You never know how the day will turn out.
I don’t own a mountain bike and certainly didn’t plan on going cycling today. After a morning meeting in Denver I spontaneously ended up at my friend’s house eating gluten-free carrot cake and a banana for lunch. A little later, after contemplating the drudgery that my afternoon held, a new friend suggested that I get outside and get some exercise. One thing led to another and 30 minutes later I was outfitted in new tri cycling shorts, a cycling jersey, cycling socks that showed off my ankle tattoo, clip-in shoes, bike gloves and a helmet.
My two friends put a new tube on the flat on the geared mountain bike, gave me a quick tutorial on the gears and clipping in and out of the pedals, and waved goodbye from the driveway as I headed down Greenbriar. My instructions were to call if I got a flat and smile at everyone who admired the bike.
I played with the gears as I coasted down the road, and settled on the dinner plate. I could adjust the 10 back gears as needed, but I liked the resistance of the big gear and held it there.
Ten minutes later I pulled up to the Marshall Mesa trailhead. After a quick coast around the parking lot and a pull on the water bottle (also courtesy of my friends), I headed onto the rocky trail. I’ve run this loop dozens of time and have never in my life mountain biked anything like this. A big fat smile plastered itself on my face and the sunshine warmed my arms and legs and maybe a bug even got caught in my teeth.
The bike has amazing suspension and is top-of-the-line. I wove between rocks and coasted over sandstone, pulling on the brakes now and then and standing up on the pedals to push hard over other sections. After heading east for a bit I jumped onto the Community Ditch trail and rode due west again at the top of the climb. The colors were brilliant and I pulled over to snap a picture of my shit-eating grin.
It was time to return the bike and head home; appointments don’t wait on sunshine and bike girls. I turned onto the final descent and held steady… mostly. Except on the one place where I went too fast and was heading into the weeds and over-corrected and fell. Oops. A quick body check, brushed a little dirt from my leg, and got the bike sorted out. Except that the chain had come off and there were two kinks in it.
Hmmm. No one told me how to get a kink out of a chain. Ok, let’s figure this out. I pulled on a piece and wrestled with it before realizing that I had no idea what to do. I stood up and contemplated the situation. Right then a runner came bounding into view. He slowed down and helped me with the chain. We turned the bike over and by working together we got the two kinks out and re-threaded the chain onto the right gear. Casual conversation ensued; he was 8 miles into an 11-mile loop out of Eldo Canyon. Yup, one of my favorite runs. Awesome day for it. Barely hot enough to break a sweat. Thanks for the help, much appreciated. You bet, have a great ride.
I let him get in front of me before clipping in and finishing the ride, barely 3 minutes from the trailhead. After that it was a quick turn onto Marshall Road and speeding up Greenbriar to return the bike, shoes, helmet and gloves. My friends were in the kitchen when I walked in, and laughed when they saw me. “You totally rocked it, didn’t you!” they cheered. “Yeah, even though I fell and kinked the chain, Runner Guy stopped to help.” They laughed again, admired my dirt, then we all went our separate directions.
Yeah, so I think I’m hooked. Zen Runner Girl loves the trails and has found a new mode of transportation on her beloved mountains. Now I just have to find my own bike so I can join my friends as they cruise the Rocky Mountains!