After a really nice 10 mile run yesterday, I was sitting in my empty house (the family is in Oklahoma tending to a sick family member and I couldn’t make it down) basking in the usual runner’s high. I wandered upstairs and checked my email. Nothing much to note except a last minute invite from one of the CMC members to go…
Mountian biking!! Start time? 3:30. Current time? 1:30
“Oh no”… sez I. “I’m pooped. Mebbe next time…”
But I wonder how the old mountain bike is doing…
So I wandered out into the garage to have a look see.
To paint a picture of my beloved old mountain bike, think state of the art, best that money (and lack of good sense) can buy… circa 1993. A GT Zaskar LE frame (top of the line, front suspension), XTR everything (that’s the good stuff, for the uninitiated), ORIGINAL Rock Shox front fork, etc. I built this bike from the ground up (except the wheels) and I would estimate that from 1993 to 1996 when I got hurt, I put over 10,000 miles on it. It has been crashed hard enough to break me (collarbone), fallen off cliffs, ridden through landscapes ranging from swamps to beaches to post apocalyptic wildfire dust and soot, all without a hitch or major failure (except a few chains, etc. mostly from neglect on my part). If there is ever a tornado here, forget the basement, I’m jumpin’ under the bike.
Unfortunately, the age of (and abuse placed on) the components is starting to show, but I can’t afford a new one so I will nurse the old girl along for a while. I at least had the decency to hang the bike up in the garage so I could look at it in shame every time I came home, and it worked. I pulled the bike down and did an assessment. Two flat tires, a sticky front brake and a popped spoke… *sigh*
Out of curiosity I called a local bike shop and asked them how busy they were. The reply was “It’s pretty dead… Whatcha got?” I explained the busted spoke and they said to bring it in.
I walked into the shop and got immediate whistles and ribbing for bringing such a relic into the shop. It was suggested that the Smithsonian might be interested in buying such a piece of history. The brutality of their honesty hurt, a little. The mechanic popped off the wheel and went to work. A quiet whistle of dismay after he put it on the rack let me know there was more to it. The rim was bent. Probably in transit from California. My simple spoke fix was now going to take a hammer to complete. He got it straight “enough” for me to ride, but recommended replacing the rim “soon”. He then politely lubed the chain and the offending brake cable, wiped all of the imported California dirt off of himself (oh… the shame) and shoved my beloved bike back at me with a somewhat repulsed look on his face. Which elicited an embarrassed grin from me. His exact words were “Dude, it’s time for an upgrade”… *sigh*
I paid the brutally honest shop (only $10!! It HAD to have been out of pity), tossed the bike in the truck and took off for the trailhead.
I pulled into the parking lot with 3 minutes to spare (remember the whole “Mebbe next time” thing? *snort*), pulled out my Smithsonian quality ride and tried to remember how to put my bike shoes on. The person who organized the ride pulled up, shocked to see anyone waiting, and after brief introductions, he hopped on his $3500, full suspension monster and off we went.
I had forgotten how the sheer terror of riding the ragged edge makes you feel. And how much I liked it! The ride, although in town and less than a mile from the mall, is intense single track. My bike is really set up for cross country so my bars are wider. Not good for going through the underbrush or between trees. My skills, although rusty, came back quickly (it’s amazing how the fear of death makes you perform) and the bike held together, warts and all, without so much as a decal coming off.
The course is very winding, with lots of ups and downs. It’s beautiful and just challenging enough to give you a real workout and test your skills, without destroying you. However, after a 10 mile run in the morning and this being the first time back on the bike in 3 years, my legs announced that they had had enough and refused to go anymore. We wandered back up to the parking lot (I was so tired, riding on grass was hard) and I called it a day.
So I had this really stupid grin on my face… You know, one of those “heh… that was really fun”, stupid grins?
There is nothing left in the house to eat. I have eaten everything and I am still hungry. Hide the cat.
I bolt upright on the couch, slowly realizing that I had passed out while watching USC get thumped. I’m not sure if it was the effort of the day, or the ball game that knocked me out.
In bed (on a Friday night… mind you)
I am up and trying on some of my old mountain biking clothes. THEY FIT! Time for coffee and food…
There’s a group ride at 9:00… *sigh*
p.s Not that you need to know this, but I don’t have anyone else to tell so you get it… My @$$ hurts… Those of you who ride will understand… 🙂