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.