Swampfoot and Pee Crumbs

9 06 2009

The last weekend in May included biking on Saturday and hiking on Sunday – pretty typical of the season for us. These weekends are coming at us fast as the summer begins, so it seems like I’m already starting to play catch-up on my recaps…

When I first started mountain biking I fell. A lot. It was mostly due to me getting used to my pedal clips, and falling over because I couldn’t get a foot out fast enough when I stopped pedaling through a rock garden or my quads quit on me going up a hill. Needless to say, I ended up with some pretty interesting bruises that made for nice accessories to my summer attire.

I hadn’t fallen since last year – until last Saturday. It was a stupid fall, too. One of those where you’re left thinking, “How did I even do that?” We had just left one of our rest stops, Rattlesnake Rock, when I was slowly pedaling and about to clip in my other foot. Before I knew it I was tumbling over, landing with my right ankle pinned between my bike frame/chain ring and a hefty root, with my body weight moving the rest of my leg even further toward the ground. “Great. I’m going to break my ankle falling from a standstill,” I thought. Once I hit the brush with my shoulder, though, I was able to pull my bike and legs up with my left hand to get the weight off my right foot. The only thing injured was my ego. Of course, I had a bruise, lump and bloody cuts on my shin to go with it.

It’s little shit like that, that frustrates and distracts me during the rest of my ride. I need remember to “shake it off” just like my dad used to tell me when I’d hurt myself fishing or hiking with him as a kid. So as I rode on, I admonished myself to start wearing my bumps and cuts as trophies of days spent doing something I love. In fact, later that day we went to the Maryland Brewers SpringFest, where I wore shorts proudly showing off my purple and green shin and ever-present “pedal slap” bruises on my inner knee.

The last half of our ride still remaining, we set off from Rattlesnake on the rolling, technical (what else is there around here?) trail ahead. I had eaten a small breakfast and was starting to get tired. Not wanting to be defeated, I sucked it up and kept pedaling, but I knew that we would come to the spot where the trail crossed a fire road. I also knew that the Mr. didn’t like the climb on the piece of trail across the fire road, so I made a plan to ask him if we could wimp out and ride the road for the last third of our trip. It was when I stopped to ask him this that I plunked my left foot down into a 6″ deep mud puddle. Hence, swampfoot. Swampfoot dried pretty quickly, so I didn’t have to worry about getting blisters or anything.

Swampfoot, post-ride

Swampfoot, post-ride

I was immediately disappointed in my choice. The road was much tougher than the trail would have been, and it was becoming apparent that my 800-calorie workouts from the week had caught up with me. I grunted my way up one long hill, to the next shorter one and a car rumbling up my ass. We made it to the gate where one of our favorite pieces of singletrack resides, and I knew I was almost finished. I contemplated heading to the truck instead of following the Mr. It was so close! He encouraged me to keep going, and I was glad I did. I left feeling an accomplished sweaty mess.

The Brew Fest was fun. I was a happy girl, downing blueberry beer samples and a fresh crab cake sandwich in the company of good friends, live music and a nice breeze.

Wanting to further explore some of the new singletrack being cut in our local riding area, we set out Sunday morning with Emily and Rischie. What we found was the cushy-ness of a fresh, new trail that will probably only last this season before it’s tamped down enough to become hard and packed. The new section of trail made up the first half of our hike, twisty and windy with a few obstacles and mini rock gardens. I’m really looking forward to riding this one. We followed the trail to its end at the road, crossing it and picking up an existing trail that the Mr. rode a few times years before I started riding.

Old Beetle on the aptly named Volkswagen Trail

Old Beetle on the aptly named Volkswagen Trail

The second half of our hike would complete the loop and bring us back to our parking spot. The dogs had a great time chasing each other back and forth across the trail in front of us, occasionally herding us to move along with them over the small hills, dips and big flat boulders. Derby cracked us up, as usual, marking his territory so frequently that he wound up only letting out one or two drops each time. Emily’s personal dictionary dubs these “pee crumbs.” Totally fits.

We were out for a little over an hour and a half hiking at a good pace, and so felt we deserved to go home, put our feet up and eat some lunch.

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