Friday, August 22nd, 2008

MTB: PTB Water Dog Female Fiesta

This was an announcement from PTB newsletter.

What: Women’s ride at Water Dog Lake Park in Belmont followed by dinner & drinks at Passion Trails Bicycles
Where: Passion Trails Bicycles, 415-C Old County Road, Belmont.
When: Roll out at 6 pm Friday, August 22

The Friday Female Fiesta offers multiple routes for multiple skill levels at multiple paces:

Fat Bottomed Girl Ride, an introductory/beginner level ride with coaching and minimal miles.
White Socks Ride, a group for advanced beginners and intermediate level riders who want to go slower.
Silly Girls Regular Ride, the intermediate level group mostly everyone else wants to ride in.
Long Legged Ladies Ride, the group for hammer chicas who want to feel the burn and turn out some miles.

It sounded fun, but I would not be able to make it because we were planning to go climbing at Yosemite again. So the email went straight into my Deleted folder and it was not dug back out until Thursday when Erik asked me apologetically, “I need to work this weekend. Would you mind if we stay around?”  I was almost happy to hear that because that would enable me to join this fun event on Friday night and ride Tamarancho the first time with a small group of dirt divas. I was beyond supportive and understanding for my hard-working husband this time.

When Sam asked in an email if anyone was willing to lead the Long Legged Ladies (LLL) Ride in case she could not make it due to family emergency, I took a look at myself in the mirror — yep, legs are long compared to the rest of the body — and answered her calling.  But mainly, I felt some kind of obligation because I had been to Water Dog a little over 50 times by now and thought my intimate familiarity with the park could be useful.  However, when Patty started giving a briefing before the groups took off, I found myself swallow hard at her frequent mentioning of “fast” when describing LLL Ride. That was not in the description, was it?

My “Oh boy, what did I get myself into?” panic did not let up when I saw Kathleen pull up next to me. I recognized her right away even though we had never met because I had seen some photos of her on MTBR. There were some great tales about her. For example, she placed well at TransRockies Challenges 2002 partnering with Keith Bontrager. However, my favorite story was told by BigLarry that at Skeggs, she led a pack of hard ass guys in body armor down Steam Donkey, screaming out in her sweet voice: “Get a picture of me – I’m beating all the boys!!” When our group left the shop, it was me with three others: Kathleen, Chris, Camille, who seemed to all know each other well.  As if that was not intimidating enough, Beckie joined the group when we rolled by her house on Ralston. She was part of the crew who helped build the trails at Water Dog. I just heard Berry, a regular PTB shop ride leader, tell a story last Wednesday about his mountain biking trip to Oregon with a group of friends — 11 of them including Beckie. When they came to a 6+ foot drop at a 45+ degree angle, everyone walked it except Beckie. Berry ended the story with a comment, “I wish I had her techniques.”  Seeing the four of them chatting intimately, at that point, I was almost certain that there must be some great stories about Camille and Chris waiting to be told as well.

As intimidating as it should have been riding with such a group of great riders, it was the opposite. It turned out to be not only a relaxing ride, but also a super fun one. As our group grew bigger with the addition of Angel and Sam, conversations and laughs were abundant. Other groups were not too far from us and occasionally we heard them from all over the canyon. The little city park became very lively. From time to time, we rolled by various vista points where we could overlook the bay glittering in the setting sun. You just could not ask for more, but there was still a lot more this ride was going to offer.  Back at the shop, a few lads had already been busy cooking before we even started riding. When we got back to the shop, the spread was more than impressive, from all sorts of refreshments, to fresh salad, soup, cheese sandwiches, mashed potatoes, pork chops, steaks, home-made wild blue berry pies, cocktails, and more. Catching up with old friends, meeting new friends, and making future riding plans, we treasured this precious evening when we got totally spoiled. Oh, it feels so good to be spoiled once in a while.

Another great turn out
Riding towards the park. Beckie on the left, Camille in the middle, and Kathleen to the right.

Beautiful smiles on the bikes. Chris in the front, Sam to the left and Angel to the right.

The guys started working before the ride started. From left to right: Rich, Michael, and the head chef J.

And they were still working hard long after the ladies settled into the socializing stage.

Because of these guys, there could be a room full of ladies relaxed and joyful. Charles is half hidden way in the back. He is the cocktail mixer.

There was no way I would let Nat’s pink-neon colored hair escape my camera.

Susan showing Reba her birds.