Its been awhile and although I have been riding, I haven't been riding enough. Deadlines at work and projects at home have gotten the best of me. I've been so exhausted lately that I've been lucky to hop on my bike to commute to work. I did get a few lunch rides in during the last two weeks but I struggle to open my eyes even at 7am right now so morning rides were out. So it was great that the youth in my ward decided to do an evening bike ride on the rims before their "Iron Man" activity celebrating their completion of reading the Book of Mormon in 60 days.
I took advantage of the opportunity and left work early to pedal the mountain bike trail on the east side of the rims to the parking lot where we'd be meeting. It may have been my desire to get in some extra mileage or my dread of climbing 27th Street. Its one tough, steep climb with cars whizzing past your elbows. The route I took was a combination of paved trail and single track. I had a great time flying over the obstacles and even tried the drop that Mike and I discovered last time we rode the trail. I didn't completely make it but I stayed on the bike. I need to let go of the front brake and I think I'll do fine.
I met up with the youth exhausted, hot and sweaty. I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep up or perform very well. We sat around, tinkering with bikes and waiting for others to show. The longer we waited, the more energy poured back into me. By the time we left I was ready to roll. I was directed to lead the pack.
We had a slow start but quickly gained momentum. I stopped the group as we approached the large drop off of the boulder to warn them of the obstacle ahead. I leaned over to another leader, Nathan, and asked if he was going to do it. Of course he just jumped on his bike and rolled right of the edge. Nothing to it. Except that in my last attempt, which was successful, I busted my bike up pretty bad and had to buy a new crankset and saddle. It's freaked me out ever since. Since Nathan made it look so easy, I felt obligated to drop of the rock as well. That dang ego of mine! I approached but couldn't get clipped in in time. I yelled, "I'm not going to do this!" but by then Nathan had already pulled out the camera. I went back for a second approach but still couldn't clip in and stopped again. What the heck. I let go of the brakes and rolled right off the edge down the crevasse in the rocks and cleaned it (without being clipped in) with little effort. What have I been so freaked out about. I think I finally got over my mental barrier.
I found myself leading again down the trail. I slowed as we approached another obstacle to warn the riders behind me. Its an easy roll down the face of a rock onto the trail, a sharp turn, and then back up the hill but I have seen it get the best of a couple riders. The last thing we needed was a broken leg or bad gash from a crash. I went first and showed the kids how to get down. I navigated the obstacle perfectly. However riding back up the trail my back wheel slipped and my front wheel grabbed in some strange combination that left me completely helpless. Yes, I crashed. I smacked a tree and went up and over the handle bars. Hurrying to get out of the way of the other riders, I tugged on the bike but the bike tugged back. Somehow some brush got caught in my rear spokes, cassette and derailleur. It may have even caused my wreck. I had to carefully pull the brush out of all the components before I could get back on the trail while trying to regain whatever pride and composure I could muster up. Unlike most of my other crashes, this time I had witnesses.
I lead the pack the rest of the way back. We finally made it to the church house, 45 minutes late for the activity, wolfed down whatever food they had left and enjoyed the remainder of the program. After the activity, I pedaled home and cleaned up. While sitting on the couch with Sarah almost an hour later, I looked down and saw this: