Last weekend before winter
Leah, for a "mellow" road ride through San Francisco and Marin County. Leah is a cross racer who is recovering after an intense season (cross season just ended a couple weeks ago in these parts.) And I'm tapering for a 100-mile foot race on snow. We both agreed we wanted to take it easy, but Leah secretly likes to hammer and I secretly like to ride all day. In some ways, we both got our secret wish, although the ride did maintain a mellow vibe. Leah guided me through the city and pointed out the sights while I stressed about dodging street cars, descending steep hills and clipping in and out and in and out of my road pedals. I am not well-practiced in urban riding. The Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito bike path felt like a slalom through an obstacle course of pedestrians and meandering bikers.
Then, as we were rounding a tight hairpin turn on a particularly rugged rocky slab, two completely out-of-control mountain bikers came careening around the corner on our side of the road (it was a wide road, and we were all the way on the right edge.) Leah was in front and swerved first. I yanked my foot out of my pedal so fast that my ankle rebounded painfully into the crank, and I slammed my knee into the handlebar as I dove toward the bushes. That was the closest I have ever come to a head-on collision with another mountain biker — while riding a wide gravel road on a road bike. I was livid. All one of the guys could do was say "sorry" as he screamed past us. He was going too fast to stop. "What the hell!" I screamed back. Now I have bruises on my right ankle and left knee, and a grumpy disdain for mountain bikers who ride like idiots on easy trails (Seriously, guys, at least find a real downhill trail or a new hobby.) I only hope they didn't hit somebody else further down the road.