Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bike the Bay

So it's been awhile since the last post and I must say that my body is responding to the challenge I set forth almost 3 months ago. I see progress, real progress. Granted it's not earth shaking or such, but I see and feel it and that's all that matters. I'm not ever gonna race a bike, but I am going to kick what ass I can and have fun and regain some youthful edge while I'm at it.

So... I decided to sign up for a sponsored bike ride. Woot! Look out here I come folks... But wait we go across the Coronado Bay bridge:

Well I'm just a little afraid of the damn things now aren't I, so I signed up for this and forgot that little bit of my self? Hmmm I'll have to tough it out I guess, I'm sure there will be others in the same boat so get with it man. It's a flat run and the bridge is the only real terrain and obstacle I'd see so I focused on overcoming any issues with the bridge and let the rest be.

Ah yes the rest...

As in hordes of people, of varying ability and gear. Most were roadies in spandex I'd say and many of them weekend warriors (I probably fall into that category sans lycra...). I stood in the staging line chatting with a couple of older guys and had some good laughs with them, then after about 30 minutes of this it was my time to fly...

Although it isn't a race, they are some who feel the need to compete, and that's perfectly natural and sometimes dangerous as we shall see...

The bridge transit was perfectly fine, my efforts at minimizing my phobia had paid off, I only felt a small twinge of fear as I rode over. I maintained focus on my task, I did not look over to the left and kept an eye out for potential wrecks. All was well until mile 8.5...

The problem with large bike rides is the sheer amount of people all going in the same direction on a standard bike path, now if all were of the same or similar mind fine, but this ride had as I mentioned many different riding abilities (mine included...), so the propensity for some to want to break away from the pack(s) is increased. I was in this mindset as well, and it worked... for a while.

I came up upon a small group as I was trailing an older gent on a newish Schwinn road bike that had a squeaky pedal and I was doing a fairly fast clip. I had let him get ahead of me because of the varied clumps of other riders here and there. In front of me was a gal who had someone in front of her. So in perfect form we both decided to pass our obstacles together. I was left with little room save for the rough shoulder to my left. I had just used it before and it was perfect. This looked a bit less so, but I had no choice so I went for it. The problem was I had too much berm to get back up on, and this was my undoing.

I flipped and rolled.

The gal who had been in front of me watched me go down and did say that I had perfect form in doing so, so I am good at something...

That 'gal' turned out to be a real sweetheart and has a name too! Lonna felt terrible feeling she had caused the problem, but I told her otherwise that it was my own poor judgment in speed and conditions that was to blame, not her. She did help me out and sacrificed a bandanna and some water to soothe my wounds. Having no ill will and seeing that her and her friend, Karen were genuinely good folk and avid cyclists, I rode with them both on and off the rest of the way. Karen kicked both our butts on her Electra Townie, a bike of modest design and such but a good inspiration to any and all who just want to ride. Karen is also an evangelist for the bike, she does her best to sell them at any turn regardless of the fact she has no connection to Electra other than product ownership.

Lonna and Karen

So I rode on, what could I do right? Some pain, some gain, why not. Later after a quick sprint to pass a group, I met up with Gary, who was glad that I had just done so as he needed it and was feeling a tad winded because he was on my left the whole time. We chatted about various biking subjects and parted just before the finish line promising to keep an eye out for one another. Which is what these events are about it seems; Camaraderie.

I had one younger gent tell me later I was his hero, because I had only one gear and his 27 couldn't keep him from feeling the pain. To him I say: "In time, my son, in time. Work on it and don't let up. In no time you'll be fit and fine."

As for single gear folk, I saw a handful of fixed gears, one nice chrome Bianchi track bike and no other freewheel single speeds such as I was running. It doesn't surprise me, SS is not hipster and no one thinks of the value of being able to coast on one gear.

Well I do, and it's helped me immensely.

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