I have been kicking around the idea that I would like to do a new, local race here in Columbia called the Amphibian Race. It’s a 3 mile kayak, 3 mile MTB and a 3 mile run. It’s at a pretty state park called Finger Lakes just north of me. I have never kayaked before but reasoned that I could figure it out enough to get me through 3 miles and I have run out there many times so the mystery was the mountain bike.
Since my internet connection kept crapping out and it was hard to get work done, I decided to sneak out in the afternoon to the park and try out the course, called Kelly Branch. The only people in the park when I got there were mushroom hunters so I knew it would be quiet and I had vowed to go slow and just study the course a bit. Then if I felt like it I could do another loop (2.75 miles) or two just to get in the workout.
Maybe it’s just my lack of skill, but this course seems very difficult. Steep, short, ups with sharp, narrow turns at the top followed by downs that are just as sharp and off camber. Several turns are just impossible. The only way is to go in deep, stop the bike and bunny hop the back wheel around… on the side of a steep hill. Good luck with that. Anyway, it was disappointing and clearly not for me. I’m not a good enough rider to do anything other than get frustrated and hurt on that course so I won’t be doing that race.
Speaking of getting hurt…
I was coming down one of the steep, blind, narrow sections (read: a normal part of the trail) and came to a water crossing. The creek was up enough that it looked fun but I wanted to look closer at it. What I saw was that the path through was kind of “S” shaped and loaded with cantaloupe sized rocks. Tricky but doable. What I didn’t plan on was how snotty the rocks were. I lost control and fell… In the water. But thank goodness those rocks were there to break my fall. So as I sit here with one knee about twice the size of the other, numbing it with an ice pack, I am dealing with my first injury this year. It’s just a bruise but it’s deep and painful and , of course, it’s 4 days before a half marathon… *sigh*
I went out and tried to run on it this morning and it felt fine for the first 3 miles or so and then it started hurting and swelling and I had to back way off to get through the run. Then it stiffened up and didn’t want to bend. When will I learn…
So now I have to take off for the rest of the week and try to let it heal before the race. Swimming and biking should be OK, but the rest of the day today I won’t be very mobile.
In all I must have fallen or stepped off the bike a dozen times or more. My shoes were so full of mud that the cleats wouldn’t even clip in to the pedals. I am bruised on my knee, my other knee, my elbow, stomach, hip and shoulder. I cut my knee pretty deep and got tree rash on my forearm from trying to catch myself on a big stump when I fell in the creek. All from one, three mile ride. Yeah… I thought I was pretty good on a mountain bike…
So it’s back to the relative safety of Rock Bridge and Rhett’s Run for me for a while. I may ride Kelly Branch again, but I sure won’t race it until I am much better on a mountain bike. No, for races I will stick to the road on a bike. I will run out there because it’s technical and fun to run. But I’ll leave the racing to the big boys. By the time I get out of the kayak and get off the mountain bike, there won’t be enough sun left to run by… 😦