Learning to mountain bike is challenging, fun, and sometimes scary. I would say that I am a solid beginner, and find this special joy in easily riding trails that seemed impossible a few weeks ago. So I am making progress.
My friend Diane is just learning too, so it we got together this weekend to ride the trails over in Carrabassett Valley that CRNEMBA maintains (they do an amazing job – the system has over 80 miles of trails for all skill levels.)
We immediately started exploring the easier single track. It was perfect for us, with enough challenge to help us progress, but not so much that we were walking everything. Eventually we crossed Route 27 to explore the trails near the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center.
After riding over there for a while, we headed back down to the Outdoor Center and spent a solid half an hour trying to jump our bikes over a stick we laid in the grass. This is a lot more fun than it sounds. Another rider even came over and asked to play jump the stick with us. His family laughed and cheered us as we alternately cleared the stick and landed on it.
When we decided it was time to go, we were reluctant to put our stick back in the woods and head back down the trail.
But we hopped on, started riding, and were soon both hooting and laughing as we rode down the swoopy single track.
I was moving down the trail, pig tails flying, looking ahead, letting the bike move under me. Big smile on my face, I was feeling a moment of “flow” that I have read about in mountain biking. Things were just going right.
But. Then I started thinking. Thinking too much is never good.
That damn tight turn was coming up. The one with the big rock and the cedar tree. So far I always hit one or the other.
I tell myself I am going to do it this time. Then I see it the tight turn and…well, I am not really sure what happened but my bike and I became separated for a minute.
I picked myself up off of the rock I was sprawled on (maybe that is what I hit?) and grabbed my poor bike, checking it for bruises.
Diane was somewhere above me, out of sight. I could hear her coming.
“You have that damn tight turn coming!” I yell behind me as I hop back on my bike.
“Crap. I hate that one…….WOOO! Made it! Did you make it?” she asks.
I contemplate not admitting this whole bike/body separation thing happened before answering, “…Um…No. It was a pretty spectacular crash though.”
“Damn! Sorry I missed it!”
Laughing as I roll down the trail, I smile as the flow comes back to me.
Thanks for reading!