Friday, August 8, 2014

Cat’s First Time.

I had been bugging her to do it with me for over two-years.  And, everytime I asked, all I got were excuses why she would simply not do it with me.  “I’m not ready.”  “I’m too tired.”  “It’s too hard, and looks too big.”  “I’d like to, but it looks scary.”  And, “I don’t have time.”  After enduring brush-off, after brush-off, why couldn’t she just cooperate, I thought?  It would just be far easier to give in to my wishes, and fighting back just prolonged the inevitable, anyway.  I mean, deep down, she knew we were both going to do it someday. 

So, I kept at her.  And, I kept at her, knowing one day I would get what I wanted, and that afterwards, she would thank me, wondering why we did not do it sooner.  “We could even make it our own, little secret,” I said.  No one had to know if it made her feel better about the whole thing. 

Then, finally, one day, I thought to ask an additional time.  And, she actually said…, yes.  I couldn’t believe it!  I had finally worn her down, and she caved in to my strong suggestions (“Demand” is just too harsh a word) actually agreeing, at long last, to just do it with me.  About dang time, girl!  “You won’t regret it, and I am going to show you one heck of a good time,” I exclaimed with a big ‘ol grin on my face.  So, setting up a date and a time, we finally got together, and we actually did it. 

And, you know what? It was as much fun as I always thought it would be, in fact, even more so.  Catrina (Cat) was finally broken in, and forever the way she saw herself was changed.  She would be a new woman, having done something she had never done before: 

She and I climbed Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) together.

However, she and I did not do it alone.  With the help of a couple of friends of mine, the husband and wife team of Mike and Carla (M&C), we all got together to, “Do it,” aka, ride the Hill.  We met at M&C’s house near the base of GMR for an early evening ride up the famed twists and switchbacks.  But first, a little back story on the event’s cast of characters.  

I have been riding with Cat for over three-years now, and she has become quite an exceptional cyclist.  In addition to riding, she also runs, swims, and hikes, yet the only things she had not done was a serious, prolonged, mountain climb on a road bike.  I always knew she could do GMR.  The problem was convincing HER that she could do GMR.  Thus, with the help of the aforementioned friends, M&C, we agreed to pace Cat up the hill for her “First Time.” 

Cat, after "Doing It." One, happy Climber.

As for the dynamic duo of M&C, well, they are on a whole other level from most recreational, non-professional riders I know.  For their age group (north of forty), they are two of the most physically fit people I have ever seen.  And as for their cycling proclivities, in addition to road cycling, they are also big mountain bike people and hikers, too.  Everytime I ride with them, they both drop me like a bad habit.  And the worst, sickest part of these two is that they both ride with FLAT pedals!  There are no clips or clipless pedals to be found on their road bikes.  The day these two move up to clipless pedals and cleats, they will destroy us all. 

The dynamic duo of Mike and Carla.

Meanwhile, back to the ride…

Beginning the ride at 5:15 PM, the weather was warm, but not too bad, and the air was pretty clear by San Gabriel Valley Basin standards.  M&C said they would go easy on both Catrina and I, however, it turned out they would all be going easy on ME, as all three of them soon dropped me like a losing lottery ticket.  Up, up we went, and with every switchback, I could see I was a little bit farther from the trio.  So, I just settled into a rhythm, with a steady cadence, simply enjoying the scenery, while keeping my brain busy with various cerebral exercises to distract it from my burning legs.  I also kept my mind occupied by remembering one of GMR’s greatest assets (other than the view): Its wonderful descent (it’s one of the axioms of going up – You must also come down.  Thank you, Mr. Gravity!).

When we finally arrived at the top, we stopped, took stock of the moment, drank some fluids, shot some photos, chatted a bit, and all eyes, and amazement, soon turned to the mountain goat we discovered.  Cat climbed like a Pro, kept up with both M&C, and had me wheezing to keep up.  And remember, this was the woman whom had resisted any, and all, of my attempts to get her to go up there in the first place.  Yes, she took to the climb like a proverbial fish to water, and it was as I had been telling her all of those years: You will thank me for it, and wonder why you did not do with me sooner (hah, I was right!).  We then bombed down the hill, and as exceptional a descender as I am (true), I could barely catch Mike on the way down.  I live for a good descent, and GMR delivers. 

At the bottom, and after we parted ways with M&C, whilst Cat and I were having dinner, she inquired if it was as good for me as it was for her.  The smile on my face told her my thoughts.  And, we agreed to do it again soon and as often as possible in the future. 

‘Cause, as everyone knows, the more you do it, the better you get, right?

I also insisted she share with her husband exactly what we had done together.  In fact, I told her to rub his nose in it, and get him to “Do It” with her, too.

* Editor’s note:

Climbing GMR in the late afternoon on a weekday: There were a lot of friendly cyclists on the hill at that time, and motor vehicle traffic was about non-existent.  It was really quite a refreshing time to go up there, as I have done the ride on weekends when it is a complete, and total, zoo.  If one really wants to do GMR, and really enjoy the experience, I recommend riding it on a weekday (the same goes for Highway 39, Azusa Canyon).

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