Riding it Out- The Gut Check.

I apologize for posting rides out of order, however, I feel like my ride this morning is a story worth sharing while everything is still fresh.

Travis gave me a better introduction to the Dunning's trails last weekend, so I've been incorporating those trails more to my rides. I want to become more familiar and adaptable to the trails in that park, so I've been alternating my route a little.

Also, I am trying to avoid the wall of wild parsnip that got me on my wrist during my last Pines ride. (Nothing says attractive quite like a bubbled up blister on your wrist.)

After experiencing the fun of the two new log sections on Little Big Horn, I decided that I wanted to incorporate the bottom half of that trail into my ride. Yesterday I had great success with a tricky and root-y hairpin turn. First try and I went around it smoothly! I was pumped!

Today on my ride I accomplished another challenge. When you go the reverse way on Little Big Horn you climb up some steep switchbacks. I can make most of the climb minus a couple spots and once you come to the last one you have to get over a section of roots. Today was the first day that I rode over the roots without getting hung up! (Hooray new chain ring!)

I was feeling very accomplished and thought to myself that I'm getting closer to my goal of eventually riding that portion of trail dabless. I came up to the tight, hairpin turn that I needed to ride down. I rode up to it confidently, sat back on my bike, guided my bike..."CRAP!" I cut too high and turned too far in which resulted in my tipping over. Usually I'm able to stop my fall with my outer leg, catching myself before anything really happens. This time I lost my balance more than usual and fell with my bar end ramming itself into my lower abdomen. I emitted a groan of some sort and had a long series of "Owowowowowwwwwwwwwwww....." Yeah, that'll bruise. I won't lie..It flippn' hurt! (This is why you use barplugs, folks.) I laid my bike off to the side for a moment so I could breathe and let some tears fall until the pain subsided. I was thankful to not have an audience.
Fun log pile!

"Let's do this again."

I did it again and this time I successfully went around the corner and continued onto the enjoyable log piles.

I took another breather when I reached Rocky Road, opting to walk my bike to the entrance of Fred's vs. riding. I didn't want to stop riding, but I was having a hard time deciding how long my ride should go.
"I'll just ride through the discomfort."

I felt better after a successful ride down Fred; I made my way to the Randy trails to head up to Dunning's. I had a better ride up this time than yesterday, gaining speed in spots, remembering when to lift my tire over a root, and not getting confused by a Y section. I did have to try the uphill turn onto Backside a second time, but that wasn't a big deal. A root-y section that has challenged me was easily accomplished, but further up my tire spun out on a root. I felt frustrated, but I'm getting the area down and before long should be able to master that section more times than not.

Missing a sock, anyone?
There is a fun loopy trail called Captain's that I rode on before riding along Upper Ice Cave. I had in my head I would find my way back to Captain's trail and ride it in reverse, but I still get a little confused how to get back to where I came. It's all about the route you take and I'm pretty pathetic with directions! At some point I'll catch myself and then I'll have an "ah ha!" moment and never forget.

I love riding down the twisty, Upper Randy's trail; maneuvering around switchbacks makes me feel good. I'm not entirely sure why since I'm not doing it fast, but being able to move the bike under me and move my body through the tight corners has me feeling pretty badass.

I'm still fresh with learning but I'm finding that I'm becoming less intimidated by certain areas. I'm taking initiative and working on sections or trails by myself. Today I decided to ride a trail in the opposite direction and found I was not scared of the downhill root corner like I was the first time. Little victories like that make me feel more confident with myself.

The tip-overs, gut-checks, and other minor injuries are just all part of the process of gaining better handling skills.