Saturday, September 09, 2006

It's not a habit ...

Date: September 7&8
Combined mileage: 30.2
September mileage: 84.2

I'm beginning to believe that my natural timidness feeds this self-fulfilling cycle of injury. I don't crash my mountain bike all that often (I mean, relatively ...) But when I do, I tend to go big ... head over the handlebars, hitting the ground with some non-limb upper-body part, legs twisted around the front fork. And not because I'm a crazy, out-of-control, ego-fed "go big or go home" kind of a person. No. I tiptoe over everything. I relish in doing obstacles over ... but only if I can do them right the first time. If I fail, I'll run away as far and as fast a I can.

Today, Geoff and I went to check out some trails maintained by the snowmobile club, so we thought they'd probably be in good shape. And the trails were pretty good ... a little boggy, but they did build bridges over most of the major streams. On particular stream had a really strange bridge going over it - it shot up for about three feet at about a 60-degree angle, leveled off completely for about half a bike length, and then dropped back to the trail at the same angle. They even glued some black traction stripping over it just to ensure that it looks like it belongs in a skate park.

I stopped and walked over it because I was afraid. Geoff teased me for it, which was well deserved - it was, in fact, the smoothest portion of that entire trail. But it just didn't look natural or feel right. Still, I decided that I was being a little naive, and decided to ride over it on the way back.

Heading back, Geoff stopped and waited for me 50 feet down from the bridge. I interpreted it as him waiting to see whether or not I was going to pansy out. I stopped about 200 feet short to try to curb my swirling anxiety. But I had already made up my mind. I coasted down the trail, dodging a few roots and shimmying the handlebars dramatically enough that I was swerving all over the place by the time I hit the bridge. Front wheel on ... front wheel angles too far ... back wheel skirts the other side ... front wheel drops of the edge ... and the rider submits to a calm feeling of inevitability as her body launches forward, landing chest first in the muddy bank with a still-attached bicycle dangling from her crumpled legs.

Geoff came rushing over to me like I should be hurt or upset, but the whole situation felt perfectly natural to me. I knew I was going to end up in the mud with a bike twisted around my limbs. I saw myself crashing over that bridge before I ever rode it. I figured it was the most likely outcome. So did I actually make it happen? On some subconscious level, did I deliberately endo myself over a stream? Is your brain even allowed to do that? Is it something therapy can fix? I wonder ...