This morning Andy dusted off my road bike and pumped up the tires for my first ride of the season. Ever since almost eight years ago when my tire exploded while I was pumping the front tire up due to the tube being pinched, I always dread/fear pumping up the tires on my road bike. When it explodes it is LOUD and SCARY. Anyway, being the nice guy he is, Andy often pumps them for me. And yes I am a scaredy cat.
I met my father in-law, Ray, and sister in-law, Erin, for the first ride up Bogus Basin Road of 2010. For those not familiar with the Boise area, Bogus Basin is the local ski resort and the road from my house to the resort at the top of the mountain is approximately 17 miles UPHILL (obviously). Each year in late August or early September a local cycling shop, George’s, puts on a race to the top. If you recall, last year, I was almost last so my goal for this year to to finish further from the back and maybe beat at least 20 people to the top.
I am happy to report today’s ride to the 9-mile mark felt infinitely better than any of the rides felt last year. I am a lot stronger even though I feel fairly out-of-shape and the muffin overbake is still in full form especially in the bike shorts I was wearing today.
The drama of the ride today centered around bulls. About three miles up the mountain, a women drove by in her SUV going the opposite direction and rolled down her window and yelled to us that there were bulls ahead. The chatter between Erin and me turned from topics of a baby shower and update on friends to the potential of bulls charging and wondering if we should turn back.
We passed the first bull almost before we realized we had but quickly noted the size of his horns and that luckily the sharp points had been filed down. I wonder how bull owners make bull horns dull? Actually, if it is anything like when my parents tried to put a rubber band on the tail of our short hair puppy when we were kids, I don’t want to know. My sister and I started crying and the dog got to keep the longer version of his tail.
After passing another bend, a black bull was walking down the side of the road. Erin and I panicked and Erin quickly proclaimed that she needs to work on her “bulldar” to prepare herself for the passing of bulls. I started laughing over the word “bulldar”, one of more than a dozen hilarious words Erin has invented over the years. If you ever want a really raunchy/funny blog post, let me know and I will share some of Erin’s other words.
The ride up to the 9-mile mark went well and as I mentioned I felt good and surprisingly strong. Only the two previously mentioned bulls were hanging out close to the road. All was well on the way down as well until we reached Bull #1 and Bull #2 again. They had formed a little loitering bull gang on Bogus Basin Road. Bull #1 was on one side of the road and Bull #2 was on the other side of the road with his head hanging over the cement barrier that prevent cars from going off the road.
As we got closer Ray kept saying everything was going to be okay while I kept saying, “I don’t know if I can go around him.” We both ended up being correct as Erin and Ray passed the bulls and I promptly turned my bike around and started going back up the hill again. I started wondering what exactly I thought I was going to accomplish with this and forced myself to turn around and face the bulls. Meanwhile, Ray was talking to the bull telling him to ignore me and pay attention to him.
I gritted my teeth and started cranking my pedals and before I knew it I had passed the bulls. Ray was laughing at me saying he had never seen me climb so quickly (this was one of the two little hills on the way down the mountain) and Erin was laughing at Ray calling him the “bull whisperer.”
Our first weekly ride up Bogus Basin Road ended in traditional fashion with the “bull whisper” buying us coffee at our favorite coffee shack.
I am looking forward to rekindling this weekly summer tradition!