Friday, June 3, 2011

Chasing Boys

Chimney Gulch is a local trail that ascends Lookout Mountain in Golden on dirt. I have ridden the classic road climb on my road bike a billion times before I ever started mountain biking, and the dirt trail route to the top is much more challenging and fun. Steep climbs, sharp corners, many rocks and obstacles are mixed in with some fast, flat, through-the-trees portions of this classic Jeffco trail. Once on the summit, a great way to connect parks is to descend Apex's Enchanted Forest or just turn around and rail back to one's car.

The latter was the choice this past Wednesday evening. I met up with Erick and Jeremy and we began climbing. My legs were asleep and protesting every revolution for about 2/3 of the way up. Ugh, I was frustrated as I kept asking my quads for more and they kept giving me the middle finger.

Once on top we turned around and dodged hikers and fellow bikers coming up the trail. I felt good and had ridden this downhill many, many times. Finally, the trail opened up a bit and Erick and Jeremy took off. I pushed through some technical sections pretty hard as I railed down the hill. I was having fun chasing these boys and riding quicker, smoother lines. The extremely sharp, downhill switchbacks demanded a foot down to get around (ahhh, it will come), but I felt pretty good that they were only slightly in front of me. My chain came off and I stopped to put it back on right before the hardest obstacle on the trail. I had ridden it once before and cleared it, so I decided to give it a go this time. I didn't make it without throwing a foot down. Grrr!

I quickly came around a corner and over some small rocks in the middle of the trail. Clunk! I felt my bottom bracket hit one of the rocks and my bike immediately stopped. Ummm, unfortunately, I did not follow suit. Instead I became airborne, knowing some road rash was in my near future. I began to look for the best place to land and as I came down, hit full force on the right side of my lip on a small rock that seemingly came out of nowhere.

UGGGGHHHH! The rock split my upper lip and blood was going everywhere. I broke two teeth and dislodged a dental bridge I have had since I was 18. Just as quickly as I landed, I jumped up, grabbed my bike and untangled the chain that came off and wrapped around the branch of a nearby bush into which it fell. I swung my leg over the saddle and started riding down again. I honestly didn't feel much pain and the looks on Erick and Jeremy's face when they saw the blood gushing out of my face, sent me to the rear-view mirror of a nearby car when we came to a road crossing. Ha! The line of the day (and I am not sure who said it) was: "Uhhh, no don't look in the mirror."

When I or someone around me is significantly hurt or in an emergency situation, I go into ultracalm mode. There was nothing anyone could do, so I just rode the rest of the trail down to my car. I was a little shaken when I really got a good look at my bloody face, but tried to just breath deep and keep it together. I got some ice on it as soon as I could and when I got to the ER, I was actually laughing at myself and really just thankful it wasn't something really serious.

I looked pretty beat up when I left and knew I would be spending some love time with the dentist the next morning, but was still joking around with the doctor and nurses in the ER. Everything is relevant and I couldn't stop thinking how thankful I was that I wasn't in a coma with head trauma or something.

My teeth are all straight and pretty again.The skin-glue and the scrapes are not attractive at all, and neither is my fat lip, but I guess they provide good entertainment for the people in line at the grocery store. I love watching people's reactions!

Of all the places to launch through the air, I chose to do it at a very easy part. There are far more crash-likely places on Chimney Gulch, so I am not really sure why I caught the bottom bracket on the rock. I originally thought it was my chain coming off that did it, but as I replayed the scene in my mind afterwards I completely remember feeling the rock catch and thinking, "Uh oh, this is not going to feel good!" as I flew forward.

My friend Jen asked me if my mom ever told me not to chase boys. I had to laugh. Why yes, in fact, she did. Good advice to live by. But.....when it comes to mountain biking, that's all I really know. I can't find any girls who ride on a regular basis and chasing the boys makes me faster, tougher and hopefully.........smarter!

This morning, I rode from Morrison up Apex and down Chimney Gulch to put any fear to rest. I slowed a little to look for the rock that did me in, but my confidence is ok again and I am excited and nervous for Angel Fire tomorrow and Sunday.

The following pictures are carnage-ridden and a little intense. I am going to throw a random podium pic from a race in Fruita a month ago, just so my bloody face doesn't come up as the first picture on Facebook. Ummmmm, enjoy (I guess):

Fun trail, broke a derailleur, look like I swallowed a bug here..blah, blah

Ok, so on to the aforementioned carnage:

In the paraphrased words of my buddy, Drew:
"Your blood sacrifice to the trail Gods should suffice for quiet some time"

I definitely was laughing at my latest blunder!

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