so, riding home today along the river I was tooling along listening to some DimDim and I recognised the entrance for some dirt trails comming up and I thought, "hey, I'm in the mood for a little fun, why not?" So I took off my socks (last time I rode this particular stretch the weeds embedded at least 30 foxtails in each sock) and proceeded to forge ahead. Admittedly, I was probably going a little fast for the conditions (trail level, visibility due to weeds, my skill, etc...) but I was managing to hop just as I hit the jumps (even if I wasn't aligned right once and landed a little off the trail (which can mean a world of pain when you can't see the ground your riding on (hidden log at an angle = tires swept out from beneath you = you face-first into the green unknown))) and duck right before being swacked in the face by low branches (no shit, almost happened twice -- once it was a flexi-weed-branch, but the second time it was a tree branch thicker than my leg), so I figured it wasn't too bad.
After the first section of trail I recovered slightly on the pavement and approached the second (much more roller-coaster like) section. I downshifted and grinned wildly and headed down it's rocky (it's not anywhere near smooth like the first one is) way. Up and down bumps, avoiding the larger rocks, and still not being able to see shit beyond the foot and a half of path that isn't covered by 3' high weeds I barrell around corners narrowly avoiding trees and horse droppings (it's technically a horse path (which might go a long way towards explaining the condition of the trail, they like it like that)). I know this path a little since I ride it every now and then, so I know at one point it goes down a long-ish slope and has a rather sharp turn at the bottom that I *must* slow down for. The reason for the ephasis on the 'must' is because there was a rather large tree next to that turn which fell into the river (it's trunk still being there) and this has resulted in a nice cliff that drops about 10' to the jagged root-end of the tree trunk and some rocks at the edge of the river. Also, this cliff cuts into the path and reduces it from the normal 1.5' to about 3/4 a foot in width. So yeah, as I was saying, I can tell I'm getting close to this part but I can't really see if it's turning yet or not because of the three-foot weeds on either side of the trail (yes, I can see *over* them, but that doesn't do a lick of good when I'm focusing on the trail for any new fallen logs or rocks, and there are trees all around me anyway). So I'm speeding down this hill thinking, "I think this might be where I want to slow down" when I reach the nasty turn at the bottom and realise that yes, I should have slowed down.
Slam the brakes, tilt the bike and turn the handlebar.
Realise that I'm going a little too fast to turn on a dime when the surface below me is rather loose dirt.
Get a far-too-familiar sence of being airborne (why do I know what it's like to fly so well? heheh).
So, when the dust settled (literally) and I take inventory (wiggle toes? check. wiggle fingers? check. pain? check.) I can't help but burst out laughing as I try to figure out what position I'm in (it wasn't entirely flat). Turns out that thanks to my leaning trying to make the turn, my body managed to almost-not-quite stay at the top of the cliff. My legs were resting against the steep slope of dirt down to the river, with my waist bent over the edge of the dirt and my arms spralled across the trail. I can now officially say that using your pelvis to stop your fall is not the most comfortable of landing positions. But der 'Pod wasn't bounced too nastilly, as my music continued through the whole ordeal without issue (first time I've crashed to a soundtrack, was rather a nice addition to the experiance), so that was nice. I manage to pull myself up to the trail again, so that was nice. And when I finally looked down to see whatever became of my bike, I was instantly struck with a mixed sence of "sweet whorish mother of god, I'm lucky!" and "damn, wish I had my camera to photo this one!".
I'll try to describe the precarious situation my bike found itself in as a result of this. I'll also try to take my camera tomorrow and pose it for you, but I highly doubt that will be possible.
So, start with a loose dirt cliff at a steep slant (something in the order of 70-80 degrees or so -- not vertical, but steep enough to make traversing it a formidable thought). Add a rather large fallen tree at the bottom, with some not-entirely-friendly rocks around it. The river at the bottom flowing by, not fast but not stagnant. And about 3 feet from the top, put an outcropping of roots that used to belong to the aforementioned tree, only sticking out by not even a foot. My bike was caught, front tire spun around and chain entirely derailed, on this small outcropping of roots. Had I still been on it, they would not have held and I would have gone for a rather painful dip into the river (if I was lucky enough to miss the tree remains). As it was, I had enough trouble finding semi-solid footholds on which to stand while I carefully lifted my bike up to the trail (almost lost my balance once there). I eventually did get all back up to the top, though. And I proceeded to ride the rest of the way home tremendously happy.
Did I learn my lesson? Of course not, I rode the rest of the trail slightly too fast again, almost got whacked in the head by a tree again, and had my skin torn asunder by blackberry bushes encroaching on the trail near the end. But I had a wonderfull near-life experiance and nothing was taking me down from the high that created!
I love riding my bike home from work. The evening commute is *far* more interesting that way. :)