Bad Luck, Good Luck

Sometimes, it seems like riding with your buddies just isn’t meant to be. Like yesterday.

I planned on riding with Dug and Brad around lunchtime. Singlespeeds, across the street from the Hogle Zoo.

And then, about two-thirds of the way to work, I looked in the rear view mirror and realized: I had forgotten to bring my bike. I had my bag — bike clothes, helmet, shoes — but no bike.

So I called Dug and Brad and told them I was out for a lunchtime ride.

Luckily, though, I had a backup plan. I called Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) and told him that I’d like to take him up on his offer to pick up my Superfly from Racer’s Cycle Service, and that furthermore I’d like to meet him for a ride at Corner Canyon after work for a ride.

That worked for him. I was back in business. Even better, Dug and Brad changed their plans over to the new ride time and place, too, to accommodate my forgetfulness. What great guys.

I’m Late. And Dumb.
Then, of course, I got into a meeting that went late, so that as I drove toward the place where we were beginning our ride, I had to call ahead and say, “Hey, I’m going to be about fifteen minutes late.”

“That’s OK,” Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) said.

Then, about two minutes later, a worse realization occurred to me. I didn’t remember putting my MTB shoes in my bag this morning.

At the next stoplight I rummaged through my bag.

Nope. No MTB shoes. I was officially screwed.

I called Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) back and told him how lame I am.

“That’s OK,” Rick said.

Which made me think: my friends are clearly cutting me a great deal more slack than they normally would, and I assume it’s because of everything that’s going on.

Which, oddly enough, made me wonder exactly how far I could push this right now before they finally say they’ve had enough. Could I “accidentally” drive my car over their bikes? Switch their brake cables so the left lever powers the back disc and the right lever powers the front? Could I put sand in their water bottles?

For now, I do not plan to find out. For now.

Go It Alone
So I apologized to Brad and Rick (Dug was still trapped in a meeting that went even later than mine) for not being able to ride with them, picked up my Superfly, and headed home. My new plan: ride up Hog Hollow, up Jacob’s Ladder, maybe drop down the Ghost Falls singletrack and then up Clark’s before back to home.

Then, when I got to the saddle of Hog Hollow, I saw a guy up ahead. Maybe four, maybe five minutes ahead.

And by “a guy” I of course actually mean, “a carrot.”

I started riding my heart out, with the intention of catching him by the time I got to the top of Jacob’s Ladder.

Luckily for me, this guy didn’t realize we were racing, and I managed to catch him right as we got to the top. He congratulated me on catching him and everything. I would have accepted graciously, but I was too busy not vomiting.

He then vanished in front of me, doing the downhill much, much faster than I ever could hope to. That’s OK, though. I’m comfortable with my downhill speed. Now that I’m in my 40’s, most people are impressed with the fact that I do any athletic activity at all. I have been released from the obligation or expectation of being a rad downhiller forever.

Chance Encounter
Then, right as I dropped out of the bottom of Jacob’s Ladder, one of my favorite things happened: I ran (not literally) into a group of friends.

Does anyone else get all excited when you’re riding alone and then stumble into a bunch of riding buddies? It’s like suddenly the ride just got twice as good!

It was Kanyon Kris, Sly Fox, UTRider, and Matt. (Isn’t it weird that all five of us have blogs?) Speaking of which, I was sporting my 2008 Fat Cyclist Jersey, which I just got in the mail yesterday (photo shamelessly lifted from Sly’s site):

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You’ll be able to order yours this Monday, but I’ve got mine now. It’s my new favorite jersey — I love the way the painted look of the graphics turned out on the finished jersey, and I dare say the material is nicer and the fit is better than with last year’s jerseys. And — magically, I think — this jersey seems to have a slimming effect; my big gut isn’t particularly evident here.

In other words, envy me.

Another Lap
When you run into a group of guys like this, I believe you have a moral obligation to try to ride with them. And as it turns out, they were planning to do the Jacob’s Ladder loop I had just enjoyed so much. Would I like to join them for another lap?

Well, naturally.

We took the climb fairly easy, which was good for me since I had already done it once in my red zone that day. And then Fox — not wearing a helmet, grrrr — blasted down the singletrack. Kris and I took turns in second place.

And then, evidently, we all went home and blogged about the experience (I’m last to post). Weird.

So I wound up getting a great ride with a group of good guys after all — just not the ride or group I had expected to at the beginning of the day.

Considering how addle-brained I am right now, I’m just grateful I ever found the trailhead.

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