I knew going out on the mountain bike trails would be an iffy thing after all the rain, but I was willing to take the chance. I figured that they would be a bit slick but not completely water logged and impossible to ride. I felt like it would be my one chance this week to have a somewhat successful ride in the dirt, considering the weather indicates more rain chances during the week. Rain and humidity were already delaying the dry-out of the trails so I wasn't going to have much of an option for an ideal ride.
I started off on the newer section of IPT as I wasn't sure if the tree had been cut on the original section (the one I'm most used to riding) I knew I needed to work on the "rock garden" section of the newer IPT trail, so try I did. I kept finding myself getting stuck, the rocks were also a bit slippery which made poking around difficult. I walked my way through the rocks and looked up to the other section and saw the tree was likely cut. Well, that would make getting out of IPT easier for sure!
My back tire liked to spin out and I realized quickly that the thought of a dabless ride would not be in the cards today. I continued onward and made my way to North 40 which was a hefty challenge. The steep, uphill turns were not easy for me to do and I did a lot more walking than what I considered "normal". Not a huge deal by any means, but a small amount of frustration formed in my head. “Well, you chose to come out here today. Make the most of it!”
I wanted to see if I felt scared of the downhill hairpin turn that I have to sit way back on. About two weeks ago Travis and I rode when the trails were a little slimy and that downhill made me nervous. Today I didn’t have a sense of anxiety at all when I took the turn. It gave me a rush and a feeling of accomplishment on multiple levels; I’m becoming more comfortable with the trails in a variety of conditions.
I had some struggles on Gunnar but my ride though the pines made up for it. I felt good with my decision to ride the trails today. It’s a good riding lesson to take on trails in conditions that are not what you are used to. You have to figure out if you need to lower your air pressure (which I did in my back tire, just a little.) You need to work your body, to see what keeps your bike moving and not spinning out from under you. Rocks are slippery, the dirt is slick, and you ride with a bit more caution.
I made my loop back, which is Gunnar, North 40, and then back to IPT. Everything went pretty well, and I decided I’d try the rock garden at IPT again. I managed to get through it and discovered it’s easier to tackle it going downhill than up. Then I decided to try getting up the steep hill. I looked at it knowing that I would likely not make it, but why not try? My back tire spun out, I tried to step off and found the dirt on the side was too soft and slippery. My pedal smacked my shin pretty hard, one of the pins poked me, and I became tangled up in my bike. What the heck!? I had to laugh at myself while I got untangled and tried to go back through the rock garden. Not graceful at all and I smacked my shin again.
I opted to check out the older section of IPT to see if the tree was really gone. Hooray it was! So I continued on and decided I’d turn around and do IPT again. I was going along and all was well until I came to the rocky/gravel section that runs along the side of a hill. (You could call it a second rock garden) I’m not entirely sure what happened other than I started tipping over to the left. If it was because I stalled, hit a wet rock just right, or maybe some invisible creature gave me a push.
A few explatives escaped my mouth as I tipped over and landed feet-first into the dried up rock bed. It seemed like it would be a more involved fall, but thankfully it wasn't. I then panicked over my tipped over bike. I looked it over and was surprised to not even see a scratch, nothing was broken or dented. I felt like it was okay to start breathing again. I got on my bike and collected myself and continued onward. I felt I made myself go slightly more aggressively from the standpoint that I didn’t want that fall to keep freaking me out. Back through I rode everything just fine and did not experience another tip over in that section.
When it was all said and done I felt I had some good learning experiences. Sure I got a little banged up on my legs but it was worth the accomplishments and challenges. I didn’t turn around and call it quits, instead I chose to “ride it out" and that was the best decision I could've made for myself.