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Lessons in Mountain Biking: Tipping Over is Okay
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Lessons in Mountain Biking: Tipping Over is Okay

Saturday I went riding with two of my friends, Clara and Kristin. It was a beautiful day to ride the paved trail, unlike the day before where it was cool and windy. The sun was out, there was a small breeze, and one could pedal fast and actually feel like they were getting somewhere!

We rode the loop twice and took a detour up to Palisades to add in some extra hill-climbing to our ride. By the end of our ride the sky had turned grey and the wind had picked up, which gave me some sadness. I was really looking forward to going out and mountain biking and it was uncertain if the weather would cooperate or not.

I wanted to go mountain biking?! What the heck?! This coming from someone who was unsure last year if she could accomplish much of anything, now she found a desire to challenge herself and a new-found confidence. I can’t lie, during the paved ride I looked over to the trees across the river and had a feeling of desire. “I want to be out there.” I also can’t deny that I’ve had an itch to go out and try riding on my own where I’m familiar, just to see what I can do. That pulling feeling is getting bigger and I'll have to try it sometime.

It did rain a little, but not enough to make the trails too wet to ride. Hooray! Travis was unsure if the weather would hold, but I was itching to go even tho I’d put several miles on my legs already.

I can’t say I had a perfect ride anywhere on the trails that day except in the pines, but I didn’t care about perfection. I just wanted to get out and play! I made myself go back and re-do the rock area on the trail because I had went off the trail and up into the hill. Knowing I had accomplished that spot the day before, I couldn’t let myself get away with such a minor blip. Practice makes better, right?

The rest of the trail went fine and Travis thought he’d take me up Julia to see what I could accomplish. I did have to walk a couple spots, but did make accomplishments at the same time. I made some turns that I didn’t think I could do, but unfortunately couldn’t make it up the steepest inclines. There was a down-hill section that got me really nervous, but I did get down it and that’s what mattered (to me.) On Gunnar I did get past the tricky root section where I had to go up and around, and made it all the way up the steep hill to the top. I got off my bike, laid it down, and plopped my body on the grass and let myself catch my breath. Until Travis reminded me about ticks being out and thus ruined the whole laying in the grass bit.

We went through the East Pines for a bit and found an alternate way out and around and went back down Gunnar. Now, I’m not going to say I’m slightly disappointed with what happened on Gunnar, but I am. All was well until coming down a hill and at a slight turn, I somehow got myself unbalanced and tipped over. I can’t deny that I was a bit nervous at first, because I had no concept of how far over the edge of the trail I’d go. If I could make a sound effect to describe what happened I’d say “plop!” “Oh…that’s it? Okay…I’m okay!” I got up and was slightly shaken, but I think mostly it was adrenaline-based. Back on the bike I went and down the rest of the hill. Well, today is not a dabless day and I’ll have to be okay with that.

On IPTV with the log now cut that had been in the middle of the trail, Travis felt it would be a good spot to session (going over the log like you would a sidewalk curb). Gain some speed and give yourself a little launch, go back over the log and get that tire up. We didn’t work the area as much as I’m sure we will on another day, which I was fine with because I was running low on energy.

When I came to the banked corner and I took it lower and slower than last time, which worked well and I enjoyed the rush. The rest of the ride was great and I felt accomplished regardless of what I did not do successfully that day.

For me, it was the concept of getting out there and playing in the dirt-not how perfect a ride I could do. Sometimes the fun you have regardless of the dabs, is all you need to feel complete.


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