When we started riding seriously (as opposed to riding comically?) we decided that we'd put our time and effort into road riding. Oh we kept the Gary Fishers but that was only for the occasional fun trail ride. Right?
After all, the serious guys and gals were road riding. The Mountain Bikers were just goofing off. Right?
Hey, we're all entitled to be wrong from time to time. I mean, I'm right most of the time. Well, some of the time. Ok, from time to time. Occasionally.
Lu and I decided to take a nice trail ride Saturday. We loaded up the Fishers and headed to old Ft. Ord for a nice, leisurely day. Well, that's how it started anyway.
We parked at the start of a nice, flattish fire road and headed off. We climbed to the top of a spine of hills that runs parallel to the road. Not too bad but still we were puffing a bit at the top. Still, just goofing off. Right?
Down the back side with a little trepidation. After all, we'd have to climb back up it to get back to the truck. Ah, what the heck, it's an easy trail ride. Should be no problem. Right? Right? Please tell me I'm right.
As we wended our way down the trails we came upon a piece of SRAM tape across the trail. It looked suspiciously like someone was laying out a course. Cool! We'd ride around the course and see what the MTB folks called a race. Can you see where this is going?
I knew you could.
Down we went, around the flat sections, commenting on the layout and wondering about the race. Then we got to the uphill. Or should I say the uphills jumped out and smacked me in the mouth.
Man, it's harder to climb when you're turning a knobby on soft dirt as opposed to a skinny tire on asphalt. A lot harder.
Should I have anticipated this? Should I have been a little less confident in my ability to climb those hills while out for 'just a nice trail ride'? Do ducks fart underwater?
Why yes, I think they do.
Switchbacks. Soft dirt. Narrow single track. Bushes. Bumps. Washboard. All while climbing straight the hell up! It was leg breaking and I'm not ashamed to say I got off and pushed at one point. Well, maybe a little bit ashamed. Especially since Lu 'The Chick Climbing Machine' didn't seem to have the same problems. At one point she got so far ahead of me on a climb she actually came back and goaded me to continue. Such a comedienne. I'm married to the Shecky Greene of bicycling.
We finished and I was cooked. Spent. Bonked like Lurch's head in a backyard playhouse. I won't even say how far the ride was but suffice it to say it was just about the distance of one lap of the race. And the race beginners do 3 laps. Ouch. This mountain biking stuff is hard.
We went back on Sunday to see the actual race. Got a good spot and watched the suffering. Good fun that. And you know what? We really enjoyed it. The mountain bike folks seemed a little bit more friendly that the average road biker we run across and they were having an absolute blast.
We talked to a really nice guy named Joey from a group who call themselves the Highway 68 Hillbillies. They seem to concentrate on riding, racing from time to time and drinking large quantities of fermented beverages. Good bunch. Joey gave us the info on the races and the website for the organizer, Central Coast Cyclo-Cross. http://www.cccx.org/. Lots of races, lots of categories, lots of pain and seemingly lots of fun.
After the race I went home and checked them out. Hey, there's a beginner age 45 to 54 class. The next race is March 29th. It's just a few miles away.
Lu says she'll pit crew for me. I think she's just trying to talk me in to it so she can watch me suffer and laugh at me.
I haven't decided whether I'm going to do it or not for sure just yet but I am leaning toward a yes. If I do it I'll post results and pics here.
What the heck am I thinking?