Send As SMS

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Marla of the Jungle

“Marla of the Jungle.” Got a nice ring to it. I liked that it fits in with my fantastically misguided sense of self. Catchy.

Riding through rain forests and wet tropical jungle amid the screeches of howler monkeys, the flapping of brightly colored parrots, and the pungent aromas of ripened mangoes, papayas, and bananas, I really enjoyed pretending that I was “Marla of the Jungle”.

It was easy while I was in the tropics.

marla streb
Marla posing with a monkey...

Back home now in California it is a little harder to do, buffeted by the droning highway echoing inside the shell of my helmet, but that's what i-Pods are for. As soon as I hit the single track out at Montana d'Oro, I punch up some Black-Eyed Peas and ride my Blur like a rocking horse winner…Marla of the Jungle, Marla of the Jungle.

I know. I have an active fantasy life.

I used to ride my bike for hours at a stretch pretending that I was putting a gap on Juli Furtado, on my way to the top of a NORBA podium. That was back in the day of my Sony Discman and my skipping Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Drenched with sweat, my thighs trembling with each circle, lungs on fire, in my feverish helmet I was “Marla of the Breakaway”. People often assume that mindset is easy. Just close your eyes and dream. That's a crock.

Even just pretending that I was faster than Juli Furtado was hard work.

marla streb
Stuck in the mud...

Moab. Marin. Sedona. Whistler. Mont Ste. Anne. I flew down trails just a bike length ahead of Juli Furtado. She was relentless. Chased me everywhere. Right on my wheel. I could never let up. Not even for a second. I used to spill more water from my bottle down my chin than I ever drank. Juli chased me right onto a chair lift.

I then became Marla of the Downhill.

But, in the jungle I found the right line to take. From now on during my training rides I won't be riding away from anybody. This race season during my training rides I'll be in the thick of that single track jungle. I'll be riding past coatamundis instead of subdivisions. The shadows cast across the trail from powerlines will be the slithering of dangerous snakes. In the gym I will swing from the chin up bar like a spider monkey. Okay, maybe more like pregnant spider monkey. I might even continue to sleep under a mosquito net (that can't be any more crazy than sleeping in an oxygen tent, can it?)

marla streb
Costa Rican singletrack...
Marla of the Jungle.

After Interbike I'm going back to Costa Rica to explore new trails and dig even more.


DHDANXC said...

That is great. I pretend that I am running and biking sweet, rolling singletrack here in the concrete jungle of El Cajon. Here is the address I told you I would send you for my friend Manny V's adventures website (Costa Rica, Angdorra, Hawii, Southeast Asia, etc.) His contact is listed. Enjoy the fantasy rides until the real thing comes around.
Dan M

7:35 PM  
Anonymous said...

Hey Marla, If youre interested we have about 15 miles of singletrack in ciudad colon, 20 mins form escazu. If youre in san jose give me a call..come check them out see what you think. Take care, Jacques 896-7188

7:48 AM  
Anonymous said...

If you want to enjoy all the downhill trails that Costa Rica offers let me know, and I would be more than happy to help you.
Visit my site to see more...

Matteo Brancacci
Out Of Bounds Tourist Center

1:28 PM  
Silvia said...

There's a lot of people promo-ing for Costa Rica... I like the title "Marla of the Jungle" and you doing the visualizations of putting a gap on Juli Furtado. A lot of it is mental. I want to go riding. New motivations in my head.

5:55 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home