7 June 2007
So today was supposed to be a relaxed, rest day with the Obornes, but neither my nerves nor my muscles got a break. Darch picked us up from the campground in the late morning. We had lunch and then used the internet while Darch ran some errands. When he returned, the real fun began. The Obornes are really into mountain biking, and Darch offered to take us out for a nice little ride on a trail that started at the information centre, fittingly called "Too much info". Too much info ran all the way up the mountain, and then right back down. It was the most intense trail I've ever been on--it was narrow, winding and, of course, replete with large rocks, roots and branches.
I hadn't been on a mountain bike for a while, and I felt very unstable as I tested one out in the parking lot before hitting the trail. The first half of the ride--the uphill part--was really hard, as the trail was extremely steep at many points. My front wheel kept lifting off the ground, and there wasn't a moment when I didn't feel like I was going to fall off my bike and break something. The absolute worst part of the experience came when we were nearly at the top of the mountain, when we were meant to cross the Big Easy, a ramp about 5 m long, less than a metre wide, and about 2 or 3 metres off the ground. It may not sound like much, but I was absolutely terrified to cross it. So, I got off my bike and walked across. But Darch wouldn't have any of that.
Darch is one of the most positive, charismatic people I've ever met, one of those mind-over-matter types who just make you believe you can do anything you want to do and really live life to the fullest. He kept telling me that I could do it, I just have to believe I can, etc. But I was petrified, and simply could not do it. I was in tears--yes, that's right--I was just so afraid of the stupid thing. But, Darch wouldn't take no for an answer, so eventually, after many attempts and much persuasion, I did it, even if I started part-way on the ramp rather than on the hill immediately before it.
The road down the mountain was even more terrifying. Again, it was quite steep at many points, and that scared me. I just didn't have this mountain biking thing down well enough. I was too afraid to gain speed, so I'd brake; but then I'd start skidding, so I'd just stop, get off my bike, and walk. Eventually, I decided I'd just walk my bike all the way down. Of course, Darch wouldn't have any of that. At the beginning of every 'easy' part of the trail, he'd make sure I got on my bike and followed him. So, I'd get on my bike and follow him, but only until I encountered some scary piece of trail (usually about 5 seconds later), when I'd get off and continue to walk. I did this all the way down the hill, and had no qualms about it.
Having a nice dinner and chilling in the hot tub after all this biking helped calm me down. I will be happy for the stability of my fully-loaded road bike tomorrow.