Yesterday, I went on my first “really big” mountain bike ride… Really big meaning really long… leaving from our house at the base of Bishop Peak, climbing to the top of Cuesta Peak and then looping back down down down.
The ride up Stenner Creek and Stagecoach is a grunt. Not too technical, but just long, gradual inclines. As we climbed, we were granted some incredible views of the hills and city below. Spring in San Luis Obispo is beautiful… everything is so verdant and green. By the time we reached Shooter’s trailhead, we’d traveled only 8 miles, but had climbed over 1800 feet.
We turned to ride down Shooter’s. Shooter’s is a fairly steep single-track that winds down Cuesta Peak, hugging the west side of the mountain. The cliff falls away to the left, so if you’re gonna fall, you better fall to your right. It’s a long, rocky, steep way down the other way. It hasn’t rained much this spring, that much was apparent from the technical conditions on the trail. Sharp rocks jutted from the dusty, rutted dirt… my front tire bounced along and I struggled to “keep it loose” in my arms… All I really wanted to do was tense up, a sure way to get bucked over the front of my handlebars…
I held on, and stopped to meet back up with the husband just above the eucalyptus grove. “I’m gonna go through the trees, and I’ll meet back up with you right down there,” he said, pointing to an area in the trail I knew well.
“Oh… that’s the spot where I almost fell last time. I’ll probably walk my bike down,” I said.
“Yeah, that other girl ahead of us got off and walked at that part too,” Tay’s words were encouraging… sort of a ‘don’t worry, you’re not a wuss’ pat on the back.
But as I approached the steep section, my ego piped up. “I can do this. I’ve done it before.”
I felt confident at first… But as I brought my weight too far back behind my seat, the bike began to pick up speed. Waaaay too much speed. A sharp turn to the left, I miraculously made that turn, and then one more steep section to go…
The next 30 seconds were some of the scariest of my life as I clamped down on my rear brake, completely neglecting my front brake, the bike began accelerating instead of slowing, and just when I thought I could maybe gain control, as I neared the end of the steep decline, I noticed something ahead that wasn’t there last time… Someone had built a jump.
My bike bucked me off going top speed, I landed with a thud and a whimper, and I lay there, curled up, afraid to move… Sure that something must be broken… Apparently I scared the sh*t out of the poor husband, who was sure I’d suffered a broken collar bone at the very least.
Luckily, nothing broken… just bruised ribs, bruised swollen hip, knee, and missing skin all along the left side of my body. Oh and a bruised ego. Once home, I picked the rocks out of my skin with tweezers and doused half my body with disinfectant and guaze.
I can’t help but feel a little proud… My first ever really big ride, and my first ever really big fall. I feel like a “tough chick”. Maybe I’ll even scar!
No yoga this morning. I might try practicing tomorrow, but sleeping is an exercise in pain right now, every time I move, I’m awakened… so perhaps not.