While I did actually ride mountain bikes yesterday; downhill even, all did not go as planned. It would seem that at the advanced age of 38 it is somewhat difficult to just hop on the downhill bike and go bang off an epic descent for the second ride of the year…who knew?

Thanks to Al for making me look fast and competent in this still…I wish I had felt that way while riding!

We started by getting dropped off at the top of Placenta on Giveout Creek Road. Then we hiked up to catch the last section of the  masterpiece that is Powerslave.  This is still one of my favourite trails ever, and after making it down unscathed, I was pumped. After Powerslave, we rode Mid Baller to Placenta to Illuminati to Wake and Bake – Rehab – Skiers Right – Skiers Left (or something like that…). It was on Mid Baller that I had my first “off”. It seemed mild – just a protruding log that was hidden by shadow.  A quick over the bars with no damage. Unfortunately it was just a precursor of what was to come.

Al vanishes into the entrance of Illuminati…

I found myself stopping every 200 metres to rest my hands from the arm pump. Before my bigger “off” I felt like I was coming apart; like the trail was riding me. Determined to keep going I elected to not stop for a rest, and within 30 seconds of making that decision, I was on the ground, off the trail, having found some friendly rocks to say hello to.

In the end, I was lucky. My knee pads stayed put, my helmet absorbed the shock, and my bike was undamaged. The largest injury was to my confidence. It was mostly eradicated.

At the bottom, still on my bike but playing it safe…

I was wearing a neck brace for this ride. A Leatt Bicycle DBX. While I cannot say for sure, I am somewhat confident that it limited the injuries I could have suffered as a result of my crash. To all my friends who put their “big hats” on when they ride bikes downhill, please strongly consider getting a neck brace. It seems like a steep price, but compared to the possible impact a neck injury could have on your life, the cost of a proper neck brace is peanuts.

Here’s how my helmet looks now. My neck is a little stiff today, but not otherwise damaged from the crash yesterday.

Now I have to ask myself, do I keep the big bike and all the gear and commit to riding enough to be fit, and safe? Or, do I drop that side of this sport, stick with trail riding and miss out on the rush of going really fast downhill? I will have to ponder this one for a while…