Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

The Love of His Life

I am tentatively the proud owner of a new mountain bike.  Bruce Wong, captain of Team GOALS, mentioned a few months ago that he was thinking about selling one of his older bikes to make room for his new toys (Bruce has a veritable bike shop in his basement).  At the time, I didn’t think much of it, but this spring, it’s become increasingly clear to me that for the past three years, I’ve been riding a bike that’s far too small for my 5′ 2″ frame (shocking, I know).  The problem is that I have a long torso relative to the rest of my body, so riding a women’s specific model – tailored for the ‘normal’ female body’s leg-to-torso ratio – leaves me sitting basically upright.  Not particularly comfortable, and even less efficient.
So, I picked up Bruce’s bike on Monday to test it out, and when Brent and I hit the tow path near our house that afternoon, I felt like a whole new rider.  Brent, who usually bombs ahead of me on his 45 pound Cannondale Rush, was struggling to keep up as the wonderment that was the Bruce Wong original – full suspension, carbon frame, and souped up with fancy components – whisked me down the trail with little effort.  It would be an understatement to say that I was stunned.  What a feeling to learn that the utter lack of confidence that you’ve developed after three years of struggling to keep up was – at least partially – the result of a bottom-of-the-line-too-small bike!
I sent Bruce an email that night telling him, “I think I’m in love.” 
Bruce called to caution me against acting impulsively.  “Just make sure it’s the right fit for you before you invest in it,” he said.  “Use it at the race before you commit.”
By that point, though, I’d already come up with a name for my new friend:  Billy the Kid.  The ‘B’ is in Bruce’s honor.  ‘The Kid’ part just seemed to fit. 
This morning, Brent and I headed out for a 6-hour running, biking, and navigating extravaganza.  

To get ready for next weekend’s 27-hour adventure race, we planned to bike out to a local state park, where a regular orienteering meet was taking place, then book it out to REI to pick up some new tubes before spending the afternoon riding the trails near our house.
Our plans got mildly derailed when my attempt at orienteering glory fell flat, and I was running around in the woods (an advanced course, mind you, and I did stop to help a British chap find his glasses) for just under two hours.  We got delayed again when Brent’s bike came down with a bad case of Chain Suck (yes, apparently that’s a real bike ailment).
But we made it back to our neck of the woods with enough time for a quick trail ride.  I just wanted to make sure that I was comfortable on Billy the Kid before unleashing him on the race course.
I started off well enough, but on a short section of trails where you have to make some quick route choices, I didn’t commit soon enough and ended up riding down a technical hill with only one shoe clipped into the pedal.
About halfway down, I hit the brake and Billy’s front tire snagged on a wooden beam.  The bike stopped abruptly and proceeded to flip in the air, back tire over front.  Luckily, because I was only half on as it was, I managed to slide most of myself off the bike.  My left leg was still securely fastened to the pedal and I ended up doing some sort of fancy sidewinder ninja kick, but despite my initial yelp as the bike took flight, I came out unscathed.
I clipped in again and continued on to find Brent waiting for me at a clearing 200 meters down the trail.  
“Is the bike okay?!” he asked in alarm when I told him what had happened.
I knew that I might become second fiddle when his new Niner bike was finally assembled (he’s been patiently saving money and acquiring parts to build this crazy thing – made out of the same material the Soviets used to build their intercontinental ballistic missiles – and it sounds like it’ll be ready to ride by the end of next week).  But I had no idea that I’d be relegated to third seat.
When I pointed this out to him, he said that he’d asked about the bike first intentionally, as a joke, because he could tell that I was alright.
Uh huh… Sure he did…

8 responses to “The Love of His Life

  1. I Run for Fun June 1, 2009 at 3:32 am

    Congrats on the new acquisition!Ah…at least you’re third, girl. I come after work, TV, food and sleep in my hubby’s life! Sigh!

  2. Natalie D June 1, 2009 at 11:23 am

    haha. Sounds like Billy the kid will be your bike! Brent knows your tough, but he’s just getting to know the bike.

  3. Denise June 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Men!! I’m glad you’re ok and liking the new bike!

  4. Kim June 1, 2009 at 8:54 pm

    Whew…glad the bike is okay! LOL! Glad you’re okay too!I know, isn’t it funny how ‘special’ those darn bikes are to us. They are like babies. Well…sorta.

  5. Angela and David Kidd June 2, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Billy the kid – I like it. I won't let David near my bike. It's crazy how we care more about out bikes than cars (I scratch the car up ALL the time).

  6. RunningLaur June 2, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    glad youre ok!Have fun at the race this weekend – doing a 6 hour test trip I’d a great idea, and I never would have thought of it!

  7. Pingback: A Year of the Extreme, Month One « Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

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