Friday, October 05, 2007

Bushwhacking Death March

So, I find myself in Santa Cruz for a week. I was due to be in LA this weekend for a big, multi-day demo with our West Coast demo guy Matt, but the dealer cancelled. They didn't want to pay the permit fee to the park to have us there. Bollox. I was in Lost Wages for Interbike, and had a choice to make. I could either head home and then go back to Salt Lake for next weekend's Breast Cancer Awareness ride, or I could go to Santa Cruz and hang out at Chez Bontrager and do some really good riding to make up for a week off the bike at the tradeshow. Hmm...

I got together with Ferret/Fez/Ferrentino last night and found out that Maurice (of Dirt Rag Mag) was also in town. He mentioned that he might come here after Vegas as well. He was shacking up at Mike's for a night and after an evening out I was invited back to my future place of residence for some more comraderie, with the potential for some whisky drinking. The latter didn't happen since I got there late after gathering up my things and burying my head in the new issue of Decline as soon as I crossed the threshold of the house.

The plan was to get up and have breakfast down at Whale City Bakery, drop a car off and shuttle back up to the house. Mike had planned an outing on trails accessible from the top of the hill where he lives. I've done some of them, but others would be new to me. We'd ride for a bit, ending back at the dropped off car in time for a late lunch.

Riding in Santa Cruz is hard. There is a lot of really steep stuff, and I'm just not confident enough to ride most of it. There is no such thing as a flat ride here. Mike lives in Bonny Doon, which is 15 miles from the center of town up a very, very large hill. 1500 feet of climbing condensed into only 4 miles. You'd think that a ride from there would be all downhill back to where we parked the car, but that is hardly the case.

We set off sometime shortly after 11 and finished at 4:30. I am properly broken. Mike thinks we did at least 2500 feet of climbing over something like 15 miles. It really did feel like it was all uphill until the last big descent to the car. It may not sound like all that much up, but nearly all of it was on this super soft detritus that felt like riding on wet sponges. It was so energy-sucking that even my eyeballs were tired.

On the brightside, I took out one of my new '08 demo bikes. It's a WSD Fuel EX8. It's not the spec I would like, but that's just because I'm a top-end snob. Initially, I thought there was something weird in the front end of the bike. It felt like it was a more slack head angle than previous versions, and it took me a while to adjust to it and steer properly. But I quickly realized that it really excels on what steep stuff I did ride. Gone is that feeling of being too far foward on the bike. The thing is overwhelmingly stable. I'm lovin' it (not McDonalds. Gross.).

Today though, that bike deserved a better rider.

I've just had homemade apple crepes with ice cream for dessert. I deserve it, I did ride my bike today after all.

Thanks to my future housemate for showing us the way (again), and to Maurice for just being cool.


Simon said...

When you move to SC you'll get to ride that stuff more often, get more confidence on the steep stuff and become a tech riding goddess :)

G as in Chris said...

Either that, or I'll hurt myself a lot. :~)

Simon said...

There is of course that possibility which I why I still walk down loads of stuff in Hebden :)