Sunday, April 27, 2008

Me, mountain bike?

Well, since I hadn't hurt myself enough last week when I went skiing, I let myself get talked into going on a death ride mountain biking with a friend yesterday. I rented a bike where the guy helpfully and cheerfully told me that I would probably fall down a couple of times, and that the $900 bike was fairly fragile, and of course, I would have to pay for any damage done. Isn't fragile mountain bike an oxymoron?

He didn't know that my friend is a seasoned mountain biker who gave me a very thorough tutorial on such things as changing gears - if you've never mountain biked, the number of gears the thing has and how to change them is a little bewildering. She told me to just use middle and bottom. She then took me to what she called "the easiest trail around." I would hate can't wait to see what a harder one looks like. She yelled back at me when I was supposed to change gears, and she made me get off and walk through rocky areas. Well...tried to make me, anyway. At one point I asked her how many gears there actually were. "Just two. Middle and bottom. Now GET OFF AND WALK IT!!" I stressed her out because I was having a little trouble following orders...

There's me and the fragile bike. It had better disc brakes than my car:There may still be snow in the Sierras, but down in the Sacramento Valley the very short flowering season is almost over. I took some photos while gasping for air pausing to take in the view along the scenic trail. Here are some purple flowers. I don't know what they are, but they were pretty. (Dammit Jim, I'm a fisheries biologist, not a botanist...)
And here are some purplish-blue ones with what my friend thought were owl's clover (she's a fisheries biologist, too)
Here are some of the purple flowers next to a rock. My attempt at artsy-fartsy. You can see why I am a fisheries biologist.
Oooh, oooh, I know this one! Lupine. Darn flowers kept moving, so they came out blurry......
Any west coast field biologist can identify THIS one. Poison oak. Lots and lots of it.
And the State Flower, California poppy.
Ok, I cheated on that one. We didn't actually see those while riding. These flowers are growing in the front yard of the house about two doors down from ours.

Here is a picture of what most of the trail looked like. It is a fairly typical live oak/valley oak woodland with lots and lots of poison oak.
I didn't fall down. I didn't break the fragile bike. I did have a great time! When can we go again?


Kia said...

Do you want to know about how my husband smashed his elbow while mountain biking on a trail here in almost-flat Hoosier Land? Do you want to know about the orthopedic surgery and physical therapy? I didn't think you did...
His cheapo, apparently non-fragile bike only sustained minor damage, though.
Glad to hear your ride was free of accidents.

Laurie said...

Whew! Thank goodness the bike was ok...:-O If he'd been riding a $900 rent-a-bike, he probably would have been fine, but the bike would have been smashed to smithereens.

I seem to remember that you did tell me about his accident, but not in quite so much gory detail...yikes!

Physical therapy - been there, done that. Not orthopedic surgery, though. So far.