This is my 300th blog post, and I was debating how to handle it. I think I will save my original plan for #301. Writing 300 blog posts is pretty significant, so I wanted to do something special. I just came off a great mountain bike road trip where I really pushed myself on the drops, jumps and climbs. The weather has been better than last week, and I’ve ridden about 22 miles so far this week. It’s Halloween, which is an easy date to remember. So far this year I have avenged my previous losses to the south rock jump on Juniper that made my face bleed and the Flintstone teeter totter that gave me four stitches. I also attempted and succeeded in riding a skinny wood feature on the Juniper trail that I have been avoiding for the last year or two. It is a little tricky with the narrow width, two angle changes, and the rock garden below, but I ride it every time I am up there, and don’t think twice about it now. My skills have definitely improved this year. There is still one narrow wood feature that eludes me, but that will be for another season.
I love to hit the smaller wood jump on the north exit of the Juniper trail system, and the big wood jump looks like something Evel Knievel would jump. I have wanted to try it all year, but it may be the biggest jump of my career, and I am usually alone when I ride passed it. I prefer to try stupid things when I have someone else with me to call in air support if necessary. In all seriousness, there is a guy I met named Royce that crashed on the old Flintstone trail several years ago while riding alone, and was stranded and paralyzed for four hours until his friends came and found him. He is fine now and continues to ride, but he has an impressive scar that would make Frankenstein jealous. That has deepened my concern for recklessness when riding alone. I don’t think my dog could call 911 for me. As I rode around the valley this morning I really wanted to hit that jump. When I got to that section I had to weigh my desire for glory against my fear and lack of support, including a camera. I took a few runs at the jump, but didn’t like my approach. I was running out of time, and gave myself an ultimatum- one last run and I have to take one of the jumps. I could go for the safe route that I know I can land or push for the big mother. I hit the big mother. I pulled up, thereby avoiding the inevitable face-first crash, which was my first concern. As I fell back to earth, I realized that I had hit the point where I would normally make contact with the trail, but I was still falling. It was like someone pulled the ground out from under me. I hit like Evel Knievel, and felt my bike bounce when it hit the ground, which was my second concern. I’m not sure if my whole bike came off the ground, or just the front end, but luckily I was able to keep it under control on the bounce and ride it out. I got off my bike and took these pictures:
It felt so good to land the big jump that has mentally suppressed me since its creation. It felt good to land a jump that has haunted my dreams all summer. I knew it was a big jump, and I knew I wanted to try it at least once, so that has been in the back of my mind all summer. It felt good to take my fear of jumping alone and punch it in the face. My Halloween costume-without-a-costume is mountain bike superstar.