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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Muddy Tracks

We’ve been running and hiking to stay in shape through the winter. The trails are muddy, the days are short, and the weather has been cold and rainy. Both the mountain bike and the road bike wince every time I open the shed door. They know what I’m thinking. I understand the trepidation. I’m not much fond of road rash either.

However, the mountain bike and I made a pact the other day, and we set off from the house for an hour ride through Briones to meet up with the others for our Tuesday trail run. My favorite women were going to drive up into the park to walk with some other ladies, so my bike was promised a ride home on the back of the Pilot.

Once I reached the park, and started up into the hills, the trails were predictably mucky. Very few bike tracks cut through the frequent slimy sections, but the equestrian and bovine traffic has been heavy. The trails are trashed. I managed to the top without stepping off, but only because of some rather narrow hard packed detours skirting the worst areas.

I reached our rendezvous just minutes before the group began to arrive; Phyllis, My wife and daughter, and finally Vince, Rachel, and the Black Dog. Vince and I ran a loop, taking us along both single track and fire roads, till we met up with the walker / joggers near the top of the park. The ladies had taken turns pushing Ella in the jogging stroller, often two at a time to make it up some of the hills. Boy was I glad I didn’t have to push her.

In all, we were out for just over an hour and covered probably 5 and 3 miles respectively. My quads were rather put out from riding and then running the painfully steep slopes. Bec found some new muscles on that hike, but Ella seemed no worse for the bouncing and jostling. Although, they say she did hike a fair portion of it herself.

We finished in the dark.

My bike breathed an almost visible sigh of relief as it was fastened securely to the bike rack.

3 days later – Friday, we went out again, with a similar group. No running this time. It ended up being basically a walk in the park. 5 year old Ella managed the majority of the 3 mile hike on foot. I pushed the stroller the whole time, empty and occupied. Vince was busy trying out his new video camera. Lots of mud.

Last night it was just Vince, Rachel, and Black Dog along with Bec, Ella, and myself. Vince and I attempted the Briones summit, but had to turn back at 40 minutes in order to make it back in the agreed upon 1 hour. It is likely that we actually found the steepest possible ascent. We managed to run, or maybe trot is a better definition, 99% of the way. Some areas were just too steep and slick to keep it up. Running down is a scream. I’m still sore today. Lots more mud.

Speaking for myself and my family, it has been a good winter so far. I have thoroughly enjoyed running the trails. It’s a bonus having my women so close too, as we share in a little adventure a couple of times each week.

I'm getting good at vacuuming out the Pilot.

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