In the past year I’ve taken up downhill skiing and mountain biking. I blame the downhill skiing on this blog being abandoned for the past few months. All those long winter days just perfect for writing and updating photos were spent with dawn wake up calls, layering up, and rolling to the hill hoping to be first in line for the fresh tracks. Occasionally we were.
Considering my genuine lack of athletic ability I became comfortable on downhill skis almost overnight. Somehow all those years of West Virginia cross-country paid off. Y’all know everything in West (by God) Virginia is just a little better than anywhere else.
And then there is the mountain biking. I biked enough last summer to realize that Central Oregon is THE PLACE for an awkward chick to really embrace single track. By this summer I convinced myself that I was good enough to ignore trail descriptions that toss around words like technical, advanced, and lava fields.
I went down hard a few times on the skis. My grape colored skis looked lovely against the bright blue sky as they cartwheeled over my head. Or I would take a tumble and loose the skis in the snow. Better they come off than a broken leg. There was whimpering when Steve encouraged (tricked) me into trying black diamonds. In fact there was an all out yelling match about half way down the mountain. We don’t have those often. He doesn’t like it when I accuse him of being a jock. The season couldn’t have ended better. On my last day, I went up by myself and spent the day skiing off the summit and cruising down a few of my former nemesis runs.
It was hard to put away the skis and get back on the bike. We did it though. And eager to get back to over-nighting in the van we made plans for a short road trip to tackle the McKenzie River Trail. This trail proved to be over my head in any number of ways but the most memorable was the crashes. I had never wrecked my mountain bike before. By days end I had three ‘unintentional dismounts’. The first was as I was biking uphill. Uphill? I tipped over and slide a bit downhill into a decaying log. It rattled me but really wasn’t too bad. This log was decayed enough to be a little cushy. The next incident, I just tipped over into some weeds. Pride injured but nothing else. Finally the day is ending, with riding roads to avoid some of the harder sections, we are getting to enjoy the last few easier miles. Somehow riding down a gentle hill, not going particularly fast, I hit a rock. The only rock around. I feel myself springing off the front of the bike. Now years have passed since I’ve gone off a diving board but that is how it felt. I don’t understand how I turned loose of the handlebars. Somehow though I did. I launched over the front of my bike, sailed through the air, to land several feet off the trail laying on another decaying although much firmer log. I came up cussing, wiped off the face full of dirt, and figured out that nothing was broken. Here I credit my insane dairy habit (strong bones) and enormous quads that took the brunt of the landing.
Steve and I have loads of adventures but more important that any ski run or biking trail is staying safe. I’m the slowest skier on the hill and the most cautious mountain biker in Oregon. The past few months made for some good stories and adventures but the best one is that none of our exploits landed us on the DL. My bike crashes did make for some awesome bruises though.