In the Saddle: I’ve got balls |

In the Saddle: I’ve got balls

ASPEN Tuesday. Mountain bike ride No. 2 … since … well, ever.On my lunch break, I rode to the base of Smuggler. The plan? Ride to the top and bike down the Hunter Creek trail to the pedestrian bridge. It was an idea that friends, roommates and my new boss have suggested as a good ride to break me into the sport – a mellow ride with a few tricky parts. Perfect. I recently purchased a new mountain bike – a Trek 6500 hardtail, last year’s model. It’s beautiful. On ride No. 1, I smashed off one of the reflectors on my left pedal. Upon discovery, I couldn’t have been more excited; it’s important to break in new equipment early. Riding up Smuggler on Tuesday (ride No. 2), I reverted to the mentality that ailed me during my college rowing days – insane compulsion. I coxed myself the entire way up the hill. “Come on, Tad [former nickname from rowing days], push it out. Stop being such a weenie. No stopping. Just go. See that guy up there? Yeah? He’s slow. Get ’em, Tad. Get ’em.”See that rock? It’s all yours.”The voice is the exact opposite of the one I have been trying to foster since my arrival in Aspen two years ago … one that encourages me to slow down, take in the view. Arriving at the top of Smuggler and biking the first part of the trail toward Hunter Creek, I felt like a rock star. I zoomed over rocks and up and down small hills, lured onward by the thrill loving, compulsive voice. Then, the trail got steeper, rockier. The new voice kicked in. It is this new voice, as the other voice likely will attest, that transforms me into a weenie. I began walking my bike down steep sections and through parts that seemed too rocky. “It’s OK, Marta, you’re doing great!””Don’t listen to that! Hop back on. Ride it out.”The weenie voice won. I walked a good portion of the trail until I crossed the bridge leading to the road on Red Mountain. I jumped back on the saddle and into the middle of the trail: No more messing around, everyone says this is an easy ride. No more weenie. Breaks squealed behind me. There was a friendly shout. I turned around and saw a woman half on her bike. I had cut her off … completely. I sheepishly moved to the side of the trail and she sped past me. Near the base of Red Mountain, I ran into my compatriot waiting at a construction stop sign.”Hey, sorry I cut you off back there. It’s time No. 2.” “Yeah? That trail?” she replied. “You’ve got balls.”

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