11.19.2012

went up with shorts, came down with pants

sometimes thinking of the impossibility, drives it to be possible.
last weekend I planned a bike gang trip up Mt. Hamilton. it was so good to see my friends and meet the new people that came along.

after we gathered, hello'ed, and threw down some energy, we started up the mountain. immediately, I am alone and last - it's okay. this is a normal thing and I have memorized a lot of songs for this exact moment.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukNOaKeUEQY

as I sing to myself, I wonder if all the wine I drank yesterday at a party is going to bring me to an early unexpected halt. how can I plan something like this with a big group of people, and then QUIT? I am an irresponsible adult that has candy for breakfast... when I even eat breakfast.
I can't quit.
that settles that: I can't quit.
I look up to see 2 of my buddies butts and realize, maybe I should be happy I'm last. let's go!

I catch up to everyone at our first rest stop. we happily chat our heart rates lower and have some snacks.



once we start up again, I am hanging with the new friends. our paces are pretty close and I decide to keep the company to help the time pass. I find out this trek is the first time up Mt. Hamilton for most of us - the few that have done it already, did it years ago. we exchange riding experiences and my anxiety and worries completely disappear. I am moving in to an apartment in a couple of weeks, and I couldn't care less about it at this moment.
not worrying feels good.
we can finally see Lick Observatory... trust me, it's there somewhere. my friends continually take pee breaks left and right leaving me jealous and full-bladdered. damn you female anatomy!


thanks to the additional buddies, replacing flats goes by quick. as you can see, I'm pretty helpful behind the camera. and I took photos of all 3 flat tires my crew got. useful is me!

the road seems to get more narrow the higher we ride, and that makes me a little paranoid when cars pass around blind corners. this is the first time I've seen cars not only yield to bikers but also rely on them to to communicate when the corner is clear of other cars for them to pass.
the hardest part of this ride was trying to enjoy the view while moving... you have to stop.




at this point, we can see the Observatory pretty clearly. while the guys were excited about it, I couldn't mentally get over how much HIGHER the Observatory was than us. it was close, but obviously included lots of climbing. I remembered my ride around Lake Tahoe months ago - it was so hot, direct sun, without any teammates, hard-steep switchbacks, and no map. surely this cannot be as difficult.
we turned a corner and could hear our friends yelling at us from the top. they had already finished, snapping photos of us, and were sipping mimosas. jerks! just kidding - they only sell Coca-Cola at the top. jerks!


the second to last road before the Observatory was all in the shade - which meant the recent bit of snowfall had not melted yet. it was exciting to see the snow going uphill... it was a different story heading down though.

once we got to the top and reconnected with the whole group, people immediately laid on the ground in stretching positions. this mountain is an 18 mile long climb of 3700 feet and allows for 2 one mile downhill breaks during the climb. suffice it to say, we were pretty ecstatic to be at the top.
http://app.strava.com/activities/27577395








heading downhill was NOT as much of a roller coaster thrill as I suspected. I LOVE downhills! the longer, the steeper, the BETTER. but not only was this a very winding and long downhill, it. was. COLD.
the faster I rode, the faster my temperature dropped. my poor decision in clothing didn't help - long socks doesn't cure everything. we stopped frequently to thaw our fingers in the sun. we were shaking so hard from the cold, that our bikes shook with us.

eventually, I had to tell my friends that I was eyeing the trucks going down looking for room in the back for my bike. I couldn't take it anymore. so, one of my nice new friends gave me his pants. that's right. his pants. normally I would want nothing to do with a stranger's sweaty spandex pantalones but, we were talking about a life or death situation here (not really).
I quickly put them on and felt TREMENDOUSLY BETTER. the bottom of the mountain came quickly after (thank goodness). we packed up our stuff and headed to Starbucks in clackity cleats, stinky spandex, and helmet hair.

I don't care what you think about me, give me a Grande Chai Tea Latte with Soy please.
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