maintenance, packing for a business trip, e-mails, etc. By 430 in the afternoon I couldn’t stand it anymore, I changed into my bike clothes, got the singlespeed out and decided it was still too hot. An ice-cold glass of gatorade down, an hour of mindlessly watching “Grease” and finally it was bearable. Temps were still hovering around 90 but there was a nice breeze.
Riding to the trailhead was quite pleasant since my singlespeed is geared for the “hills”. Hardly anyone was on the road or bike path and I allowed my thoughts to wander. When I reached the trail, I had to start working hard, focusing on maintaining my balance while off of the seat and getting up the first steep section. Pumping up the tires to 40psi helps on the road and less steep climbs but I came dangerously close to slipping on one loose section. I powered it out, had a slight rest on a flatter grade before the next climb started.
The silence was almost eerie. No one was out, the manzanita is still black and bare from the fires last summer and the only sound was the crackling of the wind rushing through the grasses. It almost sounded like a rattlesnake rattling. As I continued up towards the ridge, the headwind kept gusting stronger---which helped in the comfort/cooling department---but required more effort to climb since I couldn’t weasel out and drop down a gear. Sometimes I felt like I was pedaling and standing still. Eventually I got up to the ridge, enjoying the solitude. I pedaled slow, gazing at the city below and the mountain ranges in front of me. All the cares of the world left me. Based on how few people I had passed on my way up the mountain, one bike rider, I figured I would have a fairly clear shot down. Swooping around the curves, down the mountain, through the shaded canyon was refreshing after the climb.
As I exited the park, I saw a dad riding with his young daughter. I looked like she had just gotten her training wheels off her first bike but she was happily pedaling away from him. She was definitely a little mountain biker in the making!
Rides like these always put a great big smile on my face. It was a perfect way to end the weekend.