It’s been less than a year since I first headed south on the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, a trail I’d formerly been content to ride the five or six miles north to its terminus, then turn around and stop wherever I’d started.
The first time I rode south, I got my ass handed to me. I rode with my friends Jessica and Dan to Hermosa Beach, about 15 miles south, but not anywhere near as close to the end as we thought we were when we cried uncle and went to an Irish pub for a burger and a beer.
By the time we got back, I wound up availing myself of Jess and Dan’s offer to give me and my bike a ride back to my apartment, because I wasn’t sure I could make it the final two miles without falling over into oncoming traffic.
The next time down was even sillier: I decided to ride to the end of the trail, which I thought was about half a mile south of the Hermosa pier, but was in fact at least 3 miles further, two miles south of the Redondo Beach pier.
But I managed to not only make it all the way to the southern terminus, I managed to do that AND make it all the way back to my house in one piece. I could barely move for two days afterwards, having brought nothing but a ton of water and a granola bar with me, but I did it.
I’ve been working towards riding the whole trail ever since, incorporating such radical ideas as “bringing a lunch” and “drinking some Gatorade.”
I wanted to go for it last week when my car needed the first of its two hideously expensive repairs, but last week it was so windy I had to get off and walk for long stretches of time.
But today, during repair #2, it was overcast and about 65 degrees with minimal wind. I ate a giant breakfast, and I set out with lunch, granola bars, a crapload of water, and 32 ounces of Gatorade, and I did it.
I rode the whole fucking 44 mile round trip trail in just under 5 hours, including a couple fairly long stops for lunch and another rest when I got all the way to the north end, and a bunch of shorter breaks.
Once you throw in the six miles I rode getting to and from the mechanic’s, it works out to almost exactly 50 miles. And while I’m pretty damn tired, I’m not the kind of bone-exhausted that I was after that first ride south.
While the weight is not coming off the way I’d like it to anymore (although at least it’s staying put), it’s milestones like these that make me feel like I’m still making good progress.