Ups and Downs

Saturday I went mountain biking.
It was awesome!
It was so awesome!
It was almost better than sex.
Wait a minute, let's not be unreasonable here!

But boy was it fun. The weather was absolutely perfect (70 and clear), and there weren't too many people to observe all my bad techniques. I'm ashamed to say it was the first real mountain-bike trip I've done in Colorado. And we started with a biggie. A friend, Ken, and I went to Hall Ranch in Lyons, about 20 minutes from here. It's right at the base of the mountains, and all trails lead only one direction... UP! We bit off more than we bargained for, but it all turned out good. The round trip was almost 10 miles, and I think we did about 1,200 feet vertically (though the site we used said 2300, which sounds nicer to post!) It was the most challenging terrain I'd ever ridden, with a couple miles being extremely rocky (think big, steep boulders and such that are more suited for climbing than riding).

Side Story:
While riding in a state park in St. George, Utah back at Spring Break this year, my kids learned a very valuable lesson about Ups and Downs. You may recall my rant about this. They insisted on riding as far down the hill as possible, only to learn that for every mile you ride down hill, there was another mile back up that hill to the car. It was a great life lesson. Luckily, I had that lesson reaffirmed yesterday, but in a more positive way because we did the UP part first. :-)
The trail guide said it would take 1 1/2 hours. We took 3 1/2. Ha. But it was really an amazing trip. The going up part was surely hard. I thought I was going to swallow a lung more than once. First time I ever ran out of water in my hydration pack. And there were a few times where I wondered how many limbs I might lose before returning home. But as I do more of this biking stuff, I'm learning that confidence is really key. As I've become a little more confident in my technique and abilities (though they are nothing fancy), I find that I'm actually safer. Turns out that stopping on a steep, rocky section isn't so safe and that the right amount of speed is actually a much better choice.

Once we got to the top of the trail, there was a nice loop with a single track that was built for going fast. The views of the Rockies were incredible. And then as we began the ride down the adrenaline kicked in. Now I understand why people do this kind of stuff. I couldn't stop! It was absolutely addicting. Every time I'd stop to rest, I just wanted more. Riding down the hill at an almost-but-not-quite-out-of-control clip was amazing! It made all the uphill sweating worth it. Most rewarding.

At the end of the trip, we were completely spent but very content. I'm even really happy that my old junker bike is working so well. I was ready to toss it a few months ago. But after some good adjustments and a few minor repairs (thanks Mitch), now I'm ready to keep it for a while longer. The fact that we made it home without any crashes was also a great blessing, and cause to go again! So next time, come with me (we're probably going next weekend). It's one of the most fun things a person can do. You owe it to yourself. As Ken said, we think it beats skiing. Besides, it's always more fun when you can trash talk the whole time! :-)


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