Thursday, July 07, 2011

Torturing the parents

My mom and dad came to visit me for a few days, so I did what any good daughter would do for her 50-something parents in the technology capital of America — I dragged them around on grueling athletic adventures. I took this picture during our six-mile hike in Fremont
Older Preserve in 90-degree weather.

The next day, I set them up on mountain bikes for the 16-mile-round-trip ride to Google. I rode my fixed-gear commuter to keep the pace casual. Noncyclists both, they humored me all the way up to "Vista Point," a knoll that looks out over the Kingdom of Google. On the way down the smooth gravel path, I mindlessly relaxed my legs into "coast mode" and experienced the usual blunt fixed-gear force that disconcertingly feels like my tibias ramming directly through my knee joints. Suddenly the chain jumped off the chainring, so I applied the front brake and coasted to a stop. As I started to thread the chain back on, I discovered the chainring had folded inward. There were no rocks or any sort of chainring-bending obstructions in sight. My knees felt fine but the Surly chainring was completely tacoed. It appears that the sheer resisting force of my astonishingly strong legs managed to bend a stainless steel chainring. That, or I was dealing with a loose chainring bolt or otherwise defective ring. But I'm going to go ahead and give the credit to my legs.

Either way, my fixie quickly became useless and I was the one who had to call in a rescue ride, much to the amusement of my parents. I tried to make up for it this evening by taking my dad on the 2,500-foot climb up the Monte Bello Road at sunset. Did I mention my dad's not a cyclist? He's a strong hiker and runner, but rarely rides a bike. You'd never really be able to tell if you didn't know him well. He holds his own.

Here we all are at the top of the climb. Yay Dad! They're leaving here on Friday to spend the weekend in San Francisco. I wonder why they just don't stay?