Archives for category: love

There I was, sitting in my car in my garage, held hostage by the third dead car battery in a year, getting scolded by the local AAA-contracted towing people (just a rueful shake of the head, honestly): “Cars are designed to be driven, miss.”

Yes, yes, my reliable little hatchback might need to be driven regularly, but my motorcycle is meant to be ridden as often as possible. If you knew how much more fun it is to sweep around an on-ramp on two wheels, if you knew the thrill of being on two wheels that you can feel in your guts, you wouldn’t blame me for naming my car “Pickles” and neglecting her for weeks at a time. Pickles is designed to haul a week’s worth of groceries and 50lbs bags of dog food and 70lbs of dog, to patiently wait for those all-too-rare too-icky-to-ride days.

Because I just want to ride my motorsickle.

(I’ll try to be better.)

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m: I don’t want to climb today because I’m achy and sore from riding for four hours yesterday.
[Two hours later, meeting her for lunch]
N: You’re on your bike?? I thought you were sore!
m: Well… It’s still worth it.

I woke up this morning feeling like I was coming out of rigor mortis, especially in my hips, but when I had to choose between the car and the bike… There was no contest. Even when I’m following the law to a t, nothing compares to the freedom of being on the bike. I twist the throttle, grin in my helmet, pat my girl on the tank, and it’s like yesterday never happened.

I just can’t help it. I can’t break this habit yet.

I don’t want my partner to share everything that I do. Even the hobbies I do share, I still need time to work on alone. Things like bouldering or learning to play the uke or guitar — I need to be alone to figure out my body positioning without getting shitty beta [and let’s face it, I stand well below average at 5’1″, so most of the beta out there is shitty (to me)] and to swear at my hand as it still refuses to make a barre chord. (Look, I know I’ve only been playing for three weeks, but conscious incompetence is painful and it feels endless.) There are things that can only be done with persistence and nobody needs to watch me bang my head on the wall as I work through the minutiae.

But riding (dirt, in particular)… Riding is like sport-climbing to me. It’s something I want (and perhaps, need) to do with someone. I want someone there to laugh at me when I get thrown off my bike and to ask if I’m okay before helping me pick Herbie up. I want someone to share in the fixing of flats, to share in the well-earned view at the top. I want someone to have my back out there and I want that someone to give me snuggles after I’ve unintentionally done leg day because I’ll be dropping Big Herbie a lot and this Herbs is kick-start only. (Godspeed, legs.)

It’s no big deal in the grand scheme of things — it’s a blessing enough to have a partner who wholly trusts my capability and decision to ride at all — but damn, sometimes, I really miss having a partner who rides.


I had the opportunity to borrow a guitar indefinitely, so here I am with an acoustic guitar in my possession. I’ve made attempts before, but the learning curve for my then-weak, tiny hands always felt a little too steep. This time around, even though I still have the same tiny hands, I’ve logged quite a few hours on the ukulele in the past couple years and I have calluses and finger strength for days from climbing which are greatly helping to smooth out the start. I can’t get over how big and resonant it is and how incredible the steel strings sound in my empty, tiled living room. I’m all heart-eyes over here. Cheers to new challenges!

I’m worked. I have a decent amount of mental energy and upper body strength left, but my lower body hasn’t been this exhausted in a very, very long time. Admittedly, I tend to have a weak lower body, but a five hour hike (75% of it with a 20+lbs pack with lots of uphill stair-casey single track and scrambling) and lead-climbing for almost nine hours of non-stop movement really tested my physical limits.

The shitty thing about climbing is always the approach and the descent. Unfortunately, whether you’re a large-framed 6′ tall male or a small-framed 5′ short female, the minimum amount of gear required to climb safely is the same. And carrying gear is a part of climbing. I was lucky today to have a partner who was willing to swap packs after I’d finished testing my physical limits, so I got to max my body out in my fun(??) experiment in seeing how fatigue, hunger, exposure to the sun and wind, and a demoralizing one-hour off-trail detour affected my head game once on the crag.

After years of needing to coddle my body, I’m extremely happy with how well I coped physically. I successfully led and multipitched for the first time with my also-learning partner with minimal verbal guidance from below. I never felt unsafe until the surprise rattlesnake encounter by our hike leader on the hike out. I’m writing this after getting home and going to a social event, while not having a headache. It still feels borderline miraculous to have a body functioning this well.

Trip summary: We should have been much more prepared for the strenuous hike, navigating, and having enough sustenance. But I’d consider it a personal success and I think a group success in how we overcame obstacles and worked as a team.

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Beautiful rocks and beautiful people to witness my learning to lead and rappel outdoors and working on my nerves.

It’s nearly March and I’m antsy, antsy, antsy. Big Herbie isn’t ready for the season and we’re already having some beautiful spring days out here in between the showers.

A lot of people start on dirt as kids or teens and find their way onto the street. I spent almost a decade riding street only, afraid of dirt and its rough-and-tumble-and-snapped-collar-bones reputation, but last year, I finally found my way onto dirt for the first time on a little XR100 and it blew my mind.

Everything was brand new to me. Let the bike fishtail under you. When in doubt, more throttle. Don’t touch the front brake. Let the handlebars wobble. Lean away from the turn. Sand? More throttle. Small rocks? More throttle. Medium rocks? More throttle. Big rocks? Okay, put a foot down, knock it down into first, and take it one boulder at a time (for now).

But the one lesson that street riding taught me still applies here: tenacity. Get up. Pick it up. Keep going. No one else is going to ride your bike home for you, so you better get back on and make it back to the trail head. I love hiking with the Doofus, but there is nothing else in this world like brapping up a hill to the crest, cutting the engine, and feeling the breeze whip around me as I revel in the silence.

Time to call my mechanic!