Monday, November 27, 2006

Trail Karma

This weekend was full of mountain biking, friends and family and beautiful weather. The first ride of the weekend was my birthday ride. We had fifteen people show up and it was a blast. I am working on a picture montage for posting later this week. For now I must report on yesterday’s ride.

Yesterday ten of us met at the Kitsuma trailhead for an all day feast of dirt and sun. I will probably screw this up but I will try to name names anyway. Eric, Rich, Erina, Jody, Jessie, Ben, Bill, Drew are all the names I can recall.

Since I had helped Woody with Trail Dynamics move a log on Friday, I figured my trail karma was bright as a daisy. Well apparently I am no huckleberry, because this was not going to be my day on the bike.

We started out climbing the switchbacks of Kitsuma and it went the way it always goes. Ride a little walk a little. Once we made it to the top, we were off on the first single track downhill of the day. Kitsuma is fun and fast but it has seen to much use over the past few years. Most likely ORAMM has attributed to this. The ruts that have formed in some sections of the trail are pretty tough to deal with. Partway down the trail, I found myself behind Eric and luckily he stopped to shake his hands out after a bit. It gave me an excuse to stop as well. The downhills in this part of the forest are long and very fast. We continued on and made it down without mishap.

Everyone re-convened at the bottom and off we went to cross the railroad and head up to Star Gap. Going down the connector from Star Gap to the grassy road is where my troubles for the day began. We started the downhill and I ended up with Drew in front of me and Rich behind me. Drew made a move over a set of logs and I slowed down more than I would have normally for my own move across the logs. Well I committed myself to the move when I should have bailed. I didn’t have the speed or strength to get my front wheel up high enough and planted it right in the middle of the log instead of on top where it should have been. Well the next thing I knew my ribs were smashing the log. I was struggling to get out from in-between the log and my bike when I was asked if I was ok. Sure it felt as though Mike Tyson landed a punch to my ribs but I was ok. Rich apparently was thinking optimistically as he said “He’s not all right.”

I got back up and finished the downhill without a hitch. Actually I cleaned all the switchbacks going down. I am normally not a good switchbacker but it was one of those days.

My next mishap was on the grassy road to Curtis Creek. I was railing a turn when both my wheels slipped out of nowhere. I went down hard enough to hear my helmet whack the ground as I hit. This one hurt even more than the first. I received a nice gash on the side of my leg from this one.

Next up was the climb to the Parkway via Curtis Creek road. Eric and I had never made this nine miles on our singles before and we were wondering how it was going to go. I had to walk a couple of the steeper pitches but I was pleased with my attempt.

I knew it was a special day when I got to the parkway, laid down and noticed that the air wasn’t moving. I have never seen a day that beautiful in late November. We climbed up the parkway taking in all the vistas along the way. It was amazing to see a barren landscape after the crazy fall colors we had this year. Not a leaf left on any tree.

Apparently I had jarred my back wheel pretty good on one of my falls. We were rolling up the parkway when I heard pingggg, paTINK, clinky clinky, clinky clinky. One of my spokes broke in half. Eric loaned me some pliers and I yanked it out and stuck the spoke in my pack.

We made the hike a bike up to the top of Heartbreak and stopped for a rest. Jessie exclaimed that he was hitting the wall and asked for a few extra minutes to gather himself. This was good news to my ears. He proceeded to pull out an energy drink and a flask from his backpack. I asked what was in the flask since I was out of water. WHISKEY! Sweet, I took a swig and then everyone took a swig. If you can’t have water, whiskey is the next best thing.

The whiskey did not improve my Karma as I fell twice more coming down Heartbreak. We eventually made it back down Hearbreak and headed up Old 70 back to the cars.

Forty-four miles and seven and a half hours later we were back at the cars. Great ride!

Late Edit:

I met too many people this weekend. I had to go back and change some names. Told you I would get them wrong.

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