Friday, September 9, 2011

Thursday Night Lake Chabot…..Hike

Pretty much every Thursday for the past few years I’ve done the Lake Chabot loop with the nitedawgs, our riding group. This, combined with a Tuesday road ride and a longer ride on the weekends has enabled me to eat pretty much whatever I want and still maintain my weight under 200lbs.

For the past few weeks since the crash though, I’ve not done anything. Well that’s not totally true. I’ve sat on the couch, caught up on some reading, eaten pretty much everything in the house and surfed the web for a pair of those cool polyester pants with the expandable elastic built into the sides.

Last night though, I decided to break the cycle of lazyslob-itude and head out to join the Thursday group at Lake Chabot. Knowing I still can’t ride, or even grip a set of handlebars, I planned a hike instead.

I had no route planned, but grabbed my iPod, my Garmin, my trail runners, threw a water bottle in my pocket and headed out. I followed the group down the 10 hills trail to where it intersects with the Cameron Loop, headed down to the wooden bridge, over that and began the climb up Live Oak trail.

Once upon a time I tried to ride up Live Oak and, after almost passing out while pushing my bike up it, have chosen to only use this particular piece of hell on earth as a downhill route. It’s steep! Like 20% in places and rutted and loose… a matter of fact, I don’t even really like riding down this trail.

The hike up the trail was pretty much exactly what I expected. It’s a 0.9 mile, max heart rate, lung busting, sweat running into the eyes suffer-fest. The strange thing is, that after being off the bike for a few weeks, it’s exactly what I needed. I loved it! I had the iPod cranking some of my favorite tunes directly into my brain and I pretty much just zoned out and enjoyed the suffering.

After reaching the top, I turned around and headed back down the way I came. I’m pretty sure I’m actually faster uphill than down as I’m afraid of falling and screwing up my other arm. Once at the bottom and back across the bridge, I turned right and headed around the lake. It was a gorgeous evening and there were a lot of people out walking around the lake. None of them seemed to be working as hard as I was though…could it be that not everyone enjoys suffering…..weird….

As I got back around towards the marina, the sun was setting. I didn’t need my flashlight yet, but I could tell that in the weeks to come, my hikes would be ending in the dark. There’s one last little joy-fest before you get back to the road to the parking lot. It’s a little no named path that is less than a half mile, but it at least 20% for the majority of its length… be honest, I hate this section on our weekly rides, but tonight hiking up it as fast as I could go, felt great….one last lung burner to end the evening….

It’s here that the group caught me. I saw their lights at the bottom when I was about half way up and try as I might, there was no way I could hold them off… by one they passed me, leaving me in the twilight to finish my hike with the music from my iPod and the sound of my heartbeat pounding in my ears….

All in all I ended up with 4.7 miles and 1020 ft of climbing…..a pretty good evening workout for a one armed, overweight slug who’s previous 3 weeks had been spent watching reruns and sitcoms….

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