big basin bike ride
i decided that i was going to ride down to big basin redwoods state park yesterday, the route i picked was a little under 70 miles, and jen was going to be down there volunteering at a race, so i could hitch a ride back with her.
i got my route all planned out and finalized the details with jen on saturday, and was ready to go.
and then i had an AWESOME idea; i'd ride the fixed-gear! it would give me a better workout, and it'd be an adventure. it meant i'd have to carry a pack because there's no place on the fixie to attach a pump or water bottles, but since i wear a pack for pretty much all my workouts these days that was no biggie.
i started out at 8:30 sunday morning under really gloomy skies; thick fog down to about 1000', and not a glimmer of sunlight anywhere, and it seemed to be affecting my legs. they felt heavy and slow, and i actually got off my bike a couple of times to see if something was mis-aligned, or rubbing on the frame.
nothing was, it was just me. not an auspicious start.
i hit the first hills and hoped i'd start feeling better, but no luck, and by about mile 25 with the first big climb just ahead of me i still felt like crap. i debated turning around for half a second, but decided that i should just tough it out, and started climbing.
and climbed, and climbed, up into the fog, up a seemingly endless hill, with no end in sight. finally topped out after 1600 vertical feet in a whiteout of fog, and stopped to eat something.
after my snack i plunged shivering down the backside of the hill, and realized that, in addition to switching to a smaller gear, i should also have put on a brake. ah well, next time.
i broke out of the fog a few miles further down the road, stripped off some layers, and kept moving. i was finally beginning to feel a little better when the cramps started. what next, i wondered, locusts?
so i'd ride until i couldn't pedal anymore, then get off and walk until my muscles relaxed, and repeat. fun!
finally i think my body resigned itself to the fact that i wasn't going to stop, and wasn't going to turn around, and it started behaving a little more normally.
my legs still had no spring in them, but at least the cramps were gone and i could ride without stopping.
the last 10 miles or so were mostly downhill, and other than bouncing around in my saddle a little as my cadence went up over 130 rpm, uneventful. the winding single-lane road that led into the park was shaded and beautiful, and the trees smelled great.
still, i was very grateful to pull into the park headquarters, haul myself off the bike for the last time, and limp around trying to decide which parts of me hurt the most.
lessons learned: 47x17 is too big a gear for a ride like that, and a brake would have been nice to have.
you can check out the route here if you like (it worked out to about 67 miles with 6200' of climbing).