Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Style and grace: Things I don't have

Date: Aug. 10 and 11
Mileage: 27.0 and 30.1
August mileage: 228.4

My new fried Terry is trying to teach me how to pop a wheelie. No big deal, really, just one of the most essential skills in mountain biking. And of course I was terrible. And of course I blamed my platform pedals. And of course I also blamed my natural lack of coordination (Jill: "It's like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time.")

But he was persistent enough and even talked me into pedaling up the upper Salmon Creek Trail, a path I had jogged up many times but never dreamed people actually rode their bikes through the minefield of mud, downfalls and wet roots. People ride their bikes over lots of stuff, I've discovered. I'm still trying to get past the whole "but walking around that is so much faster and easier" philosophy. Problem with wet roots is they take a pretty good wheelie to climb over without washing out, so the lessons began in earnest. I'm always reluctant to let someone try to teach me mountain biking skills. A former boyfriend tried that in 1999, on the Slickrock Trail in Moab, and my feet didn't touch another bicycle pedal for three years. My current boyfriend tried that in 2003, in St. George, and I spent the next two years believing I hated mountain biking. Yes, mountain biking has been a slow transition for me, and of course, I blame the men. And my natural lack of coordination.

But Terry has been very nice and patient enough. We logged a good ride in the mist on Sunday. ("Terry: Looking out at the fog, I feel like I am at the Olympics!") I am still working on my writing, so I've been taking shorter, harder rides this last week. I think these time-crunched efforts are good for me. I nearly blacked out, twice, chugging up to Eaglecrest this morning, but I think I logged my fastest climb yet, and was out and back in 1:45.

Geoff was stuck underneath an ash cloud in Anchorage last night. Hopefully the airline let him on a plane and he's back in Juneau by now, or else I'm probably going to stay up until 3 a.m. typing again.