Plans were made the night before, at the movies in the park. The movies weren’t very good but the sour beers were on special. I tried to drink the movies entertaining but it didn’t work. No big deal, the sour beers were on special.
We met at the trailhead at 1pm. It was Saturday, after all. Let’s keep our start times civil. The plan was to ride a trail I didn’t know, up to another trail I have never seen then down some other rowdy trail I haven’t been on before. Seems like a good way to spend the day. People kept showing up, more cars with bikes on the rack. They were all here for our little bike party. It was getting up around 90 degrees and the parking lot reeked of sun-baked horse shit. I was all fired up to ride some new trail with a bunch of rad people. New trail is my favorite trail. The crew was now about ten deep and ready to go. Half dudes, half shredder ladies and a trail dog named Citrus.
We start climbing right from the parking lot. Straight the fuck up an old logging road. Hey, when do we get to the singletrack? Oh, nobody told you? It’s a 4 mile gravel climb. Fuck you.
The slow grind up the climb was hot. Really hot. Amazon jungle hot. About a half mile in, I start to come unraveled. Why the fuck are we climbing a dirt road? This isn’t mountain biking! How am I bonking after a half mile? Who’s bright idea was it to start so late in the day? It doesn’t take a genius to know it’s hot in the forest in August. Why can’t I turn over the goddamn pedals. I’m running 32×21 for shit’s sake! that’s the biggest granny gear I have ever run on a singlespeed and I can’t even turn the damn thing over. Great, now I just got dropped. Fuck all of you.
TJ hung back to pity me and make small talk. Thanks for the thought, amigo. But if I’m doing the walk of shame, I’d prefer to be alone. Light headed and slogging. Leaning on my bike like a senior citizen on a walker. Fighting the urge to just turn around and go back to the car. I’m getting more and more angry by the minute. Why can’t I turn the goddamn pedals, and where the hell am I? Now there is a biting fly the size of small bird buzzing my helmet. Fuck everybody. This sucks. Why did I even leave the house today.
I come around a bend and find Randy and Citrus the trail dog chillin’ in the shade. He tells me I don’t look so good, in the nicest way possible, and offers me a beer. Yes. Half for me, half for Randy and the dog splashes in the creek. I wonder out loud if that cold creek water is just as satisfying to that dog as a this trail beer is to me. I think it just might be. I swear that dog just smiled at me.
We push on and I start to feel better. By the time we get to the top of the climb, I’m nearly cured. My legs are coming back. There are no more homicidal thoughts. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Why does that dog keep smiling at me? We push up to the high point and polish off another beer while the ladies fix a misbehaving disc brake. Shit, I’m just about right as rain. Time to reap the rewards of all that work.