Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bike the Coast

Last weekend (or a couple late as usual) i took to the coast. cyclin style. some of you may know...many of you don't and may not care even...but i just made a long term investment. this is how i'm rationalizing my unusal big-spender ways. to capitalize on the peak of my bicycling obsession i plunked down enough money on this new bike that could have bought me something with a motor equipped. but alas, the only motor on this thing, is muscle fiber: a pair of legs and a mind hopefully sharp enough to navigate the trafficked streets of Los Angeles. and may those hipster angels pray for me. don't worry, it wasn't an impulse buy....even after about a year of wavering i still feel guilty having spent so much money in one place. i spent many a night gazing upon the flashing screen (much like you are doing now) and into the realm of bike blogs, ebay, craigslist, manufacturers websites, measurements, weights, angles, colors, name it (if i haven't already) and i was reading about it. recently i heard someone say that whatever jumps out at you first is  90% of the time what you will end up going with. whether it's a pair of jeans, food selection at a restaurant, gadgetry always come full circle. i'm learning to trust these first instinctual impulses and so far, i've been amazed at how accurate that first inkling proves. but i suppose it is helpful...and certainly education to go around the circle and see what else is out there...just in case...ya know...there might be something better and as our well-fashioned consumer minds think...cheaper. my old bike is a Trek...Trekky 1. i've had that thing since i was 12 or 13 so that's where i started. i've loved that bike...certainly lasted...let's see what Trek's snazzy road bikes have to offer. after Trek, i wanted to see Cannondale, Marin, Masi, Specialized, Fuji, Surly...on and on and on. so i browsed online, went to a bunch of bike shops, took too many test rides, and ya know what i bought? a Trek. of course. Trekky 2 it is! i think humans have more knowledge buried in their instincts, and initial gut reactions than we give credit.try it. at the very least you'll save a whole lot of time and aren't we all about that in today's society. give me speed and i'll give you an illusion of efficiency. ha.

Where was i going? oh right...actually on the bike! along the coast...highway know...that beautiful coastal drive.'s a beautiful coastal ride! friend recommended i check out the LA Tri club as i was looking for some serious road riding now that i had my serious road bike. found a ride early saturday morning, 8:30am, meet in malibu, Zuma to be exact. woke up and it was still dark. i barely made the ride as i drove a little too far up pch (now entering ventura county? ooops) and then scrambled round my car, bike shorts and snacks flying, before showing up with my sunglasses hanging off my face, helmet on backwards, sandals on my feet shouting "wait....don't leave...i'm new! i want to come along!)...greeeat first impression. by the time i got myself together we were off and got wind that we'd be going for a wee ride...50 miles or so. "50 miles!!" i practically blurted back trying to hide those exclamation points "oh, cool" "But some of us will definitely go longer if you want" "ahh, ohhh, no... 50 should be just fine". Ha!

As we started out, i tried to mentally plan on the best way to pace myself. I mean, i've been communting for 8 months by bike now...but that's only 8 or so miles a day. And if you know that section of PCH..."flat" is not the descriptor. But at the slower pace (i usually sprint everywhere else i go) it was no problem. no problem for my legs anyway. my butt and shoulders were another story. the destination and half-way marker was a strawberry stand. how quaint. now that i could ride for. food. i'm not sure anything motivates me more. as we pushed and pulled (the beauty of clip-ins. trust me, these things lose their scary factor in no gain something like 40% more power with each rotation) along the coast, i couldn't believe how lucky i was to be out (and awake for that matter) in the crisp air, the sun lightly touching our backs, and flying down the coastline. When we made it to the strawberry stand (foood! in my haste i forgot to throw my snacks in my pouch and needed some sustenance) i still felt great. A little slower than the rest but i was surely keeping up. We stuffed down strawberries, peanuts, and watermelon (this one provided compliments of the stand!) and chatted away.

On the way back the ocean was literally glistening in the sun. I had to smile, let the warmth of the day soak in, and meditate by the whir of the spinning wheel. By the last few hills i still had energy to burn and pumped up 'em, caught a woman who was riding way ahead  and turns out she's also an ice hockey player! But by now we were both sharing aches and pains. At this point my butt had turned numb, a painful numb, like, i've had all 125 pounds of me distributed on two angry "sit bones" now shouting for relief and each shoulder clenched like a rebellious fist, knots the size of tennis balls pulling every back muscle towards their knotty nexus.  But hey, my legs felt great!

As the ride came to an end and everyone flew by to hop in their respective vehicles, I knew that i'd be back for more.  Trekky 2 's got a good life, and the rider agrees; we're both on for many miles ahead.

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