Wednesday, May 28, 2008

106 degrees never felt so good

Our trip to Las Vegas caught us in record heat for Nevada most of the 5 days we were there and with a mountain bike ride scheduled for the hottest day I couldn’t help but be concerned that 1) I’d be hung over and 2) I’d be “that guy” and have to be air lifted out of Boot Leg Canyon due to dehydration. Sunday night was the reception for Julie and the others that this trip was really for; I was just an arm piece and should have been on my best behavior but when introduced to one of Julies counter parts, Elizabeth and her husband, Patrick, things almost got out of hand. As it turns out Patrick and I are cut from the same cloth and that cloth is the cloth that Tequila is filtered through before it goes into the bottle. Monday found me a little worse for wares and worried that I’d not be recovered in time for what I knew would be a hell ride even if I was in tip top shape and didn't still have Monday’s activities to get through. Fortunately we picked a tour of the Hoover Dam as our day trip which kept me in the A/C most of the time and not anywhere near the demon alcohol until later that night. So it was a breakfast of hang over food followed by a day of water and orange juice but I still had a night of the Vegas strip, a show and dinner until 1am with a 6am call to ride.

I met my guide, Jeff of All Mountian Cyclery, at 7:30 and he loaded up my bike for the short drive to his shop in Bolder City at the base of Boot Leg Canyon and after sending a couple of riders off on the “corporate tour” that went on a pave path to the dam jeff and I headed up to the single track. He took me on a fun short loop trail nearer to his shop to check my skills. I didn’t know at the time but he wanted to be sure I’d be able to ride the canyon trails and this was a test. Kind of a pop quiz on wheels and I think I got low B or a high C but jeff was very kind and complimented me on my riding and off we went. Really the trail was not that hard, some climbing but the surface was like the moon to me with a lot of exposure and a high penalty for failure. The rocks are the obstacle dujour and Jeff had this trick where he’d use his front wheel to flick a baseball size rock off the trail and in the air with out losing any momentum. Not just a few times but like 30, it was like he was the doorman at the Ritz. This was very helpful, because as the sun rose, so did the temperature. And though it was oftentimes described as being in a pizza oven, really it was not as bad as the Richmond heat, which I describe as like being in a rice steamer. It was still not something that I was used to, so every little bit helped. It turns out that Jeff, the owner of All Mountain Cyclery, has a great Philosophy. He lives in his world the best he can and rides. ..tries not to watch the news, because it isn’t, and he rides…works hard, treats people right, and he rides. We stopped and talked about life a little, while sitting in the shade of an undercut rock, and I found a new friend. It was very “bromantic.”
After a snack and some water, we headed back for some sweet downhill and then lunch at the shop. Once there, he made me feel right at home with a brown bag full of goodies and a place to eat them in the service area at the work bench. After we’d settled up on the tour, and I did the tourist thing by buying a shop jersey, he then loaded up my bike and we hopped in the van for the short ride back to the resort.

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