The Day I Failed at Biking 29 Miles

Yesterday, I rode my bike to the ferry in the morning and then planned to ride all the way home from KQED in the evening. It should have been just under 29 miles. I should have no problem riding 29 miles.

I had some problems.

This is what it should have looked like. The red arrow is where I stopped, gave up, got a beer, and made Steve come and pick me up:

That's still like 75% or something. Totally a passing grade.
That’s still like 75% or something. Totally a passing grade.

I’m not exactly sure why I failed. I started out riding through SOMA, by AT&T Park. I only got sort of lost and ended up in a sketchy dead-end under the freeway once. It was a nice day and I thought, ‘Hey, this is sort of pleasant.’

Then, I hit Pier 39, which the tourists flock to for the seals (or sea lions, always unclear to me) and for the people who hide in bushes to scare them. It is, apparently, European tourist season right now. Sometimes, it is Asian tourist season. It seems to have something to do with country holidays and seasons and schedules and economics. European tourists are really into tourist-y biking. They also have a different attitude about biking. That attitude appears to involve hanging your helmet over your handlebars, riding four abreast, and taking pictures while you weave in and out of traffic.

Then, I rode over the Fort Mason hill into the Marina and came to a dead stop. The wind has been bad this week and that area is always windy, but I don’t know enough about the city to have remembered this. It took almost as long to bike across Marina Green and Chrissy Field as it usually takes to run it during Escape from Alcatraz.

By the time I finally got to the bridge, which was still stupid windy, I was realizing this was going to take significantly longer than I thought it was going to. But, hey, the bridge, the sun, the birds chirping in trees, etc.

Just like this.
Just like this.

I thought the other side of the bridge would be better. It wasn’t. It was wall-to-wall, stopped traffic. I wasn’t sure if it was always this bad, so I asked someone and they said, no, this was weird. Coming down into Sausalito, there is no shoulder and it’s all tour buses — one of which tried to pass me and then make a right turn before having completed the pass, nearly taking me out. By the time I got through Sausalito, I was ready to be home.

My emotional and physical collapse came pretty quickly. At the start of the Sausalito-Mill Valley bike path, I felt ok, but hungry. By the end of the bike path, I was starving and wanted to lay down.

In classic bonk fashion, I was day-dreaming about all the things I was going to eat when I got home, but then I realized we didn’t have hummus or chocolate-chip cookie making materials or fries. I also realized I had no food on me, since I’d eaten it all at the office. Super awesome plan: stop at Safeway.

I may have even taken a wrong turn on my way to Safeway — even though I’ve ridden this route probably hundreds of times. I was tired.

At Safeway, you probably think I got a bar or something. No. I ate a Kit-Kat and a donut. Then, I gathered up: two things of hummus, two avocados, a bag of chocolate-chips, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and regular sugar. Just as I was cramming all that in my backpack and starting to wonder if this was not my best idea ever, Steve called and said he’d be getting in about 25′ later if I wanted picked up.

No, I said, I’ll keep going. I can bike 29 miles.

Then, I made it a wobbly 10′ farther to the ferry, realized I still had at least 30′ to go, almost crashed into a couple trying to cross the bridge over the freeway, and gave up. I sat down at Brew Co, ordered a beer, and waited for Steve to get me.

Apparently, I can’t bike 29 miles. I’m not sure why. It’s just one of those days.

3 thoughts on “The Day I Failed at Biking 29 Miles

  1. You biked 25% more than whatever you did… That is what you add when it’s windy. So, figure that in. I love your stories. Thanks for sharing and hope the cookies were good!

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