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2004/03/21 Mountain Biking in the mountains this time.
π 2004-03-21 17:46 by Merlin in Exercising

Current Music: Paul Oakenfold - Great Wall / Jon B - Mercury Skies
Current Mood: Exercised out :)

So, that was it, I just had to go try out that new mountain bike, where it was meant to be used: a mountain (MonteBello off Skyline et Page Mill, where Xav took me most times we went together).
I got (drove that is) to the top around 09:30 and realized that I had forgotten to take my biking gloves (helps quite a bit when you are rushing downhill in stones and dirt: the bike shakes a lot and your palms get all of it). Oh well, at least I had plenty of water and advil ;)

Anyway, I went down the rather steep incline filled with sand and stones, where the trail begins, and about 20secs later, I had flown over the bike and ended up in some bushes (this so sounds like a blog I read recently, not even funny...).
That was kind of vexing since I had never fallen from any of my bikes, but the good things is that due to the terrain, I was going really slowly (it's hard enough to stay in control as is), and I ended up with minor injury to my left knee (the one not protected by the light brace I wear, go figure...)

I realized right away that my seat was just too high for the terrain and the slope, causing my center of gravity to be way too high (gee, funny how physics works).
After lowering my seat (and being very happy that being a good engineer, I had brought my tools with me), I went back onto the trail.
My first path up just didn't work as I found out that my chain would wedge itself if I downshifted from 3rd to 1st on my front gear (and this repeatedly, which made taking paths up a bitch. I'll have to get that fixed)

I was a bit leery of what was going to happen because of how poorly I performed last time I went with Xav (many months ago, in the middle of my 1 year exercising break, and ouch, did I suck), but I was feeling great, if not a bit apprehensive of the new bike, and its handling in turns and terrain with minimal traction, and its brakes.
So, while I didn't have what it took to go balls out on the way down, it was just as well considering and I got to the creek at the bottom in one piece. Crossing it was fun considering the water level, but somehow, I didn't end up in the water (I even managed to make every single turn on the twisty slope down, without setting my foot down once).

After that, was grizzly flat (BTW, if I ever catch the sick bastard who named a 4km 330m (1000-foot) climb a 'flat', I'll make sure to convey my appreciation to him). I knew that I had my shi^H^H^Hstuff together when I got to the top after 26mn, a bit tired, but without having stopped once, or even lost my balance or traction in the couple of dicy places on the way up (if your gear is too low, you get too much torque and your back wheel spins in the dirt, you stop, you set your foot down, and you lose, and if your gear is too high for your leg muscles, you can't pedal up, and you stop and lose too :)
Heart rate on the way up was 165 to 175 sustained, not too bad.

After crossing skyline, and going down, a moment of panic took me when I arrived at a crossroad: left or right? Xav was saved by the fact that I had just lost my last bar of cell reception, so I didn't get to call him and wake him up to ask him :)
(ok, turns out he was actually road biking at that time, so I wouldn't have gotten him anyway)
Then something miraculous happened: I took the map I had stashed in my backback and found in the parking lot I started from, found the trail names, and actually found the right direction by using the map (I was also happy to have that compass on my keychain :)
Miracles happen every day, I tell you ;-)
Later, I found another cross road where the trail was clearly marked as being on the left, but my intuition told me to take the wide dirt road on the right, and it just so happened to indeed be the way I used to take with my friend (no idea what taking the other side would have led me :)
The cool part is that I got to see 5 deer while on that road, and after that, things were mostly uneventful, and I ended up at my car after a bit more than 90mn (not counting a little sprint where I reached 52.6kph)

Total Time: 1:32:03
Distance: 18.8km
Speed: 12.3kph avg / 52.6kph max (woot!)

you can find the rest of the pictures here

After that, I had way too much fun driving down pagemill in my poor little mazda protege, its crappy tires and regular brakes (the Audi TT convertible that was driving a good pace in front of me, pulled over to let me go after a while :)
Good thing I strap down the bike very carefully, one wouldn't want it to go flying in some turn ;-)

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