Where I came up with this idea, I’m not sure. Joshua Tree National Park has been on my list of places to visit for quite a few years. On Thursday, I had the bright idea that I should make it a point to visit this stunning ecosystem for my birthday at the end of February. Not just visit though. To bike it.
Yep, you read that correctly, to bike my scrawny ass about 35 miles to the park, bike around to all the cool shit in the park, and then bike back. The “back” would be back to Palm Springs.
As you can see from the trip I made in MapMyRide, I might have finally bitten off more than I can chew. At about mile 21 I’ll be at 4128 feet of elevation. That is a steep climb from 485 feet where I start. For a woman who hates biking hills, this looks like a trip from hell. I complain about biking up the hill on 16th Ave going up Capitol Hill in Denver. That’s only 2 blocks. And I’m going to tackle this behemoth?
I must be crazy.
I apparently love to abuse myself for some strange reason. The first time I did any sort of long distance was August 2012. I was still healing from a broken sternum and had been on my bicycle for only 5 days when I decided to bike from Boulder to Longmont for a training. Four days of biking about 34 miles round trip. I ended up doing it only 3 days and then a friend loaned me his car. The mornings were wonderful for biking. The crisp early morning air…the lack of cars on the Diagonal Highway…some good tunes…the rising sun…it was heaven. The evening was hellish. Hot with cars and busses zipping past me and a head wind that never gave up. By the end of day 3 my legs were jello. It did something to me that I wasn’t expecting.
I fell in love with distance cycling.
Up until that point, I had done shorts. Six miles here. Three miles there. A 1.5 mile bike sprint to my office. Maybe even a 10-15 mile ride but broken up between stops at breweries. There were days that I could total my riding miles to 20 but never were they in one shot.
I have a feeling once I do this trip, that biking will never be the same for me.
If you ask me, I’ll never say I’m a cyclist. Even though I’m investing in my first clipless pedals and shoes(of which I NEVER thought I’d do, just wait for the video of me biffing for the first time trying to use them), in my mind I just love to ride bikes. Cyclists are those people who wear spandex and have bikes that cost more than the car I used to own but weight less than my pint of beer. They look so uncomfortable and stuffy. I wear summer dresses or jeans when I bike and I definitely do not go fast. The most I’ve ever paid for a bike was $20. The beer bike was found in a dumpster in Boulder by a friend. That’s the bike for this trip.
For a Specialized that was totally trashed out and resurrected, all the times I was told by hardcore riders that I was crazy for taking it on long rides, and bike mechanics looking at me, the bike, and then me again and saying “you did what on this?”, I don’t think I could take a different bike on this suicide mission. She’s been good to me and I couldn’t think of a better companion. She’ll also get the fame of surviving this trip, which I’m sure will surprise a lot of people.
Since this is a multi-day trip with camping, hiking, and what ever other mischief I can get into, I’m going to have to add panniers to my baby. I’ve been eyeing these sassy bitches:
At only 14 ounces, they’ll give me a fighting chance of not dying from extra weight on my way there. That is, so long as I don’t die from lack of water. I’m going to have to tote at least a gallon to get there.
Why am I doing this again? Oh yeah…because I’m crazy and I like to bike.
My dad is going to kill me if I die on this one.