Instead of the usual Sunday road ride, my friend Maggie and I decided to get out the mountain bikes this morning. She put an invitation to join us on our club’s message board, but we had no takers. When we showed up at the club ride start, some of the roadies greeted us with bemusement at our getup, but soon we left in different directions.
Our target was Bauerle Ranch, a subdivision surrounded by nice singletrack trails. (I’ve written about it before.) We had had a little bit of rain overnight, and the dew point was high, so once we got onto the trails close to home, we could see that today’s ride would be somewhat muddy.
The thin grass along the trail has exploded in growth with all the rain over the past couple of weeks, and being wet, it gave us leg baths as we pedaled along the skinny trail.
But the rain had had another effect, too: It put a lot more rocks across the trail. I don’t mind rock gardens the way I used to, but the ones today were loose, and I could feel my rear wheel skid out to the side when it glanced off them. Nothing serious, but I did find myself stop and walk over a couple of areas that I had ridden just weeks ago.
At Bauerle Ranch, the trail starts out as easy singletrack, but soon starts to dip with lots of rocks to navigate. I was leading the way, and came around a corner to see a large rock in the middle of the track. The front wheel slid a bit, and I realized I would not be able to navigate around the rock — but I wasn’t about to hit it, either. Yeah, right. I hit the brake — the front brake — at the same time the front wheel hit the rock.
Bam! Endover! My right leg slammed into another rock along the trail, and I wound up on my bottom, legs across the trail and my bike on top of them. Already, I could see blood start to roll down the shinbone. I struggled to get the bike off me, as Maggie sympathized.
“What a sight you are right now!” she exclaimed. “I wish I had a GoPro for that one.”
“It felt like I was going over in slow motion,” I said.
“It looked like it, too,” she shot back.
I got untangled, and we mounted back up and kept going. The rest of the ride was mostly uneventful. Maggie got well ahead of me when I slowed to chat with another biker we encountered, and when I caught up to her, she was at the side of the Veloway, intently staring at the ground.
“Look at this cool spider!” she said. “It was in the middle of the Veloway, so I got it off to the side so it wouldn’t get run over.”
It was cool, but neither of us had any idea what it was. (If you know, fill me in.) We left it, and headed home.
Back at Starbucks, we got to assess just how muddy we were from the day’s ride. Our bikes took the brunt of it, but we were well-spotted, too.
It was good to get back on the mountain bike again. But I still suck at it. I’ll keep flailing away, and hope to get better.