Just Me and My Bike
One of my mottos, and one I touched on in a previous post, is to do something stupid every day, the logic being by doing something you probably shouldn’t be doing you often experience great things. I outdid myself yesterday, doing any number of stupid things. Not being with Jill most of the day probably had something to do with it.
While Jill toiled away at her cooking class, I did something that she wouldn’t want to do — a combination hike/mountain bike ride.
I was told a driver would pick me up between 9:15 and 9:30 a.m. and was still ordering food at 9 a.m. when he arrived. Taking my egg sandwich on the truck, I ate quickly as we went to pick up other bikers. This proved to be the first stupid thing I did since the drivers here are all insane and drove around like crazy to get to the shop on time.
I was feeling OK, but not great as I got on another truck to take us to Doi Pui National Park just outside of Chiang Mai. The winding road combined with an even crazier driver proved my undoing and I saw my egg sandwich a second time just as the truck stopped to let us off at our trail.
I was still doing OK and probably would have been fine had we eased into our hike. That was not the case, however, as we reached the trail and immediately started heading straight up. I knew we would be going up 1,100 meters, but stupidly did not know how many feet that is. It’s 3,700. So, for the next three hours we treked uphill, rarely stopping for a break. I like to think I’m a relatively strong hiker, but the combination of heat, steepness and losing my breakfast made for a rough climb. I also learned you never want to be the last person on the hike since when people do break and wait for you that once you arrive they immediately set out again. I’ve done this maneuver to Jill many times and now know what it feels like. Not good.
My one saving grace was that our guide had been drinking the night before and wasn’t in great shape going up as well, but this was a small consolation. Nevertheless, we made it up the hill in the roughly three-hour timeframe that was anticipated and our bikes were at the top of the hill waiting for us (along with the driver who picked me up at my hotel who had now become our SAG wagon — so happy to see him again!).
After a quick break for a snack we got on our bikes and were ready for the easy part of the day, riding downhill. It proved anything but. I’ve ridden on some rough trails, but this was among the roughest, fairly steep, rutted out in most places and large rocks at every turn (you’re not in Marin anymore). Though it seems counter-intuitive, a good mountain biker will go quickly “through” most obstacles rather than slowly “over” them, letting the bike do most of the work. However, that all goes out the window when you’re terrified and unsure what lurks around the next corner. I managed to stay ahead of the truck (barely) and picked my way through the trail with only a few close calls.
The ride ends at a lake and they serve you food on a lakeside shack, which was a nice touch. Knowing I was getting on the truck again I passed on lunch (first smart move of the day!).
We got back in the truck for our 20-minute drive and as we pulled into town our guide asked me what hotel I was staying at to drop me off. Shit!!! I couldn’t remember the name of the hotel and had forgot to grab a card. domain tech info . I told him the driver had picked me up at my place so surely he would know where he got me. Fortunately, he did and I returned to the safety of my hotel and got to enjoy some of Jill’s leftovers after she got back.
All-in-all it was a tough day. But as my friend, Little Critter would say, “It was the best day ever.” Remind me to be stupid again tomorrow.