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My Turn to Suffer

Usually we ride as a group and everyone is about at the same level. On a tough ride, everyone has gets pretty tired. Once in a while I have a great day and put the hurt on someone else. Today was my turn to suffer.

We head out to Alum Rock/Sierra Vista to explore a new trail that just opened. We had only been there once or twice because of the few trails had pretty good climbs for relatively little reward. We had read about the new trail being opened and decided to give it a try because new, long trails are a pretty rare find around here.

I started off OK, but I had a feeling it wasn't going to be my day. That feeling turned out to be right. I just didn't have much in me as we climbed the first steep hill. I finally made it to the top and took a small break at the summit before heading out on the new trail. Everything was fine until I found the next steep climb. More suffering, but at least this got me to the top and I was rewarded with a nice downhill to the next main junction.

This is where I made a crucial mistake. The old saying is, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." I should have gotten going...and heading back using the little reserve strength I had. Instead, I listen to bad advice: "It's only another 800 feet." We crossed over the creek and headed up the other side to ride the entire length of the new trail and see the new vista point. I was filled with false confidence at we climbed up the first few switchbacks before being confronted by the steep climbs. I was struggling and ended up walking more than I should have. I sent the others ahead, but then followed them. I eventually made it out the vista point for a pretty disappointing view from the new vista point. Disappointment mixed with exhaustion is not pretty. At least I got a chance to cool off on the quick ride down the mountain.

Of course, down the mountain meant having to go back up the other side. I slowly struggled up the hillside. There was a herd of cattle, including a large bull, on both sides of the fireroad, so we had to ride through them. I carefully kept up my fastest pace, which was barely enough to keep me upright, as we rode through the herd. I was pretty sure that if one of them came after me I could not have gone any faster. Fortunately, they didn't walk over me and I was able to press on for a while.

After hiking up the next hill, I took a short breather. This seemed to help a lot. I made back across the top of the mountain to be rescued by a long downhill. We all enjoyed two very long drinks of the cool water from one of the drinking fountain in a picnic area.

I attribute this ride to a confluence of bad factors: weight, conditioning, insufficient breakfast and perhaps a bit of dehydration. My mind and determination were particularly weak. Whatever. At least I am a death march survivor.

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