With a newborn at home and a minor back injury to boot, I missed a few weeks of exercise and fell into a woeful state of conditioning.
My first hike out was one of my favorites: Will Rogers Park over the grass field and down into Rivas Canyon. Over the years, we’ve done this hike many times and it’s always a great two-hour adventure.
However, on this particular warm night the folks that showed up were all from the gonzo crew, a fast-paced bunch of speedballs who leave newbies behind to die and send folks like me back to the barn.
Those darn Kiwis, Bill and Pauline Henry, took the lead in their usual sprint mode. I was chatting with Bill for the first thirty minutes or so, which was mostly downhill or with only subtle gain and felt pretty good. As the trail narrowed and we shifted from the Rivas Canyon floor and began to ascend Rivas Ridge, the frenetic pace remained constant and I casually slipped back, and back again until I was walking sweep.
We usually turn around on this hike about midway up the Ridge where there is an unusually interesting rock outcropping and stunning views of the canyons. But no, the group decides that two hours be damned, they’re going all the way up to the Backbone and then loop back to Will Rogers – a three-hour trek at the Kiwis’ relentless pace.
Anticipating the humiliation, I discreetly announced that I was heading back, which no one seemed to mind. Just to kick my self-esteem while it was down, however, an entire group of runners came flying by me, seemingly unfazed by the heat or the terrain. I was back to the trailhead in about an hour and a half, cooled down and grateful to head home like the proverbial gray mare.
The next day, one of the hikers, Jacques B., confirmed that the group made it back in three hours. They also checked their altimeters and picked-up 1200 feet of gain in about 90 minutes. My hiking cap off to them! It isn’t the gain that’s the killer, it’s the pace.
Give me a few weeks to get back in shape and I’ll try that trail again (as long as those Kiwis aren’t setting the pace).(Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes, should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735)