It’s Jakes Birthday! Happy Birthday Jake! He wants to ride his bike as many miles as he is old. COOL IDEA! Just not average. Not everyone is pumped about getting up at 5 a.m. to go on a 6 a.m. mountain bike ride. The more time I spend in Colorado the more I accept: Life here isn’t average!
We get to the trail head at 6:30 a.m. And it’s just us. Kari has an early meeting. Some other friends don’t show, probably staying tucked under their down comfortors, as it’s 32 degrees outside.
We crank up the trail. Heating ourselves, lungs and legs burning. It’s a four mile climb. I’m exasperated, slowly expiring by the time we reach the cabin that marks the top of the climb. From there, a 6-7 mile descent on single track. Over the craggy rocks, the slippery, fallen Aspen leaves and bouncing around or on the worn roots. Swooping turns through the trees on a tight track take us to an open meadow. The sun is kissing the fall colors, the sight is stunning. Almost painful it’s so beautiful. My legs are tired. My feet are numb (it feels like bricks are attached to the ends of my legs.) But it’s a perfect day!
Jake’s so fast he disappears immediately after we start. Still not sure how he does that! We’re almost done now. The brisk morning is starting for everyone else. We’re close to the road and can hear the traffic pass as we’re still engulfed by the golden Aspen forest of quiet beauty. A few steep descents and we’re whisked away. I remember from last week the tricky water crossing that is mostly mud. I see Jake, he goes for it making a few comments about the mud. And then….this is where it gets good….all I remember is pulling my face from the mud sledge of a puddle. My body is tangled with my bike. I can’t move my arm. SHOCK. FRIGHT. HILARITY all are pumping through my adrenaline veins. My mouth is filled with puddle. So are my ears. And my eyes. And my nose. And my entire right side. A few seconds that feel like millenniums pass and I can breathe again. My arm moves. Jake has stopped, probably because of the ‘body-meet giant puddle’ slapping noise. He walks over, helps remove the bike from my body and starts to laugh once I say that “I’m ok.”
I gather my pride from the mud, my strength from the rocks and my smile. We head down the trail. I have turned into a mud monster. LUCKILY, the school where Kari teaches is at the end of the trail. I take off my drenched, blackened layers, load my bike up and opt to drive home instead of ride. The car tells me it’s 45 degrees out now. My body says: “thanks for the exfoliation, it’s time for a hot shower and a toothbrush!”
‘If you crash, crash well!’