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Um…because the guy in front of me did…


Yes, my mom did teach me not to do stuff just because someone else does it. Somehow that lesson didn’t enter my conscious mind on Saturday.


Last Thursday I decided to enter my first mountain bike race of the season. It was the point-to-point race at Winter Park. Normally I like to pre-ride a course before racing it, but there was no time to do it before race day.


The race was a nice benchmark for my fitness. Relative to other people, my climbing felt strong and I was able to make up time on the climbs. The single-track descents in the woods were my nemeses. I just haven’t put the time into riding these kinds of descents to allow the comfort level needed to not be a white-knuckler.


I was a brake-squealing creeper. Ugh. I hated it. It wasn’t the descents I hated, they were great. I hated not being confident on the descents. I lost a load of time going downhill. I’ve got some work to do.


On the upside, the open descents felt good.


About those squealing brakes…


At the start of the race, the marshal mentioned that we would go around one stream crossing due to the high running water. He said there is a second crossing that “some people choose to ride and others walk.” Fair enough.


Somewhere in the second half of the race, the stream suddenly appeared. I was riding down a descent and before I knew what was going on, I noticed the guy in front of me rode through a stream. He made a big splash. I thought, “Doable and it looks like fun.”


Charging through the water, all I remember is that my front wheel felt light. It lifted and drifted, seeming to hit something. Instantly, I’m down into the stream, submerged except for my face. There was a small, green tree branch (or trunk) that was some two or three inches in diameter down in the stream. I managed to catch my arm and handle bar on the branch, which kept my head from going under. 


All I could do was start laughing. I had a flash in my mind of what that fall must have looked like. In a word – funny. Yes, at least two people saw it - or saw the result.


Of course I was in the deepest part of the stream when I fell and it got shallower at the edges. I picked myself up and walked a couple of feet to the bank and started riding again. I laughed for quite awhile after that, in spite of wet, squealing brakes. I had a big smile on my face.


Ah, to act like a 12-year-old again. I love mountain biking.

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