Saturday, April 5th, 2008

MTB: Punched in the Stomach, Twice

Once at Purisima and once at Skeggs (aka El Corte De Madera) on the same day.Our mountain bike ride started in the afternoon from Skeggs Point parking lot. After turning off Skyline, we took the Purisima Creek Trail down, a sweet fire road, to the bottom. After that, we were initially planning to climb out on the same trails we took last year when we rode with Delbomber et al (see TR). However, Mud got lost! Laugh Out Loud We ended up taking Harkins Ridge Trail out. It's a fire road, a lot more straightforward than the other route, but it also has quite a few very steep sections. At one place, my climb was interrupted because the rider in front of me suddenly stopped. Angry I turned around and went back to the bottom of the climb and started again. Just a couple of feet short of the top, I ran out of juice, and my bike and me started tipping over. In the process, my handle bar turned and I landed right on it. The bar end punched me right in the solar plexus. I turned to my side, crunched up, and let out a looooong "owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww". First time ever, being punched in the stomach. I've always seen it in fighting scenes in movies and now, I have my first hand experience how debilitating it can be. The good thing is, once the pain subsides, you can get up and about like nothing has happened. So, I eventually got up and continued climbing. I'm really happy that we both cleared a few quite intimidating steep sections.

At Skeggs, we took Sierra Morena, Methuselah, Timberview, Crossover, Spring Board, Lawrence Creek, and Virginia trails down to the lowest point of the preserve. So far, it's been a very pleasant descent with a few uphills sections mixed in. To climb out, we took Virginia Mill, South Leaf, Methuselah, and Fir trails. We were going to take the El Corte De Madera Trail instead of Methuselah to make it a longer ride. But South Leaf turned out to be a challenging singletrack way more technical than I could handle. It was on this trail that my rear wheel got caught diagonally on a board when I made a right turn and it threw my bike with me on it down a slope. The fall itself was not bad because the slope was quite loose and cushiony, but one end of the handle bar punched me in my ribs slightly to the right of my stomach. Again, a loooooonng "owwwwwwwwwww". Mud ran back and helped me up, and fixed the trail with a few logs. It felt like a long way out of South Leaf Trail — too much pushing, so I did not have any more appetite left for anything technical. Plus, I was planning to replenish when we rode back from Purisima, but we did not stop at the car. So, for the whole ride, I only had one gel pack and one bottle of water. I was lucky that Methuselah was a nice fire road all the way up. No more technical stuff to stop me, we made progress slowly but surely. My bike was way past due for a tune up. So, it squeaked the whole way up. To take my mind off the agonizing noise, I kept thinking about pleasant thoughts — in the end, there were only two things in my mind: a burger and chocolate mousse. That's what we had among other things for dinner at the nice Mountain House Restaurant & Bar. We lingered around in front of their fireplace for a long time and did not return home until late.

P.S. There was a clear rectangular inprint of the bar end right in my solar plexus. Will be sore for a few days.

P.P.S. Mud did not crash at all on the entire ride, but he started talking about this subtle pain in his ribs on the left side on the same night. We call it his sympathy pain for me. The sympathy pain got so bad that the next day, a gentle tab on his chest would double him over. Literally, right now, an old man and an old lady are roaming around in the Mud House — simple tasks such as pushing down on the faucet and picking up a piece of paper on the floor are companied by a groan. No more affectionate hugs for a few days, that's for sure. No No No


32.33 miles, 6629' ascent (source: motionbased)

[Note: Also posted to the forum.]

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