That is the text I got from Kris at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning. There's only one way out and that's down! I should have known I was in for the time of my life or the end of my life when we arrived at the top of the hill. After a good 30+ min. climb up a steady road Chester, Kris and I arrived at the trail head. This would be my first REAL trail ride. It's been over 2 years since Trisha, Darin and I ventured out onto the Wilson River for mountain biking. Chester hung his bike and took a look at the map to see what new trails they've built since his last trip here. I just stood there nervously excited. When Chester turned to Kris and said, "Does her helmet look good", I should have known something was up. However, I was still living in my world of mountain biking. He asks if he can mess with my helmet. I comply because I just pulled it out the box and put it on. Kris told me to stop calling it a hat about 2 weeks ago. I was still slipping up occasionally. Not anymore! They messed with the adjustments a few times, twisted it on my head, tightened the back then said, "Now we're ready". Off Chester goes down the trail, followed by Kris then me. Just writing about this experience is making my stomach get butterflies. The trail was not kind from the get go. It started steep and then the rocks came. Along with slippery wet rocks there were roots that gave way to drop off's. Some more than a foot deep. A drop off in of itself wouldn't be so bad but we were already on a steep grade. It felt like you were going to go ass over bars. Along with all that was the narrow winding aspect. It is a typical Oregon mountain trail. Lots of big trees, ferns lining the sides, mud and the drop off. Fall to one side you tumble down a hill filled with old logs, rock and trees. Fall to the other side and hope you'll bounce gently on a rock or stump. Kris was riding in front of me and dismounted a couple of times. I would come on her as she was trying to get back on, running down the trail with her bike. It was hilarious! She was banned from making any noises like whoaaaaaa or ahhhhhhh. Once she made a noise I knew there was something hairy in the path. I would immediately dismount. If Kris is making noise it's for a good reason. My subconscious picked right up on that and I would react by stopping. Once you're off the bike on this steep technical trail re-mounting is no easy task. I have to say this was one of the scariest things I have done. Outside of our Mt. Adams circumference when we had to climb up onto the ice in order cross a raging river this may be the most terrified I have been in a long time. I am not kidding. My heart would continue racing even when we stopped. My adrenaline was rushing throughout my body and my eyes were completely bugged out. Obstacles were everywhere and abundant. I came upon them so fast I had almost no time to react. Before I knew it I was riding over things I would have not even attempted on my bike. There was just no time to dismount. My bike was awesome. The full suspension system rocked! The lightweight, small frame came in handy on some of tighter parts of the trail. I came to appreciate my bike even more. I really got to feel it action on Saturday. It almost rides itself! I love her J
After about 30 minutes of total terror the trail mellowed. It was less steep and had less obstacles. This was the fun part. We rode the loop all the way back to car then did another
half loop on the lower section. As the day went on I began feeling much more comfortable and in control. I only fell twice and neither incident was bad. This was so good for me. It was pretty much a shove into the nuts and bolts of trail riding. It's one of those experiences in which your perspective is forever changed. I love that. A technical trail has now been completely re-defined for me. What's possible on my MTB is forever redefined. It can't get much better than that. My hands were aching when we finished. It's the result of the constant death grip. I am uncertain whether I want take Bill out there. He is fearless and loves speed. I worry he might launch himself off the side and get hurt. I love him so much I may need to save him from himself, ha, ha. He is itching to get out there.
Sunday was my first run in the Gorge for the season. It's been months since I've been out there. I got my butt further kicked by the relentless trail. It made me appreciation the late summer strength Gorge running brings. The hills we ran today were nothing like what I'll run later and I struggled on the baby stuff. It was full weekend of renewal. It's really starting to look a lot like training season. Races are popping on the radar and folks are talking training. My need for more is brewing. It's that feeling you get when you know you're ready to become better. I got filled up this weekend.