Monday, May 18, 2009

Not Quite the Weekend I Expected (but still fun)

Our Plans: Jesper and I had grand plans for this past weekend. We wanted to RIDE RIDE RIDE our mountain bikes. Our plans were contingent on a couple of factors:

1. The first factor being whether or not, and how much, I would have to work over the weekend. I had BIG grant proposal due on Monday (what sicko sets a grant deadline for a Monday, knowing everybody will end up working over the weekend to finish it?!?). My team had lofty goals of finishing the grant on Friday, but I was so uncertain about this, I even passed on going back to Ohio to help my sibs out with a big house improvement project to get Dad's house on the market. I crossed my fingers that I would be able to ride a little bit both days.

2. The next variable was the weather. Every weekend for the last month, it has been gorgeous during the week, only to turn nasty on the weekends. We were hoping this trend would change (and it did!).

So, Friday came and, not surprisingly, the grant was not done. Ugh - I would have to work on the weekend. So, I made plans to ride early Saturday and do grant work afterward and hoped to figure out a similar work/ride split for Sunday.

Plans Derailed: I awoke at about 3:00 am Saturday morning with a massive headache. I tossed and turned until a more decent hour. As Jesper and I prepared breakfast, my headache intensified: the pounding was incredible and mostly on one side of my head; I was dizzy; and even though it was cloudy, I just wanted to close my eyes to block out the light. Realizing that I looked like $hit, Jesper told me to lie down. It felt better to lay perfectly still with my eyes closed and a blanket over them. I managed to eat some breakfast and then lay down again, this time with my eye shades on to completely block out the light. I laid on the couch ALL DAY like that, only getting up to eat because Jesper made me. Clearly, no riding was going to happen whatsoever. I managed to send one work email letting my team know that I was sick. Otherwise, I was completely incapacitated. I eventually went to bed desperately hoping I would wake up the next day magically feeling all better.

And the next day I woke up feeling ALL BETTER! I was up earlier than Jesper, so I hopped online and researched migraines; I had a suspicion that's what I had experienced. BINGO - I had a classic case: unilateral pulsing headache; dizziness, photo-sensitivity; improvement of symptoms by NOT moving; I even had a rash on my neck that I hadn't noticed the day before. Classic migraine.

Prior to this experience I thought I had an idea of what a migraine was like - you know, a really bad headache. Unh Uhh... I now know that a really bad headache doesn't even come close to the feeling and pain of a migraine. Your worse hangover, not even close. Not even close. These things are so unbelievingly aweful! I hope I never have another one and I feel so sorry for the millions of people that have chronic migraines.

So, the migraine completely trashed our riding plans for Saturday AND kept me from doing anything on the grant. Would I be able to sneak in a ride on Sunday? I jammed on the grant and made plans with my work-team for me to finish my stuff up around 2:30, let them digest it and then work more on it after they'd given me their feedback. From 2:30 to dinner time, while they were digesting my budget info, Jesper and I sneaked away for a ride!

The RIDE: We headed up to Nederland to ride the Dots with Jesper's Intense 29-er Spider and my borrowed Specialized Safire. I have this bike as a demo bike for a bit, as I am looking to replace my 6 year old Titus with another 4 to 5 inch travel FS bike, preferably before I break it! (I also plan to add a BIG bike to my quiver). I'd ridden a lower end of the Safire, but now I have at my disposal for a little while the Expert Carbon version of the bike; not quite the top of the line, but almost.

That is one super sweet bike! I plan to write a detailed review of it after I thoroughly test it out, but here's the low-down: that little bike is MADE for a woman, not a man. Tube thicknesses are thinner since a female rider doesn't weigh as much as a male rider. The geometry is proportioned for a smaller person with a woman's typically longer legs vs. torso. And, most importantly, the suspension is designed for someone around 140 pounds or less. Most suspension is designed to work for a male rider at 160 to 180 pounds. I have never been able to get a suspension system to work properly for me; if I put the lowest amount of air recommended in it, I can't get all the travel I should and if I put less air in it, the shock or fork doesn't work right. The Safire has suspension dialed in for someone my weight and has Specialized Brain technology. The long and the short of it is the I get all the travel I need when I need it and no bob.

Once I got used to the fit, which positions my body differently on the Safire than on my Titus, I had a blast rocking that little bike up steep loose stuff and down technical rocky stuff. Here's some pics of me enjoying the bike:

Coming down a rocky techy section (it's steeper than it looks!)

Making a face as I whizz past Jesper - don't want to hit him!

More techy rocky section and more funny faces!

I'm smiling, not grimacing!

Jesper had fun too!

Jesper rockin' the Spider!

Jesper in the aspens

Jesper and I ended up having one great ride; not quite the 2 whole days of riding we had planned, but it did the trick. Wore me out, made me smile and gave me a huge sense of satisfaction. I didn't even mind working a bit Sunday night and getting up early jam on the grant again Monday morning.

The Grant: Oh - BTW - I finished the grant at 2:40 Monday afternoon. Twenty minutes to spare!


Kim said...

I'm so glad you like the Safire and I hope to see you riding one of your very own soon!

LyndaW said...

Migraines floor me for 2 days - the first with the pain and neurological weirdness and the day after with a hellish hangover. I average about 1 a year. You were lucky to get out for a ride the next day.

I test rode a demo Safire and loved it. I hopped on and rallied it right away. Looks like you did to by the photos!! I am thinking about buying one too. The suspension worked so well.

Carey said...

Sorry to hear about the migrane, I wonder why you got one?
What fork is on the Safire?