Yesterday, I went for my second mountain biking voyage at China Camp. I’m fortunate enough to be borrowing what is apparently one of the best mountain bikes, ever. A women’s Specialized Stump Jumper. I’m not sure if its the 29er. I don’t think that it is. But I do know, that I’m a long way from being to afford such a bike. And I’ll be disappointed in any other mountain bike in the event that I decide to continue with this sport. And that’s a big if, especially after this weekend.
It’s funny, the first time you try something new sure its hard, but you push through it and are rewarded with endorphines and the satisfaction of good job well done. So why is the second time so much harder?
I’m not a great climber by any means. I huff and I puff and my quads burn. The week prior to mountain biking, I had spent road biking and running, crosstraining as I like to call it. So, why was my second trip so hard? The first part of the climb, I did really well, albeit all the while huffing and pufing. The second half of the climb was brutual. My legs became jell-o faster and I had to stop a few times on the trail in order to catch my breath and give my quivering my legs a break. Trying to stand to even make the tiniest of climbs was nearly impossible.
Then the rewardning part of the adventure began-the downhill. I should also make note that this is also the most dangerous part of the ride. The first go round I didn’t wear any protective gear other than my helmet. This time borrowing leg guards from boyfriend we began the descent. I can’t describe the feeling of ripping around corners and picking up gears as you shuffle on the rocks. The first time that I took on this adventure I had to get the feel of the bike and trust that the bike was going to be underneath me. I know that sounds weird, but sometimes after hitting loose rocks I could feel the bike shifting around under me. Not having the time to really think about it kept me calm. If I would’ve had time to think about the situation I probably would’ve freaked out and crashed. This time I was more confident. Probably going faster than I should have been going and taking a few more risks than was good for me.
My first crash was an easy one. I wasn’t going very fast at all, but my pedals clipped some rocks sending me off balance and down to the ground. I fell in a tangled heap on the side of the cliff. Ace was nice enough to disentangle me from the bike and readjust the seat which I had somehow landed on. I dusted myself off and continued downhill. I probably should’ve taken my cue to slow it down when I topped a hill a bit too fast and was faced with lots of treacherous trail. Sharp rocks, steep crevasses cut into the trail, and only a split second to choose my route. I somehow managed that one, but I was quickly about to meet my fate.
I knew the end of the hard techinical trail was coming to a close and I was getting excited. I don’t know what happened really. I was on an easy part of the trail, it was wide and nothing but dirt. I look ahead and see a tree. I knew that I needed to move to the right of the tree. But I was somehow unable to make this happen. I was breaking and trying to steer right, but nothing was happening. At the last moment, at least I think this is how it happened, I grabbed the left brake too hard and it sent me flying over the handle bars. Which scraped down the tops of my quads, which are now a lovely shade of purple. I also took a hard hit to my upper abdomen. I’ve never seen such a color before. It’s red with tinges of purple. But the worst is my shoulder. Immediately upon impact, I screamed out in the hopes of catching Ace’s attention. It didn’t work. I knew people were on the trail behind me and I couldn’t stay where I was. I somehow managed to pick myself up and move the bike out of the path. But there was no way that I would be able to finish the ride, which I was bummed about. I was doing so well. I kept apologizing for crashing because I didn’t want to be a disspointment.
I’ll get back on the bike, in a couple of weeks or more, because I can’t raise my arm past my waist at the moment. But next time, I’ll be a bit slower and go easier. Maybe, I’ll even go on a less physically demanding downhill course.