Even now I’m still not sure.
Was it a bad ride?
It certainly wasn’t a good one. It had good parts, it also had totally crap parts and have to confess to having a wee meltdown.
This is why I han’t blogged about it yet, I don’t really know what to say about it. It really can only be summed up in one word. Meh.
Why was it meh? Let me explain:
As usual, I was excited to ride. I’ve been to this trail ride a couple of times in years past on my Mum’s 1975 Yamaha TY trials bike, so figured I’d be absolutely fine on my CRF. Obviously the track changes most years, but it should be generally the same right? Same farm and all.
We cruised out over nice rolling paddocks to the first track split. The signposted options were “Forestry Long Loop” and “Farm Shorter Loop”. We all opted for the Forest as all 4 of us love long rides and 3 of us love twisty tree rooted forest trails.
We didn’t find much of that. It was relentless deep, long sand tracks. Big wide trails that made for easy passing, but the sand was so deep my little wheels were getting bogged and I was all over the place, it was like being on a roller coaster – fun, but exhausting to do all day! I was hitting it as fast as I was comfortable, keeping pace and momentum up so I wasn’t getting sucked into a standstill by the sand, but it was hard going.
And it just went on, and on, and on.
We finally got onto a patch of single track that was fun for a couple of minutes, then ended up waiting in a queue of people struggling up a deep sandy hill. I hung back, launched at it and struggled up as far as I could go before the sand swallowed my back wheel. Dad and the Husband helped me drag it out and I waited for them to get Mum up, get themselves up, regroup and head off. Head off down another deep sandy track. Awesome.
I actually thought I was doing pretty well, I had a constant speed, wasn’t getting shoved around the track by the sand like I have before, I was guiding the bike pretty well. It was hard work and my thighs were screaming, but I was quietly proud of how I getting through everything.
We came to another fork, shortcut home or more forest. We again opted for the forest, hoping that we must come to something traily and fun, surely?
Nope. Just endless deep, wheel sucking sand. It seemed never-ending. Then just like before, about 2 mins of fun track before another queue. It was at this point that vast plumes of steam began erupting from my bike and the Husband started yelling at me.
My bike was over heating because I ride too slow and I suck. Now, that is NOT what the Husband said, but that’s what I heard. He told me to turn it off and that I couldn’t ride it. Ok, yes, I understand its overheating and I can’t ride it like that. But we’re currently in the middle of a single track queue and there is a short rooted hump, then a massive tree across the whole track. So the husband instructs me to turn the bike off and start pushing. Awesome.
I’m struggling and heaving with him when Dad turns up wondering what the hell we’re doing. By this time everyone is tired, frustrated, sweating and over it. Dad asks what’s going on. My mature response is “my bike’s overheating cause I’m a stupid slow loser and the Husband said I can’t ride it.” So naturally the Husband fires up pointing out that is not what he said. Which is true, but I was having a little pity party after I though I’d done well. So I try to drag my bike over the tree, fall over, scream in frustration. Much to the amusement of the queue behind us I’m sure.
Dad explains that his bike is doing the same thing, not to worry, we’ll drag it off to the side and have a breather. There’s no way I can ride it or drag it over the tree so the Husband will take it over once we’ve taken a moment to calm down. And I’ve picked up my dignity which I threw away into the bushes somewhere.
Except that the husband picked the moment I had my helmet off to talk to Dad, to start my bike and launch it over the tree, except it doesn quite work and he showers us in sand. Which would be fine, except I have my eyes and mouth open when the spray hits. And I wear contacts.
So there is instant stinging pain, furious spitting and screaming, and tears. I rip off my camelback and empty the entire thing over my face. My goggles are full of sand and I am broken.
God bless my Mother. She’s awesome. She comes storming down the track, demands that I pull myself together, instructs Dad to ride my bike up the next hill and shoves me towards it, suggesting I get climbing. She tells the Husband why I have had a meltdown, he cleans my goggles and she climbs up the hill after me.
It’s clear at this point that no one is really having fun. Dad reckons there are sections of the main track that are more like an enduro than a trail ride, he’s red faced and exhausted after hauling 3 bikes up the hill and battling with the sand. We sit at the top of the hill and he drains his camelback, My tongue is already getting furry and my camelback is dry, any water I had is now drying on my face.
So the husband arrives at the top of the hill, informs me that I HAVE to ride faster, in a higher gear. I go flying into the next sand patch, have a massive fishtail and faceplant into the sand. I repeat this again. I back to riding at my pace, inwardly cursing my Husband, berating myself for being such a useless rider, and chewing sand.
We regroup again and I can barely speak, I’m so frustrated, angry and if I’m honest I’m acting like a little bitch. I was expecting a big pat on the back for how well I thought I was doing, but no, I just get “you suck ride faster” And I can’t.
I furiously ride off and am all over the place, out of control, fishtailing and desperately trying to go faster. I don’t crash but I have some spectacular “moments” and silent tears are flowing. We hit a section of steep whoops and I’m trying to hit them in a higher gear, I get bogged and stall, get bogged and stall. As I’m furiously kicking Mum rides past and stops ahead of me. She waves me over and gives me a good talking to. Again. It’s just what I needed to hear, the perfect blend of “you’re doing really well”, “the boys aren’t always right” and “stop being a pathetic little bitch”.
So I ride off, it’s still deep, it’s still hard, but I’m riding on my own terms and it’s almost fun. We catch up to Dad and he tells us how well we’re doing. I burst out about the gears and the stalling and the frustration rises again. He explains that it is hard work for my little bike, but it’s the starting and stopping that is worse, so just keep going and ride at my pace and I’ll be fine, just turn the bike off when I stop to wait for Mum.
So the rest of the ride goes better. It’s still a battle, and I’ve got a pounding headache from dehydration but my teeth are gritted and I stay upright and forwards. That is until there is another bloody tree across the track. I stall, so get off and push my bike around it, trying to wave at Mum to show her the way around. She stalls so pushes as well, but slips and ends up sprawled over the tree with her boot buckles hooked in the branches, her bike leaning on her back pinning her down. I can’t help myself, I’m crying with laughter as she tries to pick herself up, I grab her bike but am almost dropping it as the laughter saps my strength. She’s laughing too, kicking like a landed fish and can’t work out why she can’t get up. I’m laughing to hard to tell her she’s hooked! A group of guys come past and ask if we need help, by this stage Mum’s bike is crushing me and I ask them to grab it and unhook her.
The rest of the ride is good, we ride together, there’s lots of smiles and encouragement.
We finally finish the loop and have lunch as the rain starts to fall. We all look at each other and Dad asks if anyone wants to do another lap, try the farm section. Silence. We’re not a family of quitters and no one wants to be the person who says no. Mum suggests we go to their house, light the fire and watch a DVD.
So yeah. It wasn’t a bad ride, because I have got better at riding in sand and I had a great time with my Mum. But it wasn’t a good ride, largely because of my behaviour which I’m not proud of, but also because it was so frustrating. But I have a small wheel bike and that’s just something I have to live with. Dad suggested an upgrade to bigger wheels, but that will be swapping one set of problems for another and we haven’t got the money at the moment.