ok… I know I can do this. And it really pisses me off that I have failed in all previous attempts. And there will be an enormous “BOOYAAAA!!!!” from the woods on the day that it finally happens. But that day was not yesterday… *sigh*
What the hell is he talking about, you ask?
I have, as yet, to get around either Rock Bridge State Park or Rhett’s Run without either stepping off my mountain bike or flat out crashing. Even though I know it’s all rideable. Dammit.
Yesterday I got out of work a little early and headed out to Rock Bridge. My route takes me all the way around the outside of the park except for an area called the grasslands and is about 10 miles. I have conquered 90% of it thus far, although not all at the same time. Yesterday’s ride started off with much promise. I rode most of the first 5 miles much faster than usual and without so much as a wobble, even on some sketchy parts full of roots and rocks. All was well until I hit the only big water crossing…
See, this is not a tough crossing. It IS, however, subject to change. The way I enter the creek, there is a steep little drop into the creek and then it’s smooth all the way across. By steep, I mean like a drop over a big rock. You drop into the water and then pedal out. Unfortunately for me, the spot I chose to “drop in” to had changed and was now a water filled pit. I dropped my front wheel in, expecting to feel the bottom almost immediately. My wheel went in all the way to the hub. I found myself ass high, hovering with my nose about six inches over the water, trying desperately to figure out a way to save the shame that would surely come from falling into the water. But, alas, it was in vain. I vaulted… kinda… over the bars and fell face first into about 2 inches of water. Laughing my ass off all the way down…!
Thank GAWD there were no witnesses… or cameras.
But what pisses me off is that this is a spot where I have NEVER had a problem. I know… I know… That’s mountain biking. Put on yer big girl panties and shat up. Somehow though I managed to bend… of all things… my seat. Yougattabekiddinme… Crap. That’s all I could bring myself to say…
A well placed foot and a yank or two managed to get it back to rideable… but still. This “crash” happened at all of 2 miles an hour… and I bent my seat? Really…?
Even though I was wet from my little plunge, the heat from the embarrassment and frustration more than made up for the cold. Back on the bike, I vowed to make the rest of the ride, dab free. Then I slid out on a rock because the back tire hit it at a bad angle and it was wet. Then I came into a switchback too fast and ended up in the weeds. Then I tried to attack the hardest, most technical up in the park and bounced off a root instead of going over it like I wanted to and almost fell down a 60 foot cliff.
The point of this ramble is that I still have a long way to go. NONE of these places, except the last one, have ever given me problems. It seems like every time I go out, I flop over in a different spot. And it’s usually a spot that I have ridden many times in the past without a problem. See, mountain biking is like that. It constantly reminds you of who is boss. And, in a sick way… that’s why I like it. It’s not like running or swimming, you can’t put it on autopilot. You have to pay attention EVERY SECOND. If not, you go face first into the creek or bounce off through the weeds or fall down a cliff.
I will get around that accursed place if it kills me. Which is highly likely… But that’s what makes it fun…