Sunday, October 21, 2007

Duking it out with Whiting Ranch

More updates!

Today I went mountain biking with my good friend's dad Dana and his friend Bill. Dana had all the gear and a ride up to the mountain so I thought I'd try out my hand.

For my first experience, let me tell you, mountain biking is nuts-- but what a trip! Riding up I heard a lot of horror stories of mountain lion attacks and bleeding anuses (but definitely not in the same sentence), so I was mentally preparing myself for an Orange County Armageddon. Thankfully, there was a little hyperbole, but the trails were still pretty intense.

The park where we were at is called Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. It's this half forest, half desert chaparral landscape--a parched old mountain with its face etched by dry creeks, covered in old oaks, and studded with granite bluffs that stand like ancient sentinels whistling at the wind. Gearing up I saw that there were signs everywhere warning about mountain lions and trail hazards...

"Just don't stop moving," Dana says to me.


Heading out to the trail the leaves burned a furious orange and yellow, and soon we were bombing down dry creekbeds studded with small rocks and boulders. Strong whiffs of eucalyptus and skunk and something sweet and piney rode with us through the invisible moats of air carved out by the wild and dusty wind.

Frequently low lying oak limbs jutted out into these luge-like runs with banked edges, so we had to tuck under them Indiana Jones Style to prevent being clotheslined off our bikes at 15 mph. Pedaling along these blind turns, suddenly the ground would disappear and dump us into these 45 degree chutes that rocketed us up over the opposing riverbed banks.

As awesome as all this sounds, it sort of flew by faster than I could process. A lot of it was lower brain function stuff--I just had to stay committed to it or risk dying. Or worse, getting off the bike and walking it. You know... the old go big or go home kind of a thing. At least that's what I tell myself now in the relative safety of my good friend's bedroom typing this. At any rate, I was glad that Dana and Bill were around giving me casual pointers on technique, and also mapping out the terrain ahead of me. Bill was usually ahead tearing it up which gave me a little more confidence since I had literally no idea what new devilry was hurtling toward me at a near relativistic clip. Or at least it felt that way. Thanks Bill. Or should I say, Bill the Skill.

Carving these natural halfpipes, totally connected with the machine I was riding, I felt that this was exactly what people meant when they said that they were going to go mountain biking. Before I could really catch my breath and snap out of my reverie, I was powersliding on hairpin curves that had so much inertia and kinetic energy that I was bounding over wickedly knarled tree roots and washboard trail features that normally would've stopped me dead in my tracks.

Sore ass aside, it was an amazing ride. And I'm please to say my anus is not, in fact, bleeding. Yet.

So next week Dana is on vacation. Cash gets here and I plan on waking early and riding in the glassy sets at Huntington Beach, and then taking the afternoon to do some more biking. It has been ideal to be so elemental, and so far I've absolutely loved being so active.


1 comment:

Fox said...

I'm so glad your anus is doing well and I can't wait to hear about its next adventure!