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Lessons in Mountain Biking- The Glorious Tip-Over
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Lessons in Mountain Biking- The Glorious Tip-Over

I was introduced to the lower-half of Boa recently and was thoroughly intrigued by that trail. I learned that it was a pain to attempt to ride up; however, there was an addition to it called Snail Trail that was a bit easier. Not to take away the fact that it is also a painful climb (for someone of my lung capacity) and I had to stop for breaks several times on my way up.

I’m not familiar with these trails at all; I was completely lost when I came to a split in the trail. I had several options to take and no concept at all which to take or where to go. I sighed and decided to go left. I pedaled slowly and cautiously, it seemed easy for the most part but at the time I was on a very flat part with nothing technical. Eventually a sign came up to the left of me, Upper Mother’s Day, and I had a light bulb go off. No. I did not know where I was in the broad scope of things, but I was familiar with the name of the trail. I also had no concept at all of how technical the trail would be, all I knew was that I was going to poke around on it and see what I could do. I was nervous and reminded myself that it was okay to walk sections (which I totally did) and amazed myself with some spots that I managed to be brave enough to attempt. (Some downhill swoops that were a lot scarier than ones I’ve done on Little Big Horn. I’m talkin’ a drop off to your side that’s a lot farther down than you’re used to seeing.)

I was proud of myself for exploring, but I was nervous because I was still, quite lost. I didn’t know where this trail would take me. All I knew was that I would have to be to work on time, so the goal was to find my way back down and out.

There was a steep, hairpin-like downhill turn that took you to Middle Mother’s Day. I opted to walk down it and continue on. Then I came to a section that really was beyond my technical abilities, but I figured I’d give it a winning try. It was a swoop that took you up a very steep uphill, I’m sure that it’s technically ride-able if you come at it very fast and know what exactly you’re doing with your body. Try as I might, I would not hit it with enough speed; mid-way up I lost momentum and had a completely grand tip-over. “Ow.” I looked around and no one was to be seen, which was good. Tangled up in my bike, skin scraped off my knee, and tell-tale signs of new bruises showing. My seat was turned off to the side but other than that everything was okay. “Whew.”

I was a bit in shock and I knew I had to keep going; it’s faster to get home on bike than it is by walking. I decided to try climbing up that hill and I’d keep exploring Middle Mother’s Day. Well, I came to another section and decided “Scratch this. I’m going to ride back on Upper Mother’s Day…this is just not the day to work this trail.” So I cut across to the trail slightly above me and rode back (what I felt comfortable on) to the section that stumped me. “Do I go down Boa? Where is Snail Trail? I’m so confused!” Everything was flipped around and I was completely lost. I decided to head down and over the rooted section, finding myself going down a longer and slightly intimidating downhill. “I think I’m going the wrong way?! Why did I think this was a good idea?! Ugh! Oh! Yeah! I know where I’m at!

I made my way out and felt really good about myself. So off I went to try my second trail destination of the day-River Trail. I haven’t been on River Trail for almost a year, and I knew a good amount of it was easy enough for me to ride. There are some technical sections on River Trail, mainly two uphill climbs that were and still are, difficult for me. I came to the first one which was a bit on the rocky side and attempted to get up it, but stalled in the middle. A second attempt proved the same result and I decided “Why don’t I ride down it?” so I walked my bike up to the top and rode down the hill. I felt confident when I succeeded, knowing last year steeper descents made me nervous. A third attempt had me up the hill without too much struggle and I felt really good about that.

The second uphill was the trickier one and still proved to be a challenge. There is a section of root where you have to needle your tire through, and the climb is overall steep-so momentum is your friend. I attempted a couple times and found myself struggling, but I figured I could at least make it down the hill without falling over. Last year I didn’t attempt to do it because of the root and corner making me nervous. This year I did it like a champ, but my last attempt at trying to get up the hill did not work. I climbed the rest of the way and proceeded to go down the hill towards the end of the trail. Last year that hill was used to help me get used to going down a descent without having to brake so hard. I went down it right away without any stall-outs or nerves getting in the way. Eventually I made my way to the end of the trail where you go down a short little hill, over the rocks in the river, through the river, and up another small hill. I managed to get up the hill without tipping over, but I did have to put a foot down at the top. If only I had gone slightly faster, then I think I would’ve been able to keep going without stopping.

I decided that I should reward myself with a ride through IPT and North 40. I had an inkling of an idea on how to get home, but I wanted to ride two familiar trails first. On North 40 I ran into a fellow mountain biker, we chatted a bit and I told him of my “grand tip-over" Encouragement was given and I decided that I was ready to try one more “new” experience today. I would go on Fred’s to the Luge, which I’ve been on both trails only once before (with Travis and Kristin.)

I was nervous, but I figured that if I was already in an experimental mood I might as well keep on going. The worst that could happen would be my not making it on the downhill corner of Fred’s and having to walk down the hill like I did the last time. Well, much to my surprise I managed to ride Fred’s dabless! I let out a big whoop when I came to the bottom of the hill and continued onto the Luge to end my outdoor adventure for that morning.

It was definitely an interesting time out there! Sometimes I find that I have to push myself to try something new on my own, especially when I’m in a curious mental state. That is the time when I’m most open to accepting my mishaps along with my successes which helps me grow with my confidence and lessening the fear of trying new trails.

 

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