Saturday, April 07, 2012

Getting to know you

Somewhere along the way, my mind inevitably promises my body more rest, but how could I not take this bike out for rides? Its rhythm is intoxicating — the soothing purr of the freewheel, the smooth ratcheting of the shifters, the crackle of new tires on gravel. It's a well-tuned machine with an imperfect engine; the biomechanics are still off somehow. Two-hour rides feel more like four, but I still managed to crank out 75 miles in three days with my new Moots, oh, and 8,600 feet of climbing. Not because I needed to, but, well, because I needed to.

Sort of like meeting someone new, and staying up all night talking on the phone even though you have to work early in the morning. Yeah, it's like that.

Today we set out to find the secret road out of town. Several highways thread down the mountains and valleys south of here. But I wanted to find a road no one knew about, that even Google Maps called questionable in its existence, but if it did exist, would release me near Bear Creek Redwoods and open the way for adventure south. Beat is racing in Santa Barbara next weekend, and I thought instead of joining him for the drive, I could meet him there with the Moots. Not that I believe it's prudent or wise to put in a 350+ mile fast tour at this point in time — yet it beckons all the same. Maybe it's just the hypnotic chant of the spinning parts on the perfect machine: "You want to ride to Santa Barbara. You want to ride to Santa Barbara."

We turned onto the super secret road, which, like most secondary roads around here, cut straight up the mountain on a fifteen percent grade. I learned that the Moots' granny gear is a notch higher than my Element, which I decided is a good thing because it will give my lazy legs the boost they need out of this slump. A cold wind whistled down the canyon and chilled my sweat-soaked forehead, lactic acid filled my quads, and still I needed to pedal harder to maintain forward motion. I hit one dead end and, undeterred, tried another fork. A mile later, another dead end, and a trail with a sign prohibiting bicycles. One more try ended in a closed gate and ominous "Beware of Dogs" no-trespassing signs. Alas, the super secret road was, as it probably should be, a dead end.

"There are still plenty of scenic routes out of town," I thought, even as my legs gave off a vibe of sad puppy dog eyes and a subtle wimper. "Oh, don't feel so reluctant, it's not that hard," I tried to reason. "Why do we even worry about overtraining? What's the point of training for adventure if it means missing a great adventure? Every night in the Tour Divide, we were so much more pathetic than this, and every day we got up and did the same thing all over again. In the end, was it really that bad? In the end, wasn't it worth it?"

The legs seemed unmoved by my speech. "Is that you talking, or the bike?" The Moots just purred serenely, revealing nothing. 


  1. This new bike is like the devil on one shoulder, tempting you. My question is, who is the angel on the other?

  2. Beat's down in SB next weekend? Rats...that's MY neck of the woods (live about 65 mi north of there)...I'm still over in the UK for another 2 weeks, or I'd cruise on down (or better yet, meet you at one of the local trail-heads and show you some GREAT rides in MY area that would have your Moots howling with joy!)

    IF by chance you have a spare half day (or so) on your way down, Montana de Oro State Park (turn west on Los Osos drive just south of San Luis Obisbo) is a BLAST of singletrack! Brutal cimbs, steep and switchback-downhills, uhmn, er, yes....some technical stuff (but your MOOTS would LOVE it!).

    OR...knowing that you prefer endless fireroad climbs and such, a PERFECT ride for you would be to park at the bottom of Harris Grade (just BEFORE San Luis Obisbo) on Old Stagecoach Road (park just after you turn off the 101, you'll see wide spots on the side of the dirt road), and ride up Old Stagecoach, then turn west on Cuesta Ridge (Cuesta East ridge only goes about 7 miles before it hits
    Wilderness, but is still a nice out n back piece if you have 'extra energy'), and on the west ridge you can ride a long fav is over to Cerro Alto peak/Lp....if you're feeling really spunky you can bag Cerro Alto peak during the lp.

    If you're at all interested in this ride, you can mapquest San Luis Obisbo, then find Old Stagecoach Rd just north of town heading north-west off the 101 at the base of the grade. Follow that up, and at the top of the grade it turns into Cuesta Ridge, which turns into TV Tower Rd, and goes on and on). It's a wonderful NON technical ride with typical ridge ups and downs. It's one of my spring MUST DO's (tho I've been over here since Jan so have yet to do ANY mt biking this year...only have a rd bike w/ me).

    Good luck in SB Beat!

  3. Nice bike! Congrats, that Moots is a work of art, I can see why you love it.

    Didn't they tell you? You can't over train on a 29er, its impossible. The wheels roll farther than a 26er on every revolution so you go farther with less work = no overtraining. That should in the manual on page 6 or 7, I forget.

    Sitting here in the Valley with snow falling to the tune of 4 inches so far and thinking about my bike in the shop getting tuned up.

    Heading out to Cali on business in the next two weeks, might have to rent a bike...

  4. It seems that you had really enjoyed your trip with that bike.


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