Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Black Diamond Mines in the dark

The summer is ending for us. We're getting ready for school again. As an end-of-the-season treat Tricia and I... Well, really just me.... thought it sounded like fun to ride through Antioch's Black Diamond Mines area at sunset and then ride home in the dark. I put the knobby-tired wheels on my mountain-bike-turned-commuter bike, charged up the lights and convinced Tricia that fun would occur.

And it was almost fun, in a different sort of way. We're both road cyclists. Our Mountain riding is really trail riding. I never "take it off any sweet jumps," and "technical decent" is not part of my vocabulary. None the less, off we went up the fire trail. The gravel fire trail. The uphill, loose gravel, who-needs-traction fire trail. It wasn't too bad, but having my wheel slip occasionally was disconcerting.

Then, as the light faded we got to the wall.

I swear I remember riding all the way up it in the distant past. Not tonight. It'd steep, but that's OK. What isn't is how loose it is. Between the gravel and the dust not having my wheels just spin became too hard. I ended up pushing. I hate pushing bikes. It feels like a moral failure. I like riding bikes, not taking them for a walk. Yet there I was, pushing slowly in too many spots. By the time we made the ridge the daylight was mostly gone, so we decided to head North and drop down to the road instead of East and back through the park.

All is good, even though descending, even slowly, in the dark with a light was more worrisome than I'd thought it would be we got to the road and started our nice downhill run. Listening to the knobbies hum on the pavement as we floated down was really fun.

Then suddenly I feel psssttttttt, psssttttttt, psssttttttt. I'd puncutured. The rhythmic escape of air as my wheel turned changed to the sound of floppy tire on pavement and I slowed to a stop.

The day had turned night, as in dark, but we had lights. I pulled rear wheel, checked inside the tire for sharp stuff and popped in the new tube, inflated and hopped on. Psssssstttt. I must have missed something; I was flat again.

We gave up. Tricia started riding home and I pushed my bike a mile or so to the park entrance where I waited an hour for her to come back with the car. When I got up the next morning I realized I didn't have my cell phone. Whoops. I rode back to where I thought I might have dropped it, there it was, right in the road, not run over.

Today I'm going to put the skinny commuter wheels back on the bike.


  1. Anonymous1:20 PM

    What a fun sounding ride. We usually ride Black Diamond from the parking lot over by the entrance to Contra Loma. Oh, and on mountain bikes. :-)


  2. I've never been very keen on riding in the dark. Maybe it's because of the mosquitoes or just the fact that I'm afraid someone will use me as target practice for their massive 4x4. I am a large target after all. Black Diamond at dusk must have been beautiful though. Too bad about the flat though. I've got some cool art to show you once school starts plus some stories of my own so I'll bug you later Curtis.


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