Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Y--Where YOU Become Part of My Adventure

You know what they say:
Whatever doesn't kill you will only make you stronger.
I'm alive to tell the tale, so I must be so much stronger.

Can you tell I'm posting from vacation? Do I seem farther away? More relaxed? More tired? Can I share with you my adventure?

My brother-in-law Matt (I have two--this is the tall one) suggested a sixty-minute downhill mountain biking adventure for yesterday afternoon. How do you react when such an activity is proposed? Well, I was ready--I'd brought my padded biking shorts. I was willing--I've been riding my bike 5-6 days a week. And I thought I was able.
Today I am sorely mistaken.

When you like a movie, do you forget the bad parts? That's how Matt remembered this ride--so beautiful, gorgeous scenery, blah blah blah. He conveniently forgot about the steep inclines and descents, slippery shale spots, and loose boulders. About ten minutes into the ride, he remembered. But then it was too late.

What do you do when faced with a seemingly insurmountable task? Do you whine and cry? Do you cuss and spit nails? Do you pout and frown? I've done these in the past, that's for sure. But I was slightly embarrassed that I was so inept on this ride, so I decided to suck it up and get back to the truck the only way possible--down the trail.

And it was hard. So hard. I've ridden that trail multiple times when I was younger--with my dad, on a horse, never noticing the treachery and danger that waited around every turn. Have you ever wished, with every aching muscle in your body, for a horse? Neither had I until yesterday. We actually passed three equestrians, and I secretly hoped that the exhaustion on my face would soften their hearts to the point that they would scoop me up, bike and all, and patiently carry me back. All the said was "We were expecting to see you. Your group is waiting for you up there a ways." Sigh. No escape.

I fell a few times--slick spots, tough spots, stupid not-paying-attention spots. Bumps, cuts, pedal gouges and many many bruises. Flat tire. I quickly learned that if something looked too hard, it WAS too hard, and my best bet to preserve my body intact was to walk that cursed wheeled machine to safety. I've never walked so much on a bike ride ever.

You are waiting for the end of the story, aren't you? Not yet, my friend. I know. That's how I felt on this interminable ride.

Matt had a crazy head-on collision with a Yamaha--head over handlebars, tire bent to 90 degrees. Where was I, you ask? Probably still a mile back, missing all the excitement. He was bloodied but not broken, so on we trekked.

Brad rode just ahead of me, stopping frequently to check on my progress. At one point, I was close enough to overhear Matt tell him, "it's mostly flat here for a while." Sweet relief. I didn't hear this addendum: "Except for the steep parts!" That, my friends, was the understatement of the day. I glanced up the trail, saw Brad waiting just before the next turn, and then I evaluated. The trail at this point was lots of loose shale, uphill on the right, a fairly steep 25-foot drop-off to the river on the left. Can you see where this is going? It's nowhere good, that's for sure. I hit a rock, over corrected, and I knew I was falling. The bike and I slid off the trail to the left. How can you describe what flies through your mind as you face certain death? All I could think was "Grass. GRAB THAT GRASS!"

Next thing I knew, I was suspended on the side of the mountain, holding a tuft of mountain grass for dear life, with my sister's mountain bike caught on the back of my shoe. You couldn't have done it on purpose if you'd tried a hundred times. But that was a tender mercy for the day--neither Karen's bike nor my battered body had to be hauled out of the third fork of the Rock Creek canyon. Since I wasn't hurt and I knew Brad had seen me fall, I just waited for what seemed like a long time for him to reach me--maybe two minutes. He was half-laughing incredulously at the scene ("You looked like Wiley Coyote hanging there!") and half-concerned that I was hurt. After disentangling the bike from my shoe, he helped me up the incline where I evaluated my appendages and then began to shake with shock.

But what could I do? What would you do? Back on the bike to finish the adventure, of course. All told, our sixty-minute adventure--hampered by a flat tire, two serious crashes and a completely inexperienced me--stretched into a two-and-a-half-hour comedy of errors. All my kids had been left with Grandma and Aunt Karen, who were nervously waiting at the bottom of the canyon with nine kids and a suburban with no keys (mistakenly left in Brad's pocket). Evie was sad, kids were bored and tired and dirty, and Grandma and Karen were quite concerned, since we were over an hour late.

But, like Matt said as he was changing my tire at the speed of light, "Well, you can say that you really did something."

Today I'm not as sore as I thought I'd be. I'm bruised and scraped over most of my lower body, but I'm not broken--in body or mind. But I can tell you:

I really did something.

And I'd do it again.

Do you think I'm crazy?

Linking up to Y on Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.

Jenny Matlock



  1. That is so cool! Too bad Brad didn't have the camera in his pocket along with the keys. Glad you are okay, and love the story! You are amazing, good for you for getting back on that bike, and not dissolving into a puddle of tears and making Brad haul you fireman style on his back the rest of the way.

  2. Good for you! I know that I would have been spitting nails. Wait, I would not have attempted this in the first place. Lets just say that Wiley Coyote and I are probably twins from different mothers, I am extremely accident prone. You should be very proud of this accomplishment! Kat

  3. Oh my goodness..I am so glad you weren't hurt! You really had me in suspense as I read are a fabulous writer!

    Thanks for visiting me on this "Y' day!

  4. Oh my goodness! You're a braver woman than I am! Lisa~

  5. Yikes!!! I think that I would try the steep bike ride...but then again??? So glad to know that you are okay and that yes, you were well enough to tell your tale!

    Blessings & Aloha!
    thank you for stopping by!

  6. You would do it again? Horse or bike? I'm glad you are okay today. We surely enjoyed your visit, except for the small window of worry time. We learned to always have a backup plan in place and ready to go. Oh, well, next time, since it seems you want to go again.

    Enjoy the other side of your family.


  7. Oh good heavens above. That just sounds like the most terrifying thing EVER! You nearly fell off a mountain, NOT COOL! I'm certainly glad you survived and in one piece!

  8. You are brave! You are strong! I applaud you.

  9. Yes, I do believe you are crazy. A Crazy Cool Mom!

  10. You are definitely crazy.
    Good crazy - not bad crazy.
    You'll have this story to laugh over and tell again and again and it will get better the longer you tell it.
    You did something hard, pushed yourself in a way that is outside your comfort zone. Good for you. That's really good crazy!

  11. That is AWESOME!! I am so glad you did that! We just don't have chances like that often enough, so you just have to take them. I am so glad you are only bruised, not broken, cause there is no break for the weary mom, especially on "vacation". Have fun and BE CAREFUL!

  12. What no helicopter rescue? Seems a little tame to me!

    Glad you grabbed the grass!!

  13. Awesome adventure. You are a really good writer! I am so glad that you are ok!

  14. Quite simply, yes.


    PS. But I love that about you...

  15. my daughter rides downhill ... sorry, i am not a fan ... i know too many people who have been badly hurt, including brain injuries & broken backs ...i can no longer be supportive of the sport ... it is amazing to watch but it is extreme ... and girl, you are brave to have finished!

  16. Quite a "little" adventure you had there!
    You had me reading along like this was an epic suspense story!!!:)
    Enjoy the rest of your vacation with both feet on the ground maybe?:)

  17. I am not sure that this sounds like a vacation. I am so glad you are okay.

  18. I have to say I was a little on edge reading your post! It doesn't sound like my kind of bike ride...but good for you for doing it!
    Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  19. Glad you weren't hurt! I don't do steep or high.

  20. I was hollering out OW as I was reading this!

  21. You, my friend, are one incredibly awesome person. A-W-E-S-O-M-E. Wow, I was sitting at the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened and it is just so amazing that you came out of that adventure with just a few scrapes and bruises! I would have given up a quarter of the way and just walked the bike down, not get back on and risk breaking a bone or my neck! You have my absolute admiration for this. You are truly awesome :)

  22. Wow. Wow. Wow. God was totally watching over you that day. I agree with Jamie...too bad there wasn't a camera along to capture the grass clutching. You could have framed the picture & had your own inspirational poster with a "Hang In There" caption.

  23. Yes. Yes, you are crazy. But like a good blogger you documented it all right here for us to see. I'm so glad you're okay. I'm also glad that, for once, I'm on the other side of this story. Well done.

    BTW, I miss you! Please come back in one piece if you don't mind. Especially you're blog-posting fingers.

  24. Yes! I think you're crazy! But sometimes being a little crazy isn't so bad. Glad you're okay.

  25. Wow! What a fabulous "adventure" story to tell about vacation! So glad you're fine...happy peddling my friend!

  26. Oh no! You are a brave soul. But I guess it is in the doing that makes you strong.
    My mountain biking husband suggested that we go on a bike ride for our anniversary... I am scared...very scared.!

  27. you had me until you said you'd do it again LOL - crazy lady :D

  28. When you stop going on adventures, you might as well curl up and die! I am an adventurous person, not a very athletic person, but I think it is important to "get outside your box" and try to do new things.

  29. Wow, what a trip...glad no body was son did a handle bar flip when he was about ten - a trip in the ambulance---nothing broken - but a major fat lip and side of face....blesings...

  30. Oh my gosh Wiley...I mean Jen, you are so brave!!! Way to go girl!!

  31. You're not crazy! You're a mom of multiple children! You're fearless!!!! Way to go. I'm an avid fan of mountain biking and have been on trails like that. So exciting you think you're going to die, but oh so satisfying when it's over and you're drinking that frosty beverage...

  32. Jenny, first of all, you are sooo cool! I am so impressed with your adventure! probably have heard this, but you really should be paid for writing. I was right there hanging by that grass with you. Great story! Glad you are OK.

  33. I wish we lived near each other...we'd be great friends!

  34. You are not crazy-it sounds like this was a wonderful things to do. You are amazing!

    Best wishes,

  35. maybe just a little crazy! But doing it was the big battle and you did it and in a few years the whole thing will be history, a distant memory of hanging from a cliff with nothing but grass to keep you safe!

  36. Holy Moley girlfriend, I was on the edge of my seat wondering if you were going to be ok. I'll bet my horses wouldn't even go down that trail.

    You are definitely on the crazy side of the population which is why I love stopping by here!


    Rocky Mountain Woman

  37. You are quite a woman! I am a bit surprised you would do it again but hey "you go girl".

    We live in Colorado and my husband and I used to go to Vail to ride our bikes down the mountain. I have 2 sons and they had never done it. I was so proud to show them I could do it with them. I was terrified the entire way though!!

  38. Totally crazy! (But then, it takes one to know one :) )

  39. Your blog is just adorable. I found it through a friend of a friend. What a beautiful family you have! I have ALWAYS wanted a large family! Hope you are having a happy summer!

    Gretchen a.k.a Gigi

    Take care! ;)

  40. excellent reflections,
    the way you ask questions works perfectly to keep readers going...
    life is hard for everyone.
    lovely y post.

  41. geeeez! so glad you're ok - what a story!

  42. Crazy dear girl?

    Heavens no!

    I think you are amazing! I love that you did this with such determination.

    I really admire that you didn't quit.

    I had to laugh about the car keys but the rest of it had me hanging on every word.

    Really awesome link for Alphabe-Thursday's letter "Y"!

    You win the award this week for courageous posts!


  43. You are unbelievable - WOW!! I was rooting for you all the way down! I can hardly wrap my mind around the part where you are hanging off the side of the mountain with a bike attached to your ankle - Dang woman!!!

  44. Could you hear me? I was exclaiming: "NO! Oh, I hope she makes it..." Out loud. I do believe I would have sat my bum down until someone carried me home. You go girl!