In the Saddle: Rough landing
August 26, 2005
It’s difficult to be a good mountain biker when you love to ski.At least that was my excuse as I rode East Government Trail recently.See, you’ve got to get a little speed built up to ascend some of those rocky climbs and nail those boulder-strewn descents. And whenever I reach a certain speed when the air rushes cool by my face, I imagine this rock will have me limping around in an air cast for opening day, or that tree will mean I’m looking forlornly out some window with my arm in a sling while it dumps sometime in December.So I slow down so much a slippery root brings me to a halt, or I give up altogether, dismount and shamefully push, glad there’s no one around to see.I guess I don’t have the guts. And that day on Government, I didn’t have the brakes, either.It wasn’t until I was well on my way to the trailhead when I remembered I hadn’t purchased new rear pads. I figured I could get by, so I kept going.Riding Government with no rear brakes was fine for the first hundred yards or so. Then I came around a corner too fast for comfort and spotted a pile of those feared season-ending rocks. I hit the rear brakes hard and then apparently the front brakes a little too hard.There aren’t many feelings worse than that moment when you realize you’re going over the handlebars and there’s nothing you can do. So I went.Immediately there was a great pain and a little blood from my right kneecap, and I saw the ski season flash before my eyes. But after sitting there awhile and then testing it, it was my medical diagnosis that I had only a bruise and cut on the knee and various patches of trail rash evenly distributed about the rest of my body.I got up, took off down the trail a little more slowly, and imagined what these slopes are going to look like come winter.