Mud Life Crisis™ de-programming retreat

"Double, double, toil & trouble..."

Margit, Joelle and I drove five hours to Kirkwood ski area last Monday.

Charlie cinched my bike on top of the station wagon with butyl inner tubes, and the other two bikes went in the back, perched on their fork blades. In and around them were: bags of fresh fruits and vegetables, tahini, canned trout, bread (both rice and glute-building wheat), cheeses, quiche, butter, olive oil, apple crisp (pre-made), tea, tea and more tea. Oh, and of course: Kettle™ salt-n-peppa ruffled potato chips, the perfect post-ride  electrolyte replacement.   Hint to the people on Madison Avenue who worry that women don’t snack enough ( sweet snacks predominantly, rather than salty ones like the men do). GIVE ME A BREAK! I eat ALL snacks. But just at mealtimes! My big secret. No in-between meal munching.)

Margit opened the cooler to hide a huge slab of chocolate –the big 2 pound ingot from “Traitor” Joe’s.
“Do you think that will be enough?” I asked doubtfully.  I keep mum about my ten ounce per day (“Instead of lunch”) jones.

For four days, we’d brought enough food for a  village in Burkina Faso to survive a month.

It had been forever since I’d been out this way..for a race put on by Phil and Sandy Wolf. They bought their little girl,  Jasmine,  the “Instant Alice” hat (just add beer).

Jasmine at three

Margit, 51 (recently self-unemployed)  has skied there often, but never seen the flower-covered summer slope. She routinely rides centuries and goes nearly everywhere on her battered Bianchi.

Joelle, world traveling recycled clothing store owner (turning 50 this week) barely rides a bike since her Toronto street-vendor period twenty years ago (‘before motherhood”) .

I’d intended to teach 20 riders over 50, but Fate forgot to check her daybook…or my little sales flyer really stank. Or maybe it was a problem for most women because school just started that same Monday!

The challenge: get Joelle up and running without boring Margit to death.

Put another way: stretch Margit’s limits without killing Joelle.

Turns out four days of riding allowed not only improvement for both, but some growth for me, too. I was able to let each go out on a Ride By Herself (RBH is usually against my teaching philosophy; too scary letting riders out of my all-knowing, all-controlling sight).

If it hadn’t been for Team Bigfoot (Vic Armijo and Kathy Dilley) I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy a quiet week at a noisy resort under construction. All those back-up beeps coming from heavy machinery operated by nine-months pregnant-looking men in hardhats meant that a quick exit into the trail system would be best. But we ended up making so much noise, telling stories, comparing men, bruises, boobs and travel experiences that we never heard the beeps until we got outside the condo at about noon.

The schooling part of our first day was rigorous (you’ll have to ask them how hard it was), and we stopped for lunch at the intersection of Kirkwood Road and Godawful Uphill Drive. We were too famished to get up to the ‘nature’ part of the valley for lunch. One lap of the race course for me and Margit alerted me to all her unique ‘issues’ (to be worked on later), while Joelle reviewed what she’d learned (having gotten an accelerated course in finesse) on the shortcut back to the condo.

An evening jaunt to Kirkwood Lake inspired a mad fantasy: buy a cabin none of us can afford (a quarter million! On Forest Service land!) for Wombats! Coming to our nonsenses, we skinny dipped across the icy lake–a  Wombat Territoriality Ritual that costs nothing, assuming you don’t get busted for being pink in public.

Riders began trickling in on Friday for the Bigfoot 9-5 enduro race…and even Tinker Juarez came by, brandishing a 14 inch rainbow trout.

I have to try to digest our “Crisis Camp”, but in the meantime, check out Charles Pelkey’s day-by-day of the Vuelta a Espana, and this incredibly funny little video by  Berkshire NEMBA pres Brad Herder. It’s both instructional, historic and hysterical.

VERY late spring in the mountains near Calif Hwy 88

not exactly camera shy. "Sentinels" in the backgrnd

When it was all over (and it was a nice five day teaching trip)…they mastered every basic Wombat trick, and earned their “Bachelorette of Finesse” degree–now they can put BfD after their names.  The ‘graduate recital’ was a ride on a brand-new, beautiful Niner bike for each of us, thanks to Fuzzy John Mylne, who brought a van full of sweet machines to destr test ride.   Well done, ladies. It was all you, not the bike, right?

~ by jacquiephelan on August 29, 2010.

4 Responses to “Mud Life Crisis™ de-programming retreat”

  1. I’m having a mid-life crisis. I think. It’s not a red convertible sports car but a red BMX cruiser.

    Is 40 too late to take up BMX racing? My kiddo doesn’t seem to think so. That’s good enough for me!

  2. I love coming back to your blog entries later and seeing how they have changed. Great work in progress and I always enjoy catching up.

  3. @ Brian: I took up short-track and cyclocross racing last year at the tender age of 46, on a singlespeed mountain bike. I finished last or near-last in every race and DNF’d one, but still had a BLAST! I am back for more dirt and fun! Of COURSE you can take up BMX racing, provided you fit on the bike. Have fun!

    @ Jacquie: I wanna go ride my face off in the woods with you and a buncha other women and become a real WOMBAT! But you live too far away! Waaaaah!

  4. I am the same age as you being born in December (23rd.) 1955 and you have inspired this old Englishman to get up off his fat ass and start riding again! I have a Muddy Fox and cargo trailer for everyday use and a nice Giant for fun, fun and more fun! You are a real insperation…go to it, girl!!!
    Love and Peace,
    Joe Poncho.

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