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mountain biking

Steve Rogers October 11, 2006 Wednesday

Besao Crash

Besao and Beyond
When Steve text me for a "Besao and beyond" ride, the only reply I could conceivably give was, "What time?". When it comes to rides, rafting, climbs or any adrenaline activity, I'm as cheap as it gets - no need for second thoughts on my part.

Fork on the Road
While nearing Besao, he remarked on a fork on the road that led deeper into the forest. I said, "...only one way to find out". With that, we turned left into the dirt road that immediately narrowed down into single-track. It was friggin' sweet, I wondered why we never ventured into it before. The trail offered a lot of winding drops on pine tree roots along a shallow slope.

No Trail Head
It suddenly came to a halt by the river. On the other side, the pristine pine trees gave a hint to the trail's extension. I was wired from the single-track ride, I told Steve I was game to explore. We portaged our bikes down the steep trail, going through thorny bushes, across an abandoned rice field and unto the river. We crossed it and scouted for the trail head...nothing. We went further on foot only to discover cow trails that led nowhere. It was disappointing not to see a trail head given the perfect terrain - clear slope covered by pine canopy....darn!!! We had to back track to our bikes.

Technical Ride Back
Riding back was different. I didn't notice that going into the forest was a mildly graded trail which explains the fun. Now that we're going the other way, it was pay-back not only for the slight upgrade but the once 'drops' are now 'step ups'. They required momentum to rollover and precise steering to keep the roots from derailing the wheels. I dismounted a few times but barreled through on some.

The Crash
On one particular step-up, I hesitated but decided to go for it. Before I knew it, I was already tumbling down the slope, still clipped to my pedals. It was not until after the 2nd tumble that I stopped - thank God, it was wasn't a cliff face. Both my shins were in pain from hitting the bike frame on the way down. I had to wait a few minutes to find out if there was major injury - just a concussion and bruising. Steve said I didn't have enough momentum to roll over the step-up. With the initial hesitation, I should have dismounted.

Tail Between my Legs
We aborted the ride to Besao and started heading back home. My misaligned derailleur was worsed only by my battered legs. Game over for me.

Ending Thoughts
In a way that crash was a blessing...a wake-up call reminding me that mountain biking remains inherently a high-risk sport. I began to think that my crash-free riding the past few years was not entirely because I became a better rider, but perhaps because I became a more careful rider, not taking too many chances when confidence is not high. I never lost sight of that until lately when my riding became increasingly aggressive...and then this.

I am reminded of Bob Marley's lyrics, "...he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day." He who hesitates and dismounts lives to ride the next day.

--- TheLoneRider

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I'm still thankful my crash isn't as bad as this:

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