Thursday, December 13, 2007

Off Day

No, not Day Off. Off Day.

Yesterday I had the first ride in a week and a half due to sickness and honey-do's. Nothing much, just an hour blast around the local hills. Temps were on the cool side, probably in the low 60s but the wind chill from the blustery day made it feel like the 50s. Still, it was better than ice storms in Indiana, so off pedaling I went.

I knew from the first 1/2 mile that I was nowhere near recovered from last week's plague. The antibiotics were doing their thing and the left side of my face no longer felt like it was packed full of cement but I was running on a low fuel warning lamp status. Topping that off was a bit of digestion upset from lunch that kept reminding me of the previous unhappiness by the way it resented the waist strap of my Camelback.

It felt good to be out anyway and the 29er wheels sung along in their baritone voice (26" wheels are sopranos, don't 'cha know). I had planned a nice loop up to and overlooking the east side of Lake Castaic, but that would have put me into a cold headwind on an exposed paved road for too many miles. Time to tuck in a bit, so I headed over to the Castaic Race Course. The race course is a network of trails used for...hey, you guessed it...NORBA style races, etc, but we old time locals were riding it when it was just ranch access roads and cattle paths. Now it is a challenging workout with steep climbs and fast descents on a mix of fireroad and singletrack.

I was on the Karate Monkey with no grannygear, and the low energy factor conspired to keep the loop short. I was thinking of some rippin' blend of trails for the day's ride, but I stopped to rest three times on a middle chainring climb that normally is just a good warmup. Hmmm...I think my eyes are bigger than my legs today for sure.

SO, I cut it short and rolled over to an overlook and prepared to drop down a fast section of trail that I normally grunt up. The last time I rode down this, it cost me a new frame. I overcooked the corner and slid into a concrete drainage ditch at slow speed, weight back off the saddle, front wheel barely able to keep from locking up, on the brakes hard...aaaannnd *smack*. Heck, I did not even tip over, but the impact was so direct, brakes all on and upright and all, that I bent the downtube on my Manitou FS. Man I loved that bike.

Today would not see that happen again. I am on my trusty 29er, and I am invincible. I am fast, confident and might even say god-like (small 'g'). Off the lip of the downhill and gravity takes over....down I go. As I said I am on the big wheeled wonder bike, I am....I am...well, nuts, I am wobbly, I am over braking, I am wiggly, in short, I am a mess. The switchbacks were awful, the bike was awkward, the trail seemed too narrow, and I was looking like noob central, or at least it felt that way. Is this the bike/rider combo that recently rode 4+ hours on singletrack, rocks and sand and barely blinked? I think not. Different guy. Dang alien abduction again...lights in the sky, body snatchers, cloners. Something.

Based on that ride, 29ers suck, I suck, riding sucks.

Time to go home without coming to any conclusions other than chalking it up to an off day. Glad it was a short one. My fragile ego can only stand so much of that.

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