This weekend was full of riding the center trails both mornings. We met for a hearty breakfast and coffee around 7 and headed to the trails at 8. I chased the group for close to 2 hours each morning and ended up totally soaked with sweat by the time I was done.
Saturday I was initially worried about the trail conditions as they were a glaze of ice the previous weekend and we opted to do a road loop instead. As I was fiddling with my bike I didn't notice the group head off to tackle Rollercoaster so I found myself off the back before the ride even started. I never really got close to catching them after that. I passed them a few times where the singletrack makes a close pass while it's winding back through Denman's woods, but that was about it.
My fears about the ice had been alleviated by the light skiff of snow that had fallen a few days earlier making a semi grippy crust on the ice. Sliding around was fun, but not hair raising like the last ice ride I did with Fuller. I saw him lawn dart it numerous times and went down hard a few times myself on that ride.
About halfway through Denman's I was making pretty good time for me and just enjoying the flow of the ride. As I was coming through a relatively easy section, I got a bit too close to a tree with my left shoulder. I smacked it fairly hard (I didn't realize until later that day when the bruise showed up) and then shot off to the right side of the trail. As I was in the process of being propelled off my bike from the force of the hit, I managed to stop myself. Unfortunately, I was stopped by driving the top of my head dead center into a tree that was a good 4 or 5 feet off the side of the trail. I remember hearing a distinctive crunch as I hit the tree and rolled off to the side groaning loudly.
As I flipped onto my back with pain shooting down my neck and into my back, my first thought was how long am I going to have to lay here until someone finds me. Luckily I ride with my cell phone and thought about grabbing it to call the group right away. I slowly cleared out of my daze though and realized I could still feel and move everything just fine. I lay there for a minute or two getting my wits back about me and sat up to survey my situation. As luck (ha!) would have it, I wasn't seriously hurt and my bike was just fine. I did later find that I'd twisted the handlebars about 1" off center line.
I gingerly got back on the bike and resumed my chase of the group. I kept the pace down through the rest of Denman's and started to slowly pick it back up again once I got to Squirrel's nest. Just shy of getting to the old firepit, I ran into the group making the return loop so I called it good for the day and turned around. I didn't last long hanging on the tail, but managed to catch up and share my tail of woe back at the parking lot. My helmet still looked to be in good shape with no visible damage other than some scratches to the outer shell. I'm still planning on replacing it which pains me a bit as it is less than a year old. Luckily I found it for closeout at half the price I paid new so I don't even need to think about trying for a crash replacement through Bell.
Sunday we repeated the ride right down to breakfast and were joined by a few different riders in the group. I didn't fall off the back as quickly and managed to make the firepit before meeting up with the group returning again. I even avoided all the trees. Squirrel was kind enough to shoot a picture of a few of us hanging out for a second at the firepit.
Even though my neck and back were hurting off the bike, I felt great on the ride and really enjoyed being out on such a beautiful day. I'm slowly getting back to feeling normal about now. I saw the chiropractor first thing on Monday and though he adjusted me, it didn't do much for the overall "cramped" feeling I was having in my back. At least that's starting to subside just in time for the weekend! Now I just wonder if we'll be riding in the new powder and frigid temps...