So, let me take you to the beginning, or at least to Friday evening when we and most other participants/racers had to take the journey with their bicycles from Long Beach over to Avalon, Santa Catalina Island.
We opted to take the Catalina Express and took a not so smooth journey across the approximately 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles. The recent storm that come all the way down from Alaska had indeed left, but she left some rough seas in her wake.
After an hours ride by ferry we had made it safe and sound to our windy destination.
Let me tell you how much better I felt doing the ride this year versus last year (2014).
Yes I still huffed and puffed, but it was all very much easier, with fewer breaks, and no rubbery noodles!
The exact same horrible climbs were still a part of the course, but there was one major factor being different - the weather!
The temperatures were considerably lower and for the most part the sun was shaded by some beautiful overcast clouds. This was certainly more appealing cycling weather in my book!
Plus if you are anything like me - then you suck at shifting gears.
Really, I don't know what the heck is my problem. I go to downgear and most of the time I instead shift into a more difficult gear than what I was already in.
No bueno. No fun.
I am persistent though - and I fight through it. There is no way that I'm stepping my foot down because of my own lameness. I don't care if I go slow or how slow I go, but I'm gonna be pedaling - not hiking my bike.
Well, not too far up the route (about 1 mile in), I got a flat! BOO.
I've seen the poor unfortunate souls who get flats as I pass them by on other rides and now that poor unfortunate soul was little 'ol me!
Anyhow, reason being that I apparently ran over a thorn who wasn't too happy and was out for revenge!
One guy in particular that we all managed to pass was an old timer. And for most of that initial grueling climb he was in fact hiking his bike. But at the ripe age of 89 years old I say we all give him a pass!
As I passed him I jokingly told him that he needed to speed it up, because I was going for last place! LOL
Dave had made the inquiry - both of us curious as to if they were mementos from the Vision Quest rides, but rather he has placed them there to remind himself to be careful!
He has collected a Raven's feather for each time that he has taken an unplanned departure from his saddle (a fall) in the past 6 years. And he actually hasn't got all that many.
Falling hurts, and if you only fall and get hurt while riding these crazy hills in Catalina then consider yourself very lucky!
With 384 riders this year, he is definitely the oldest, and I'll tell ya one thing...even if I still have it in me at 89 years old - I do not by any means think that I'll be interested in doing this particular ride!
At that point I think I'll be happy staying in the side lines cheering other people on!
But kudos to this guy, to me and to all of the other riders, fast or slow or in between who toughed it out!
Because once we were faced with the steep graded first climb out of town, there were actually some people who said "screw it", turned around and backed out of the race altogether!
I happened to notice how much I stank!!! Eww.
Yup I said it - this ride had made me stink! Boy did I need a shower. Badly.
And then we headed back towards Avalon. By this time we were at over 10 miles (which doesn't seem like much, but mountain biking miles are much more difficult that road miles), and with about 11 more to go my booty began to get quite sore.
Yes my BUTT HURT a lot!
I won't go into anything else that might be TMI. But (hehe) you get the picture.
Kinda funny huh?!
While I didn't have any timed or distance goals - I just wanted to see a buffalo! And luckily I have got a decent eye for wildlife. Because once we were on our way back from the airport, I had spotted one off in the distance and captured a few photos.
In 1924, fourteen bison were brought to the island for the filming of the silent film version of Zane Grey's Western tale 'The Vanishing American'.
And guess what...the scenes with the bison in them did not make it into the final cut!
Due to cost overruns, the film company decided to leave the bison on the island instead of bringing them back to the mainland.
Over the decades, the bison herd grew to as many as 600 individuals. Today the size of the Catalina Island bison herd is maintained at population of about 150 animals.
We headed back to our hotel room and I took that much needed shower.
Keepin' it Real,