Just because a route is runnable, it doesn't mean two runners can ride mountain bikes on it. Sheesh!
I took my good friend Christy up to Lake Chabot Regional Park East Bay Regional Parks today to ride our bikes. I have run up here a handful of times, mostly my long training runs. I think it is a beautiful park and a trail runner can spend endless hours on numerous trails. There is single track galore and also paved or packed dirt paths. Today was especially beautiful because of the leaves that have recently fallen from the trees, scattered all over the place and the sun was shining in the clear, blue sky.
There is a 12.42 mile bike loop that goes around the lake and also an inner loop that is about nine miles. The bike loop consists of two miles of paved path on both the east shore and the west shore with a dirt path in between. From the marina, Christy and I took off on the west shore to do the bike loop. Before we had completed the first mile, I knew this was going to be a lot different than running. I just didn't know HOW different.
At about three miles, I was contemplating turning back but Christy wanted to keep going. At one point, I stopped at the top of a "hill" and tried to dismount but my leg was so tired it wouldn't lift all the way and I almost toppled over but luckily my shin caught something that prevented my fall. Yup, that stung for quite a while. (Still does as a matter of fact.) We took a small break and went forward.
This is where I FIRST led us off the bike loop. As we are climbing up a hill, the trail is getting smaller and we decided to turn around and go back down. Back on the bike loop again. We both enjoyed the scenery and the smell of the Eucalyptus and Pine trees. We were cautious going down the hills, so much so that it prevented us from being able to go up the hills well when we needed to. At a little over eight miles we stopped at a picnic table and ate a bit. I was thrilled to know that ahead of us was only four more miles and it was all down hill. Yippeeeeee.
This is the SECOND time I led us off the bike loop. I knew it was two miles of steep downhill until we hit the lake's paved path. We were both happy about this, needless to say. Now, what I didn't remember was HOW steep this was. Since neither of us are experienced mountain bike riders, we were taking it very slow. VERY, VERY slow. Our hands, arms, shoulders -- they were starting to hurt from constantly applying the brakes. Almost a mile down the hill, I realized it. "Um, Christy?" "Yes, Jo Lynn?" "I think I missed a turn back there somewhere." I felt just awful! We had to push our bikes all the way up that damn STEEP hill. Ugh! I kept apologizing to Christy and she kept telling me it was not a big deal. After that, we went on down to the lake and completed our bike ride at the marina, three and a half hours after we started. 14 miles was what it came out to. I'm pretty sure we could have run it faster than that. It was a lot more challenging than either of us thought or expected. It was a very fun day. We laughed a lot, mostly at how out of shape we are! Lord, I AM out of shape. But I think we are both proud of ourselves for accomplishing what we did.
I just need to know which direction Christy wants to do the loop next time???