After I spent about 15 minutes trying to get my pimpin' new loaner mountain bike into my car ...
...without removing any wheels (it's got a funky fork, so it's best not to mess with it) (oh, and it did not go willingly, but Jen, it went carefully, I swear! Success!), I headed to China Camp.
I was late!!!
Michael More was eating pasta in his car when I arrived. Looked, but didn't see a microwave. Hm. Wonder if he'd cooked it on the engine block. He's a plumbing contractor. But today, he generously took a break to show me how to shred.
Well, I'm currently unemployed, but he was really nice to agree to help me out (he had to show me how the shifters worked, that's what he was dealing with) so I paid him in home-baked chocolate chip cookies:
Michael immediately informed me that one of the cookies was broken:
So. Lesson 1: How to build a bike trail on protected land.
First lesson was on gravel. He told me to take a tight turn. After I'd gone in a circle for a while, he asked me what was going on for me while I was turning. I told him I was really nauseated. And that to effect the turn, I'd steered the handlebars while trying to relax.
He told me that was exactly what he'd wanted to hear. I beamed! Because that's wrong, said he.
You steer with your eyes. Your head is a gyroscope. It stays level, always up, scanning where you want to go. Smoothly. Your body, and your bike, will follow. Don't get fixated on the trail.
So it was Bayview, to Oakridge, to Shoreline.
He was so right. I'd heard it before ("look where you're going, not where you are"), but I think the gyroscope concept made it happen for me. And using him for target practice (he stood in the turn, telling me to look at him while he walked through it, as I rode through it just behind him). And trusting that it would work. I fought hard with the urge to preview my impending death as I turned toward the embankment, but the gyroscope prevailed, and I made every last switchback. Every one. Even the hairpin turn on a descent at the end.
I did have to try a couple switchbacks more than once to get them without unclipping my foot from the pedal, or stopping. But he waited until I'd executed each one successfully. And he cheered me on the whole way.
Besides switchbacks, we did a little drop-off thingy, and we practiced some downhill technique. (weight over the back wheel, look up, feet at nine and three, front brake only, emergency exit off the back!). But the double black diamond downhill comes later. Brown sugar brownies for that one.
The only time I shrieked was when we collided at the beginning of the ride. So we got that out of the way early.
Funny thing is, he chatted me up during the really terrifying skinny-rocky-6"-wide-trail-on-edge-of-a-cliff parts ("Do you watch British TV shows?"), and then afterwards, he'd say, "I didn't want to tell you this, but only three people have ever made it through that section alive [high five]." And then he'd make a point to stop at random easy parts and say things like, "it's very important that you look out for this twig."
Whatever his technique, it works. What a phenomenal teacher.
2 years ago