Last winter I joined acidotic RACING, an adventure racing team founded by Chris Dunn. The motto of the team (and the title of Chris's blog) is Dare Mighty Things, part of a famous quote by Teddy Roosevelt.
And I thought I was joining a snowshoe racing team....HA!
2 weeks ago I responded to a team email from Chris looking for one more teammate for a 24hr relay team. Awesome, I love relay teams, especially 24hr ones. This one was slightly different though, it involved those 2-wheel contraptions that I rarely ride, mostly because I stink at it - the dreaded bike (or more specifically the mountain bike). I'm still not sure what possessed me but I decided to sign up for a 24hr 4-person mountain bike race at Great Glen, at the base of Mt Washington called the 24 hours of Great Glen.
Up until yesterday I was pretty excited about it. I still am, but I got a dose of reality yesterday while practicing my mountain biking skills. You see, I'm not really a mountain biker. I really don't even own one (if you don't count the rusted rigid in the shed from the mid-90's). Thankfully, others in the family have them (come to think of it, everyone but me has one). I do take this event seriously and I'm generally intimidated by the whole thing. I know I won't master mountain biking in 2 weeks but I wanted to give it an honest effort and not let my teammates down. So I've been practicing (aka riding) in Horse Hill (my local stomping grounds). A few days ago I upgraded from plain ole pedals to Shimano SPD clipless (and shoes!). Yesterday I decided to ride again with my new pedals and headed over to Massabesic, armed with a trail map. I clipped in and headed to the first single track I came to (Fireline trail for those familiar). No more than 5 minutes in I got myself stuck on some rocks, failed to unclip in time and down I went (still firmly secured to my new clipless pedals). I successfully split open my elbow on my first try.
&%#$@! did that hurt! I saw a little blood but couldn't really see the damage so after stomping around for a few minutes I got back on the bike and continued. I swear, I didn't go 10 more minutes before I friggin did it again, this time on the other side. Ah, but I was smarter this time, I saw the obstacle, and assumed I'd screw it up and get stuck and immediately looked for an out. An out meaning a place I could fall without causing too much pain. Down I went. I knew I was over matched and I knew part of the reason. The tension was WAY too high on my pedals. Easy fix, head back to the truck, make an adjustment and I'd be back on the trails in no time. My second mistake (wait, maybe it was more than that...) was thinking this trail was only 1 mile long. I'd just ride the rest, grab a fire road and swing back to the truck. Turns out I was mistaken. Fireline is 3 miles long, and in my humble opinion, is not a learning trail, especially with tight pedals.
Well long story short, I made it to the end (after falling no less than 3 more times), started heading back and decided to try ONE more trail first (Ladyslipper), since it was only a mile long (I checked this time). Although slightly better to ride, this mudfest trail still offered enough obstacles to humble me once again, taking me down one more time, conveniently on the same injured elbow from my first spill. As I limped back, lacking confidence and dragging my pride behind me I began to wonder what exactly I got myself into....
I'll shake it off and I'll get back on that horse (after I adjust those stupid pedals). The Wolfe will ride again Bwah Ha Ha!!! Ok, the Wolfe will most likely ride, fall, ride, fall, repeat again.
Kids, don't try this at home.
PS: thanks Mike Wade for my blog title!