Thursday, June 26, 2014

round valley still has teeth

H works with a guy (a good MTBer) who gives him a hard time about riding at Round Valley every weekend, wondering that H doesn't get bored with it.  H replies that it's a place that I enjoy MTBing and so it's something we get to do together; other, more challenging places tend to intimidate me and I don't like MTBing as well when I'm pushing my bike more than riding it.  Pluswhich, both H and I have found that any MTBing requires our full concentration and focus - if we start thinking about something other than what we are doing, we're going to crash or hit something or ride off the trail - even at little ol' Round Valley.

This Sunday was, I believe, our sixth time out on the MTBs.  By now, I can remember the features and quirks of the loop we do and am riding with more confidence.  I'm trying to ride with both feet clipped in more (because you get a lot more power out of your pedal strokes that way) and I'm trying to ride a little faster in places I feel safe.  I made it up My Nemesis and the Nouvelle Loop switchbacks with both feet clipped in, finding that much easier; H conquered Hammerhead/Pladsen Hill again, making that six out of six.  I even had a much better day riding up the Sweet Sixteen switchbacks, only having to walk two of them this time.

Cruisin' up the Nouvelle Loop

When I caught up with H at the top of the switchbacks, however, I noticed dirt on his bike shorts.  He'd actually crashed out on switchback #7, the really rocky one I always have to walk: just as he was starting the turn, his front tire hit a rock and turned ninety degrees right; H turned ninety degrees to the left, landing on the rocks with his forearm and hip taking the brunt.  His arm was already bruised and starting to swell up by the time I reached him and it was all looking pretty impressive ... until we started down the switchbacks on the backside of Rambler and I crashed out on a rocky, downhill, righthand turning corner that always gives me problems.  I was moving cautiously into the turn but had my outside foot unclipped and as the bike started to fall over to the inside, I knew I was in trouble.  I had just enough time to shout out an F-bomb before I landed on the rocks with my shoulder hitting first, followed closely by my head, hand and hip.  Hooray for helmets!

That's gonna leave a mark

I was fine, just a little shaken up, but my shoulder looked pretty gnarly, as you can see.  It's more bruised than scraped and I anticipate that it's going to stiffen up quite a lot overnight.  There was nothing to do but get back on the bike and finish our ride (I even beat H in our race section - by nearly a minute, even wounded - because he got held up by a big family).  We're happy that neither of us actually got hurt, bruises notwithstanding, but the day certainly served as a remainder that even little Round Valley can bite you if you're not paying attention.

Ride stats: 20.34 miles, 1 hr. 50 minutes (including injury time), H's average speed: 11.0 m.p.h.

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