I've been meaning to start biking. A few years ago, Melissa bought us nice mountain bikes, but we've only used them a handful of times--and never offroad. The other day I wondered out loud if there were any biking trails near us. Melissa said there was one in Sobrante Ridge Regional Preserve, which actually abuts the development we live in. Go figure!
Today I donned my Bike Nerd Wannabe costume and hopped on my bike. Then I hopped off and hosed down the bike to remove the layer of dust. Hard to look studly with little dust-bunny streamers wisping from your spokes.
Turns out dust was to be the least of my worries, studliness-wise. The ride from my house to the trailhead had me gasping for air. (Our neighborhood is very hilly.) Then I couldn't make it up the first hundred feet of trail in the highest gear. I walked the bike up that stretch, but at least my spokes were clean.
Up a bit from the trailhead was a water tower. (Upper center of the first image, as seen from my driveway.) That spot afforded a complete view of our neighborhood. Then up more hill, including a little more sheepish bike-walking, to yield a view of the water tower from above (second image).
By this point (all of a quarter mile into the trail) I was exhausted, but I pretended not to notice. Luckily, things leveled out for a while, and turned into what I had originally expected from the outing: bumpy but managable trail amidst the Splendor of Nature (third image).
Soon I was on the other side of the hills, and could see past the city of Richmond to Mount Tamalpais, all the way across the bay (fourth image).
Then the trail delved into valleys for a bit, until I skidded to a halt a few feet short of a very large snake. (It was maybe three and a half feet long, and an inch in diameter. It's my story, so I get to call it "very large".) It lay across the path, sunning, and leaving only a few inches clear on either side. It looked like one of those strips that lay across the road to count cars as they pass. One of those, but with an air of reptilian menace.
Three thoughts occured to me:
- If I get bit by a venemous snake, though only a couple miles from home, the exertion of riding on the hills will surely circulate the venom to my brain and kill me.
- Maybe mountain biking is one of those "buddy system" sports. I should have researched this more.
- Hey! I can use this as an excuse to turn around early!
So I turned around. The snake, sluggish from his nap (and probably not venomous, for all I know) spared my life. The hills on the way back also spared my life, but only barely.
Next time I'll bring a buddy. Preferably one that I can outrun. A snake's gotta eat, after all.