Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Long Ride!

I just got back from a relaxing trip to Erin’s parents house on Lake Michigan. After an early morning flight I was ready for a nap when I got home. I awoke to my phone ringing, it was my friend Mark asking me if I wanted to go mountain biking. “Yeah, that sounds great” I said to him. It was a beautiful day outside plus the trail we were going to was minutes from my house making it an even more alluring offer. I stuffed my bike into my car and a few minutes later I was rolling into the parking lot. I arrived at the park just a few minutes before Mark arrived.

We started out on a pretty easy winding trail, dodging an occasional rock or stump, I thought to myself, this is going to be a great ride. Soon, we arrived to a fork in the road (or trail in this case). There was a sign directing us to a “More Difficult” trail or our other option, the “Most Difficult” trail. It made me realize that it was going to be a “difficult” trail regardless of where we went. Anyone that knows Mark knows that he will always take the “path of MOST resistance” and therefore we were soon headed down the “Most Difficult” trail.

It didn’t start out too bad, it was pretty fast with a few more rocks to go around and some bigger logs to ride over. I was starting to get a little tired but I had a feeling we had a long way to go. After about one hour into the ride, I was about to jump over another set of logs. Apparently I didn’t pull my front tire up at the right time which I soon realized as it was pounding down onto the first log in the pile. I found myself looking straight down at this huge pile of logs, well, it looked huge as my face was plummeting towards it. Before I knew it, my left upper leg was slamming into the log and I was bracing my fall with my hands. I yelled some expletives, only so Mark would come back to check on me and found myself laying there on a pile of logs with my bike tangled and laying on top of me.

I wanted Mark to feel like he was helping so I let him pull the bike off my limp body. He asked if I was okay, “Yeah, I’m fine” I responded. Then he laughed at me, of course by this time I was laughing at myself. In the future, I’ll know that if I’m feeling a little too lazy to pull my front tire high enough to clear the logs, I can think back to this incident and realize that a little more “oomph” will prevent me laying in the dirt for 5 minutes.

After I got back on my bike, we continued down the trail. It got a little more complex with more logs and some narrow bridges and even a teeter-totter. However, by this time I wasn’t biking quite as fast and didn’t feel up for all the challenges the trail presented. I was having fun, however I was anxious for the trail to dump out into the parking lot where my car was located.

We arrived at what I thought was the end of the trail, chatted with another biker for a few minutes and then headed to the parking lot. I was ready to be done and it looked like we were getting close. Mark was ahead of me and the last time I saw him we were meeting each other on a switchback. Every time I hit a switchback, I thought it was going to pop out into the parking lot, but it never did. I found my legs starting to cramp up, after all, one of them was developing a huge bruise from my run-in with the log earlier. I also realized that my rear brake had gotten damaged in the crash and was now dragging, adding insult to injury.

After I couldn’t find the energy or leg strength to muscle my way up another hill, I found myself pushing my bike up a through the woods. I noticed a group coming up behind me. As they got closer, I realized it was a dad with his two 8 year old daughters. I can’t believe this, I’m getting passed up by a little girl with streamers on her bike. I asked him how to get back to the trail head, he told me, “Well, if you stay on the trail, it’s another 6 miles to the trail head.” What!! Somehow I had missed the turn to the parking lot and I was already a mile back into the trail. I asked him if there were any shortcuts and he agreed to show me how to get back on city streets.

A few minutes later I was pulling into the parking lot. The whole ride was about 8 miles but I felt like that guy on TV that collapses after finishing an Iron Man competition as I pulled up to my car. Mark had called my cell phone (which was located in my car) asking where I was. He said he had been out of the trail for 30 minutes already and was worried that I had crashed. I touched base with him and we met up a few minutes later.

We agreed that I was an idiot for missing the exit from the park and that we would do it again next week sometime. My goals next week are, (1) Don’t crash, (2) Don’t get lost, (3) Don’t cry, and (4) Have fun!

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