Much to my body’s dismay, I went out on a two-hour bike ride with Chad this afternoon, after 1 1/2 hour run this morning. wait – did I mention that we are currently involved in another weight loss contest? I don’t have much chance of winning this one, however; Chad got a little tired of giving me a headstart and then me winning all the cash prizes, so this time it’s a straight “whom ever loses the most weight at the end of two weeks deal” for $150. It’s not as much fun without a fighting chance, I must say.

Anyway, that explains the renewed vigor in running (plus Chad’s considering the Death Valley Marathon in February) and the cooler weather explains the bike ride (finally, fall!)

Twenty percent chance of showers today, so the skies were overcast and air was pleasantly damp and cool. Now, I’ve had my “new” mountain bike for over a year and I think I’ve been out on it twice in all that time and never off the pavement. That’s sad – even if the bike was here in Laguna while I was in Joshua Tree.

But now the bike is officially broken in.

I was pretty nervous at first. Which is strange when I consider that I used to lead bike tours (but now all that was 20 years ago in college!) Being on a bike you go so much faster than on foot – and here in south Orange County, even though there are bike lanes everywhere, you are still on the road with lots of large, fast-moving vehicles.

We started out slow – stopping at the Chevron to put air in the tires – and following a route similar to many of our runs. We headed down dirt paths, crossed a creek or two and whizzed down dirt hills. Then we turned onto a paved road and leisurely started uphill. Chad was too far ahead of me to hear all the cursing and complaining I was doing, but the never-ending uphill was killing me. I considered calling quits. I thought about my first bike tour in New England when me and ten other kids biked 700 miles from Ashfield, Massachusetts to Quebec, Canada, and then back down into New Hampshire. I remembered all the mountains we had climbed; one memorable one had been SIX MILES of uphill. And I remembered that Mike, the assistant trip leader, had nicknamed me Speedy Gonzales. Not because I was fast, mind you. I was medium-slow and still am. But on those many mountain climbs, I had gained a reputation for never getting off my bike and steadily passing most of the other kids by the time I reached the top.

Well, once I remembered that I could hardly quit, could I?

We went nearly all the way to one Bella’s friends’ houses, and then suddenly we were at the opposite end of Aliso and Wood Canyon Park: the preserve we like to run on our long days.

But today we were  starting from the opposite end we normally start, so it was nearly all downhill on a dirt path winding through woods and meadows. Where we have seen wild coyote, heron, and deer. Then Chad said offhandedly, I’ll give you a head start because I’m going to be going FAST.

and I started to get nervous. Speed makes me nervous, especially if I’m the one in control. I passed Chad slowly with my brakes clenched. He laughed, Is that the speed you’re going to take this entire trail?

But we’re talking about three miles of mostly down hill here. I had time to go slow, time to speed up and relax. Time to stop imagining myself catapulting over the handlebars.

And it was SO MUCH FUN.

The pic is lifted from I didn’t think to bring a camera today. (Come visit – we’ll take you on the same bike ride…)