As I journey through this life change called retirement it would be beneficial if I can remember that doing is sometimes harder than just wanting to accomplish a feat. I learned this lesson within two minutes on the MoMBA trails when my skill level and coordination didn’t cooperate with the technical ability necessary to negotiate these trails safety.
I do not recommend MoMBA as a first attempt on a true mountain bike trail. I am not talking to you young folks but to those of us that don’t bounce up after eating it. Oh… and did I mention to make sure you have a first aid kit!
In a previous post I mentioned that it was important to have a guide and with all fairness he didn’t pick this as our first choice. We went to another local park; John Bryan State Park Mountain Biking Area outside of Yellow Springs, Ohio which was closed due to all the rain the area received the prior days.
I was excited as we made our way to the trail head which is misleading at best. It gave me the impression that everything would be easy and within two minutes I realized that would not be the case today. I say this with a smile on my face… coming around the first downhill turn as I was crossing a bridge, I made the mistake of hitting my breaks which sent me sliding off into the creek below. It was only a four foot drop and I made it out with only a scraped up left knee and an abrasion on my right leg. I was so happy that there were not any broken bones and my bike was good. So my first lesson learned that day was “not to hit my breaks on the bridges…”
After dusting myself off I continued down the trail trying to enjoy the beauty of the scenery as I encountered new facets of this trail. Between dodging trees, more bridges, tree roots, branches and just about everything you would expect cutting through the woods I managed to get a few more cuts, bumps and bruises. While my guide was worried that I wasn’t enjoying myself (I was), I was concentrating on finishing the trail without ending up in the hospital or worse “killing myself.” I took this picture halfway through the trail … yes; I was smiling on the inside.
The second half of MoMBA was even more of a challenge. This is where I thought about taking the shortcut back to the truck but being an ex-Marine I refused to surrender. I have confidence going uphill but admit that my downhill skills are lacking, so without shame; I did walk the bike through one or two areas where frankly, I would have hurt myself. It took us almost two hours to make it through all the trails and even though I haven’t mastered MoMBA the lessons learned also can be applied to most activities I will do in the future.
John Bryan State Park Mountain Biking Area finally opened a few days later. This park is absolutely beautiful and somewhere I will visit again. I felt the trails are friendlier than those at MoMBA and is a great place to learn your skills. If the circumstances allow you to ride John Bryan first, please do. I also learned a few things here; like expect the unexpected. I still don’t know how I crashed on an open, flat section … lucky for me the ground was still soft from all the rain. Always have a tight grip on your handle bars, with soft tires and the front shocks you tend to bounce when you hit something. Splitting trees without hitting one is a lesson my left shoulder will be happy about when I master it. The most important lessons I have learned is not to be too confident and if you find yourself in a situation that you’re not sure about… don’t do it.
Mountain Biking is something that I will enjoy for many years and can’t wait until I hit the Michigan trails this summer.
You earned it, enjoy it!