So last night was s bike/hike/run event with a group from church. There were five of us, me and three guys. The youngest was Zach at 20, Nate is probably in his late 30's/early 40's, Matt is in his early 40's, and Bob is probably in his 50's. (Can you tell that I'm already trying to "get my testosterone on"??) We take off a little after 6:30 on an anticipate 2-hour event. I was a bit apprehensive about the riding part since it's been over a year that I've ridden on the road, and MANY years before that that I had ridden. Anyway, we got to the 3-mile mark without incident, and I only had to walk up 2 hills and 1 other spot that I would have been stupid to even try to ride on. So we start climbing, and Zach decides to stick with me as I wanted to do some running. It was amazing watching this kid run. He is a true natural talent. He bounded up the steps and the trail like it was nothing. He doesn't do any trail running, and just runs for fun because he loves it. He's one of those people who you know, given a just a little bit of training, would probably take the ultra trail running world by storm. His comment: "I just love to run." It was a true joy running with him. We all finally a make it to the top and Zach and I run the 1/2 mile loop and wait for the others to catch up. Everyone is in good shape, but Nate has one speed - hunting speed. A moderate and steady walk that gets him where he needs to go. Matt had misjudged the mileage for the up/down. He thought it was 3-3.5 when it's actually a 4.5 mile round trip. Since we didn't start the whole adventure until a little after 6:30, we didn't start down until some time after 8:00 and it was starting to get dark. Me - I forgot my frigging headlamp! Anyway, Matt, Zach, and I start power hiking down, and Bob and Nate are picking up the rear. The three of us get to where our bikes were and wait for maybe 10 minutes tops before the other two show up, and now it's really getting dark. So we all get on our bikes and we're off. Poor Nate is bringing the rear again 'cause he's on his kid's bike, which is too small for him, so he can't go as fast. I'm just trying to see where I'm going in the continuing darkness and am hoping there's nothing errant in the trail. Bob and Zach are a short way in the front, I'm in the middle, and Matt and Nate are a bringing up the rear. As I come around a corner, the trail gets significantly skinnier because of the encroaching "greenery." All of a sudden I realize I am losing my balance, and DOWN GOES LESLIE! To the left, into the 3-4-foot tall overgrowth. What pops out of my mouth? "Sh**!" I pick myself up and ride the short way up to where Zach and Bob are waiting for me, wondering if I'm hurt. No, but my pride definitely bruised. Then Matt and Nate show up. Matt: "What happened? Did somebody crash?" Me: "I did. I lost control coming around a corner." Matt: "Are you okay? Did you get any road rash?" Me: "Yeah, but it's fine. Nothing's broken." Matt: "Great attitude!" Off we go again with Bob, Zach, and Matt in front, and me and Nate bringing up the rear. Nate's a short way behind me, and, I kid you not, within a couple of minutes of getting going, I freaking crash again!! This time it wasn't as bad, but my pride has thoroughly ripped to shreds and I'm watching my "Man Card" slip away. Nate rides up behind and asks if I'm okay. Yeah, I just think the darkness is throwing off my equilibrium. It's getting hard to see. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!) Nate and I finally catch up the the other three at the top of a steep downhill. I just look at all of them and say, "I'm walking this. I have absolutely no confidence in getting down this hill without crashing." Everyone understands and takes off, and Nate says he'll wait for me at the bottom, which he did, and he and I start riding together again. There are some ups and downs, twists and turns, and I am just going for it and praying I don't crash again. It was both very exhilarating and frightening at the same time. Eventually we get to the last mile, which is all paved, and it's just Nate and me. I'm in the front and doing pretty good until I see a REALLY DARK section ahead, and I stop. I've been out there enough times to know the trail fairly well when running it on foot in the daylight, and I know this section bends to the left and has a dip, but it's just too dark for me to confidently negotiate it on two wheels. Nate comes up and stops behind me, and I ask him if he can bring out his light. It's a hat with a light in the brim! And instead of wearing it himself, he gives it to me. What a gentleman! We get started again and come upon Matt who had stopped to make sure we are okay because by now it is full on night fall. The last 1/2 mile or so, there are some pretty dark sections, but the little bit of light from the hat really helps. Finally - parking lot! Yea!! We made it!! 9:35 p.m. Three hours after we start and in the dark. I had SO much fun!! Even with the crashing. I definitely want to start biking more so I can get more confident. Plus, it's an incredible whole body workout.
And the moral of the story? ALWAYS bring your headlamp, and don't pop off any expletives when you're with a church group. ;o)
Leslie Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain -------------
2014: May - MDW 70-Miles (w/Trail Factor 50k) - Cascade Crest, WA/Astoria, OR/Portland, OR
June 7 - Grasshopper Peak Redwoods Run 30k - Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA
July 12 - Mt. Hood 50 - Mt. Hood, OR
Oct 11 - Firetrails 50 - Lake Chabot, CA
"The farther you go outside, the farther you go inside." (Unknown) Ultrarunnerpodcast
Trail Runner Nation
You know...most people...if they crashed their bike two times after not riding for awhile...hang their bikes up and never touch them again...oh, never mind...you ain't like most people...
Ya know, Mike--that seems to apply to most everyone here.
Nice riding, Leslie. Sounds like some of the riding that MS was doing not long ago. At least there wasn't any deer involved.
Richmond, here I come.................November 15th will be here quicker than I know.
Too bad crashes only count when there are witnesses. I'm glad only your pride is broken. It's great that you are mixing it up with others. It sounds fun.