Thursday, September 18, 2014

Overcoming Myself

2nd climb on River Trail
On August 5th I learned when to say "when" in terms of whether to keep going or call it. Decorah had not seen much for rain, and some of the trails were becoming too dry and more sketchy. Then rain hit on Monday afternoon, right in time for my commute to work!

You better believe I had a fun ride! I was soaked and had that "I just wet my pants" look for the first couple hours, which wasn't fun as I worked in an air-conditioned store.

I asked a couple friends on their thoughts for trail conditions for Tuesday morning. One would think with so little rain the past weeks, they should soak most of it up nicely. That didn't mean that they will be a cakewalk to ride, at least, not for someone who hasn't been riding dirt for years.

I was told they were on the greasy side, so I was game to give it a try. It helps build up handling skills if you learn to ride trails in multiple conditions.

Realistically, you won't have ideal trail conditions every day so one should learn to deal.
As long as you are respectful of when trails shouldn't be ridden (don't go out when they are water logged and leave a bunch of ruts!)  If you go out and find roots and rocks to be too slippery for comfort, it may be a good decision to wait another day. (You can read about that here)

I decided that I wanted to ride River Trail the same way I did last week and thought that if I accomplished the climbs when the trail was a little slippery would result in an epic accomplishment.
Looking down to where I fell.

The first climb was made complicated by some fallen rock, so I stopped to clean up the trail a little bit. Once free of unnecessary rubble I gave it another go and rode right up it. I was excited! I can totally ride this trail even if it isn't bone dry! I made my way to the second uphill, pedaling hard and fast, resulting in an unsuccessful attempt.

Not only that, but my tire had slipped and went on the opposite side of the shoring. I had enough room for my tire to sit, so I attempted to redistribute my body weight to the left, but my tire then slipped and I fell down the hill. (Thankfully not a very tall hill.) Ow. I believe I said "Ow!" out loud, as I landed on my right shoulder, forearm, and hip. I thought "This was a bad day to not get a massage. I bet I'll need another chiropractic adjustment."

It took me a couple more attempts before I managed to master the climb. I wasn't going to take "no" for an answer, not at all. I was very pleased with the success, even tho I managed to give myself some new bruises on my arms/legs.

After River Trail I went on the Luge and rode up Rocky Road.
I figured that would also be a great trail to ride given the circumstance and was happy to have ridden it successfully. It was definitely work and sweat was dripping down my face like I had poured water on top of my head.
I rode towards the pines, went down Gunnar, and decided to see how I would fare on North 40 again.
Not great.

Hairpin Uphill on North 40
My first attempt had my front tire over the root, but my back end couldn't ride over it. I kept spinning out anytime I was too centered vs. off to the left. Too far to the left would have my clipping a tree, but it was also the lowest entry point to get over the root.
I can't say how attempts I made. Countless.

One time I made it over the root, but aimed too high up and started riding up the hillside. When I attempted to correct I lost my balance and fell over.

I gave my legs tire marks, fell over, almost rammed my crotch into the top tube, and spun out.
My hair was soaking wet, my legs were becoming tired, and I was feeling down. I got to a point where I said "Fine." and started to ride up the hill, without success. I walked to the fallen tree, turned around, and rode back down the hairpin turn and out of North 40. I was tired. I hurt.
"Screw this trail!"

I got to the entrance of IPT and text Travis telling him I didn't make it today like I had done yesterday. I tried numerous times and just couldn't. I was going to ride IPT and go home (so we could go to lunch.) His text message "Good try tho! Maybe next time."
........
I felt like I couldn't say "when" yet.
"One more try...and then I'll head home."
When I started this second round, I was understanding a little more on where to aim my bike when I would go down the hill so I could re-position myself around the corner. It was all timing and momentum. I had to get myself started from the right spot, aim, and direct myself towards this particular section (between the root and tree) for my best possible chance.

One time became multiple.
I kept trying. Swearing. Perhaps whining. Crying.
I needed motivation and I wanted support. My legs were saying "screw you!" and I was so hungry. I ate a couple Clif Bloks, drank some water, and kept on.
Finally I hit the jackpot and I was riding up that damn hill!

Aftermath
Not shown- various arm scuffs.
I had to stop in front of the fallen log and cry. I was filled with so many emotions at that point in time...disbelief that I did it, relief, accomplishment, happiness, and exhaustion. Yes. This is what keeps me going.
I text Travis to tell him exactly what I was doing at that moment. "I am bawling in front of log. I did it!"

My ride home was one that had me smiling. I was plenty tired, definitely ready for lunch, and stoked that I managed to ride the trails in imperfect conditions. I wasn't afraid nor was I really nervous. I had been challenged, but managed to overcome the obstacles thrown at me.

 I overcame myself...originally telling myself I was done but then I managed to convince myself to keep on trying and prove to myself that I can.

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