Sunday, June 29, 2008

Epic Biking Adventure

It all started with me buying a $60 bike from Target in high school. I always felt it is my obligation as a Chinese to be insanely awesome at biking. But needless to say, like my many other dreams, this one didn't really pan out. I kinda rode it around my neighborhood in NC, finding that even small gentle hills are beyond my weak wobbly grasp and I put it away for 5 years. The poor bike was moved across country and sat in my garage all this time until a month ago when suddenly I had this whim that I should fix it and ride it around when it's summer. (these whims never turn out well..hmm..). Anyway, so I spent 30 bucks and got my rear tire replaced. In the words of the technician, "this kind of bending only happens when a car hits your bike" I said "hmm.. I am pretty sure nothing like that happened to me..." I know this because i have never ridden it outside my neighborhood haha. Anyway, so I rode my old/new bike around the park for a couple of days until I can stop without panicking and toppling over. All is going well until last week when Kirason said "soo.. now you have a bike, I want to rollerblade from Redmond to Seattle, want to come?"
me:" .... how far is that?"
Kirason: "oh about 20 miles"

Ahh, the courage of the ignorant. kirason assured me that since she is on rollerblades, I wouldn't have to go very fast and can totally make it.

So the original plan is that we go one way, and drive back. However, the third person decided he really wanted to do the round trip. So I was like. sure whatever having absolutely no concept of what that is like.

So the much anticipated day comes, it is the hottest day of the year, 90 degrees outside. beautiful sky absolutely no cloud. We rode on the Burke-Gilman trail which is this really nice and long trail that goes around the entire Seattle area. You can bike on the entire paved trail. Kirason assured me that the entire route we picked is actually quite flat with only very small hills. The first third of our route runs along the Sammamish River, passing farmlands, trees and small neighborhood with parks. It is quite nice since we started at 11 am so there is still shade from the tall trees. I kept my pace nice and slow to conserve energy. So slow that even Kirason was ahead of me on roller blade -__-!! . We rested at a park about 6 miles in and drank some water. The day is getting really hot now but there is still a nice breeze going. The middle part of the trail goes into the city of Kenmore along some busy streets, and then winds around the edge of Lake Washington on top of the waterfront properties. We saw some really fancy houses along the water. Even though the trail was surrounded by greenery, the Noon sun didn't really give us any shade at all. We rested again at the 12 miles. It is a good thing that all the park has drinking fountains to fill our water bottle. Both of my companions had gatorades but I just had water. I think it was fine tho. The last third of the trail is this enormous gently climbing hill to Gas Works Park along the water edge, passing through the university district. That was quite trying for me as I don't have any strength for hill climbing. After climbing the hill for an hour I was quite sick of it and my legs are getting really tired and I can feel them starting to cramp. But they never really did. I was really running out of energy when we arrived after 25 miles at Gas Works, we rested for about half an hour for a lunch sandwich and then it's time to come back! As soon as I started the trip back, I noticed that my legs and knees are hurting really bad. I pushed on but it was kind of distracting. I complained to Kirason that I never got my seat adjusted so I can't extend my leg all the way and that is probably why it hurts.. She suggested that when we past that bike shop on the way I should see if I can get it adjusted. That turned out to be a brilliant idea. The very nice guy at the bike shop took one look at my bike and was like, this seat needs to be much higher. He had to raise it 4 inches to the properly position for me, all free of charge. Before I left, he also said "your tires are only 1/3 full, if you fill them up outside, it will make it much easier" OMG he is the nicest, most helpful guy ever!! So I biked 25 miles on a seat too low for me and on tires with no air. Now that I fixed everything, the next 25 should be a breeze!!

Turned out the adjustments worked wonders. My legs didn't hurt again in the next 25 miles. But now that the seat is 4 inches higher, I completely cannot get on and off the bike again. Everytime I have to get on, I end up falling over and the same when I try to get off. Now there is an incentive to just keep peddling lol. Now it is about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and the sun is in full fury and all the breeze died down. So it is 3 hours of burning hotness back home. We rested at the same places we did the first time. At this time, I am significanly slower now. Kirason and the other guy have far outstripped me by 15 minutes. They have stopped periodically to wait for me but I told them not to bother since I will just be slow again. The exhaustion, the heat and endless trail finally got to me around 1.5 miles from the end. I keep telling myself just 5 minutes more, but at mile marker 3, I completely lost concentration and my legs couldn't move like I told them to. Actually I think my legs still had strength left, it is just my mind is so exhausted and I couldn't focus. It is kind of sad as I am sooo close to the end. I had to stop and walk with my bike for 10 minutes until the heat is just too much and I have to keep biking to keep cool lol, and I finally made back to the parking lot at 6:45 with Kirason already sitting in the car. She was pretty exhausted at the end too. I am so in awe of her for roller blading the entire 50 miles. Not only that, she was faster than me biking!!!

So that was my adventure, biking 50 miles in a day after barely learning how to bike. This was the hardest sporting thing I have ever done. I am so glad I did it tho. Apparently I can really do some crazy stuff if I really tried lol.

ETA: I almost forgot to mention, my bike fell in a ditch while I was still on it. Fortunately, it was a grass lined ditch so I was not hurt except for bruised ego from all the passerbys laughing at me and a big splinter in my thumb that I had to pick out with a needle. Good times!


kiratomato said...

Don't you feel more confident now, knowing that you survived such a brutal journey? By the way, I'm rollerblading from San Diego to Seattle next week...want to come?

Kungfucius said...

This sorta reminded me of my hiking adventure at McGreggor: No preparation, and lots of aches and pains both up and down. Glad to hear you made it through!

Kabitzin said...

Hey, I'm rollerblading from Pittsburgh to Seattle, want to join up?

Next time show up in the car and see who gets home first! Also, did you get sponsor dollars from gatorade for this post =D ?

Velius said...

Hey, I'm rollerblading from Beijing to Seattle, want to come along?

Next time to be victorious, you should play dirty, like put sand in the roller blade wheel joints and in the gear shifter for the other bike.

moonfleck said...

You guys are evil!!! although I would lik to see velius do that trip.. what would that involve, skating in circles on a boat?

Velius said...

Rollerblading on the bottom of the ocean floor.

Tochi said...

Wow, that's pretty amazing you biked 50 miles in a day, especially on a gimped bike. Good job! Now that you have mastered biking, the next step is to bike without holding onto the handrails. :)

btw, nice template!