Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sunny Ride with my Baby Girl (Jane)

(cross-post from the Sunny Rides blog)

Updates to the Sunny Rides blog have been conspicuously absent for a few months, but not without good reason.

My main distraction:

Jane Anne, my new still-under-warranty baby girl burst on the scene in late October. Before she was even born, I purchased the Burley trailer and began practicing towing a sack of potatoes.
I probably should have dressed up the sack of potatoes with a little hat and tiny sunglasses, but I digress.

I was nervous about taking little Jane more than a few minutes from the house... I mean, what if she started crying or something?? You new parents, you know what I'm talking about, while you parents of two or more just chuckle and roll your eyes. I know what you're thinking...

And this is where I force myself into "Mom of three small children" mode as a coping mechanism. See, a mother of one infant behaves a certain way. She jumps when her kid makes the slightest noise. But a mother of THREE, now, there's a rock. She can have one kid banging pots and pans with a spoon, another eating dirt, and the third screaming for a bottle, and all she'll do as she makes her way calmly to the kitchen is pick up the dirt-eating kid and tuck him under her arm, grab a dishrag to wrap around the spoon to muffle the noise, and sing louder than the crying kid while she prepares the bottle. Mom of one gets rattled when her infant sneezes once, while mom of three snickers and mutters under her breath, "Amateur."

I told myself that if Jane cries while in the Burley, and I know she's not in any real distress, I'll just make my way calmly to the nearest stopping point, address the issue, and continue the ride. I'll have to channel a mom of three small children to do this, but it won't be too much of a stretch. I've been channeling a ten-year-old boy since I started riding mountain bikes. What's one more person?

In preparation, Jane and I took a trip first around the neighborhood, which went very well.

In the infant snuggler inside the Burley bike trailer.

Laura and Jane riding around the neighborhood.

We went around the neighborhood for ten minutes on our first outing, then it was just a matter of making longer and longer trips.

On Sunday afternoon, we bundled up well and made our way to Donny's Cafe.

Cute happy kid.

By the time we arrived, despite a few bumps in the road, Janie was fast asleep.

It occurs to me as I write this, that many of these pictures of a kid in a Burley trailer look alike, but as a new mom, I think I'm bound by contract to show you every last one of them. Oh oh!! Here's another...

So TODAY was the big day of lots of errands. First, we went to Target to pick up some photo Christmas cards...

The folks at Target were great about letting me bring my bike and trailer into the store and park it while I picked up my photo cards. Thanks Target people :)

Then we went to Donny's Cafe where we both had snacks.


After the cafe, we stopped at the bank...

Then we had one last stop to mail a CD to a friend.

Once we had all our errands done, we headed home, taking advantage of the bike path and the chance to get a little dirt under the tires.

It was a great day to be in San Diego.

The only problem we ran into was on the way home. There's this cactus called cholla that grows just about anywhere in the Southwest. This cactus is the reason that I carry pliers in my camelbak when I'm mountain biking. It tends to break off at the slightest perceived provocation and jump into your path, clinging to anything it touches, and breaking off into smaller pieces that stick to other parts of you and your bike.

This is what we came upon today, and before I knew it, I had rolled right over a small chunk that had strayed into the street. The tire of the Burley hit that bad boy and I knew immediately that I had to get it out and then get home before the tire went flat. Now I'll have to add pliers to my list of things I carry in the Burley.

We made it home with air to spare. Yay!! All in all, a great morning of work and play that I was able to share with my little girl.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tales from Interbike... riding the BMX track in 2-inch pumps

It's high time I caught up on my story-telling. Here's a highlight from the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas back in September.

It all started when I showed my Giant rep pictures from the San Diego Midnight Madness ride that I did in a business suit and clip-compatible pumps. His face lit up and his jaw fell open with an "Aaaaahh! Hahahaha!!", then abruptly he became silent, blinked, and looked up from the computer screen with a serious and expressionless face. He said he wouldn't really be impressed until I showed up like that at dirt demo.

Interbike Dirt Demo!

It would have never occurred to me, but it was brilliant. People in the "real world" don't seem to really appreciate the humor in stuff like mechanically attaching your body to your bike while wearing high-heeled pumps. It's more of an off-the-charts bizarre thing that non-bike people tend to see and just shake their heads. At Dirt Demo it would be truly amusing, and everyone would enjoy it. So, because silliness is not something you should ever keep to yourself, here are pics from the escapade.

Procuring the bike - a Spot 29er belt drive

The shoes - many thanks to Crank Brothers, who make these great pontoon cleats...

Gotta hit the trail...

I had a great ride on course #1, then had to hit the BMX track.

Any day I can ride my bike is a good day. It's a bonus when other people get a grin from it. :)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Adventure Tour to Noble Canyon

(cross-posted from the Sunny Rides blog)

In addition to coaching would-be cyclists and new bike commuters, Sunny Rides is branching out with an Adventure Tours Division!

We arrange your bike rental and make sure you have all the necessary equipment, then arrange the mountain bike or road bike adventure based on the information you provide about your style and skill level.

Last week, I took Eirik from Noway on a trip to Noble Canyon for a mountain bike adventure. He was here for work, and managed to set aside a day to go mountain biking. I gathered a group of people, because it's always more fun with a group, and we all met in Pine Valley on a Saturday morning.

We all load up in two vehicles and shuttle to the top of the ridge - another 2200 feet vertical and 20 minutes away by car. It's a very brisk 38ยบ outside at about 6000 feet elevation, and we all scramble for every piece of clothing we have brought. As I don a light jacket over the two jerseys and arm warmers I'm wearing, pull on my Buff and bandana, I comment to the boys that I feel like Heidi of the Alps, but none of them get the reference to the little Swiss orphan girl who was made to wear all her clothes for the trip up the mountain, and they probably think I'm just referring to my braids. Sigh. It's OK. I'm used to blank stares when I make obscure literary references anyway.

I had set up Eirik's bike down at the bottom of the hill, so all we have to do is make sure we all have the gear we want, lock up the cars, and hit the trail. While we're getting ready, Eirik gets a call from Norway and tells his friend he is on a bike ride in Southern California. He is suddenly a rock star.

Just before the ride.

We hit the trail, hardly taking note of the crisp air biting at our fingers and toes because the ground is tacky and the trail conditions are so good.

We get to the first of several technical sections, and I tell Eirik that it's a rocky technical section, but that if you keep to the right, it's not too bad. One of the guys cocks his head, "Are you talking about 'Widdowmaker'?" he asks.

I'd never heard that this section of the trail had any name and I shake my head, "I don't think so, it's really not that bad. You just have to keep your speed and keep your head up," I say.

I don't realize that I've just unwittingly laid down a challenge until one of the other guys (the one with pads on) says, "Well, since it's not so bad, you want to school us on how it's ridden?"

Oops. There's nothing I can do now but ride it. "Well, I don't know about schooling, but I'll show you the line I take," I tell him, and get on my bike to continue down the trail. As the trail winds back and forth and I gain speed, I pray that God will have mercy on me and that I'll be able to ride the slightly damp rocks without incident. I'm always nervous entering this section, but I usually do well, and today is no exception. I have a small bobble at the end when I look down at a root rather than at my exit, but otherwise, I ride the "Widdowmaker" clean. I stop at the end and look back at the guys, "Um, watch that root at the end."

Eirik riding down the rocky chute.

Noble Canyon is great because there is a little bit of everything - miles of singletrack, challenging rock gardens, beautiful wooded areas and open exposed areas. We chose to shuttle instead of climb because of the time required and the degree of difficulty it entails. It became clear that Eirik is a good enough rider that he would have been able to climb the Indian Creek Trail up to the Noble Canyon Trail and still have enough left over for the descent, but it's challenging (and fun) as a shuttled ride.

At the end of one particularly flowy section followed by a stream crossing, I look at Eirik's face, and he is positively beaming. "So," I comment, "it looks like you're enjoying your ride!"

Absolutely! Almost any day at Noble is a good day.

For more info on taking a bike adventure in San Diego County, please email me. We are still in the "ramp up" stages, but available for tours immediately. Whether you are here for business or pleasure, I'll work to arrange a cycling tour that fits your ability and riding style.

(Laura Drexler)