“Do you need me to turn around?”
“No I just need a minute.” and someone to see what happens when I crash….
I was standing on the top of a hill holding my bike and looking apprehensively over both edges. It was a long way down and the trail continued a little further in front of me before taking a sharp 90 degree turn plunging into the dark depths below.
|It’s amazing what can paralyze you for no real reason.|
“Uh, sorry! Just give me another minute.” I hollered down to Sully who was patiently waiting for me at the bottom. Every worse case scenerio flashed before my eyes. My legs giving out and me falling over the edge and landing on my head, not making the turn and careening over the ledge only to leave a mangled mess of flesh and bones for Sully to find, oh I hope his phone has service! Ohhh I hope no snakes show up (my two biggest fears come to life a snake pushes me over a ledge.) Or what if I start riding down and just start cartwheeling with my bike.
My thoughts were cut short by Sully yelling if I wanted him to come back up.
“No I’ll come down, I just need a minute.”
Okay, you know how to ride bikes, well most days, but today you do. Just get on, clip in, put the seat down and get all the way back. If Wayne was here he would be calling you a baby, because that’s what you’re being. It will be over in 10 maybe 15 seconds. How long did it take to do Leadville, yah it will be wayyyy shorter than that. This was my inner dialogue as I psyched myself up. I cautiously got on and started pedaling while realizing I needed some speed so I don’t fall over when turning the corner. Just get back, just stay back, just….whoosh, my stomach was in my throat and it was over before I knew it.
“Yay! I made it!” I said as I rolled up to Sully. Lucky for me, he’s super patient and encouraging. It wasn’t so much the descent that scared me, I had taken steeper ones and survived, it was more of the height factor that I had to get over.
That was the second ride we did in Fruita, on the Zippity Do Dah trail. The first ride we did Mary’s Loop and Horsethief Bench, which were both smooth trails. Horsethief bench had a big rock garden that I had to walk, and I was actually nervous about walking down it
|It doesn’t look too bad from this view…but trust me|
because of how treacherous it was and how horrible my shoes are with walking. Miraculously I stayed up right and so did my bike. It was a great trail to warm up on with some technical features to remind you that you’re riding bikes and not in Leadville. The view the entire time rival those in Leadville with skirting in and out by the Colorado River and plenty of sandstone cliffs right there, it was definitely not miserable.
We finished the ride, grabbed some lunch and headed out to 18 Road to ride the trails out there which contained Zippity Do Dah and Kessel Run. Zippity Do Dah definitely felt like a roller coaster but with no height sign at the beginning to help you opt out of riding. It was actually really fun, except for the three times that I was stuck on top of an edge making Sully wait down below for me to convince myself I wasn’t going to fall and perish into the depths below. It has short very steep climbs that feels like a rope is slowly pulling you up because all you can do is sit and turn the pedals over and you have just enough time to catch your breath before it’s gone on the crazy steep descents. Which if you carry enough speed will take you right back up to the next drop. We got done and Sully made the comment how I should have worn a heart rate monitor ‘So you’re heart rate was 180, but you weren’t moving’ is how it would have been when I was staring fear in the face.
We started the 10-15 minute climb back up to get back to Kessel Run. “I promise this one is not like that, at least none of the height stuff.” Sully assured me. He was right (he’s never wrong), it was a short snappy trail with lots of “S” corners winding through the trees. It was a lot of fun, I tried chasing Sully down but that never seems to work so just focused on trying to stay relaxed going into the corners, and being aware of what was to come.
We finished and crested the hill just as the sun was beginning to set creating a magnificent scene with the Book Cliffs in the backdrop.
|It’s like the cherry on top of a great day|
The next day we headed out to the Lunch Loop Trail system in Grand Junction. This was another nice trail system with more technical stuff than the previous day but no significant height features and nothing too terrible. Definitely some walking spots but not an over zealous amount. I was getting frustrated with riding, not because I was having to walk, oh no, I was clearing most of the technical sections but then would slow my speed just enough that I would lose my balance and not be able to unclip and fall over. After about the third time Sully suggested loosening my pedal tension because of the fine dirt we road in the day before can get in there making it harder to clip in and out. I think he was just telling me that so I won’t feel so bad about my lack of coordination that day. I commented how I kept falling to the right side (which is the side that the drive train is on) and how I usually fall to the left to avoid doing any damage to it. Sully pointed out that since I was still clipped in my body was taking the beating and not my bike. Always a silver lining. After about the fifth time he asked if I could stop doing that, I told him I would try. The last time the trail funneled into a bridge made of two wooden planks. I had lost speed going into it because I wasn’t really sure where the trail was going and was searching for it. I over compensated realizing I needed to be on the bridge and felt my bike slip out from underneath me before I could unclip. I went down not hard, but made a pretty good ruckus and then just sort of laid there for a while as I contemplated just what I was doing. Sully came back to check on me and to make sure that I hadn’t fallen in the creek. “I’m fine, just forgot how to ride bikes, that’s all.” Luckily I made it back to the trail head with no other sensationally uncoordinated moments.
I’m hoping some of my coordination decides to reappear for this weekend, I’m doing my first cyclecross race. A racer once asked me if I was going to do any cyclecross races, my response was “I think that requires more coordination than my body has ever known.” I told my mom and she asked if it’s a race where a lot of people crash. I paused and then replied “No.” She thanked me for lying.
|In case you’re wondering…we’re still dating despite my lack of coordination|