i optimistically packed my sweet gary fisher “rig” into my car, and reluctantly headed off to work. i bring my bike with me almost everywhere i go. it has almost become and accessory for me, i feel uncool without my bike. also, you never know when an impromptu bike ride might break out. as a mortal cyclist, one should never be very far from his bike and helmet. in fact, the further you are away from your bike, the further you are from “nirvana.” it was about 9am when i started driving into work. i could already tell that it was going to be a beautiful day. it was nearly 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, and i could see the mountains as if they were moved in a little closer this morning. especially the area where the mountain bike trails are.
i arrived at work about 9:30 and i could tell by the number of cars in the parking lot that i was the last one in. my first thought was,”hey, everyone is here, they don’t need me.” i tried to figure out a way to justify not being there, but i drew a blank. after about 30minutes of assessing the situation, i finally came up with a plan. i would start up my laptop, copied a bunch of the project files over, and told a few key people that i was going to “work at home” and i would be back a “little later.” i bolted out of there, and headed off to the trail. the plan worked perfectly! actually since i left so quickly i didn’t wait or look for any reactions…frankly i don’t think anyone had time to respond. i probably could have just said, f@##k you guys i’m out of this hell hole and run out the door with the same success as my well thought out plan.
within 15 minutes i was sitting at the trail head in my work clothes, waiting for people to drift away so i could change in my car. i’m really quite modest about changing in public and having a small car, makes it difficult to hide. i always end up changing while sitting in the drivers seat. this is kind of hard to do, but it allows me to monitor the parking lot through the mirrors and windows. i can see if anyone is getting too close. i always have this fear that right when i am in the transitional period of my wardrobe change, someone is going to come up to the window and ask directions. to date, it’s never happened, but you can never be too cautious. this time my head was clouded with anticipation of the ride and i failed to get my cycling clothes ready before i removed my work clothes. so there i sat naked in the drivers seat, frantically looking for my cycling shorts. of course they were tangled up in something else, and they were inside out. i quickly put them on and then threw my baggies on over the top. the cycling shorts i use are actually an old pair of pearl izumi micro sensors that have become a screen door to my backside. since the padding in those things are way better than anything else, i usually ware them underneath my baggies. i think i made it without anyone noticing me, at least no one gave me a dirty look when i got out of the car.
i finally got everything together and i was out on the trail. after about a mile or so i could tell that something was different. my seat height moved or something. it was kind of weird, because i am usually really compliant with multiple heights. i change my seat height all the time. in fact, i have a multitude of seat heights one for every situation; climbing, technical, downhill, and bonking. all of these heights with no markings at all. i stopped and lowered it a bit. the bike still didn’t feel right, and now my knees were hurting. i stopped once again and this time i tried raising it to my “climbing” position. without success i started to wonder if my handle bars had moved somehow. i stopped and checked them out, but i couldn’t find anything wrong with them either. i finally decided that maybe i was just tight and needed to loosen up. the next five miles were all up hill, and about half way up my back started hurting a little. this was not serious, but i usually don’t have any back problems. i made it up the 5.5mile climb with a rather good pace considering all the weirdness.
the down hill part of this ride is usually awesome. it’s filled with winding single track and sharp blind corners. i usually bomb this part of the ride, and i took off like all was well…..but it wasn’t! right away i missed a turn an rode off into the weeds. no problem, i got back in a hurry and a hundred yards later i’m back in the weeds. so after the second recovery i noticed my back tire getting a little sloppy. this distracted me for a while sending me off course yet again. thinking that the semi-flat tire was my problem all along, i stop and put some air into the massive 29’rs with my 6 inch pump. with my arms now slightly worn out i got back on track with a whole new attitude. a couple of successful turns and i was ready to prematurely declare that the crisis was over. then suddenly… a couple of back to back near misses with a rock, tree…and another cyclist. i slowed down a bit and then i noticed my back tire was still loosing some air, and i developed a pig-squeal on my front wheel somehow. i must have hit a goat head in the weeds, but i don’t know about the squeal. i changed the tube filled it with air and headed back down the trail. this time i finally decided that today was not my day to achieve “nirvana”. i slowed down and nonchalantly rode back to my car and drove home…with my tail between my legs. i wasn’t completely down, i had things to be happy about, like i was still alive and not working on this beautiful day.
in the back of my mind however i knew something was wrong. some days are better than others …i guess. so i went to take a shower and removed my baggies first, leaving my road shorts on……. and what do you know? my pearl izumi micro sensors were on backwards! these things have a huge pad and definitely meant to be worn in one specific direction. if you have ever put them on backwards you will know how awkward they are. i guess the discomfort was making me shift my weight in a way i was not used to, and this threw everything off. i must have been so preoccupied with everything else being wrong that i failed to noticed the obvious.