This past Sunday, 32 days after shoulder surgery and after several weeks of 12-hour workdays, I got to ride some trail.
How was it? Even better than expected.
Standard issue local singletrack love: Up from the Heil Ranch trailhead (Boulder side), clockwise around the Wild Turkey Loop then pin it back to the car.
I rocked the 2008 Stumpjumper Pro Carbon with Specialized Eskar 2.3 tires, Hayes Stroker brakes, Maverick Speedball seatpost, stock bars/stem and the suspension set stiff. I wore long pants with a rubber band around the drive-side cuff.
I’m proud to report I rode at my pre-surgery pace, both up and down.
It just goes to show: If you ride the trainer and do your dumbbell exercises and you’re nice to puppies, you can maintain decent fitness even when you’re injured and working too much.
I didn’t know what to expect, but my shoulders felt fine during the ride (not so fine that night, but oh well). I paid extra attention to maintaining a sweet Attack Position, and to keeping my hands light, which leads me to …
At the top of the ride there’s this amazing section of trail. If you could helicopter a new rider there and let her ride 100 yards, she would be a mountain biker for life. This sinuous goodness slaloms through the trees, ever-so-slightly downhill, with sweet little rollers and mathematically perfect flow (until the end of the section).
I was pumping through, rocking the heavy feet and light hands so much that I let go of the bars. My hands were open, hovering over the grips, offering only the slightest guidance as I railed turn after turn.
It was awesome! And I had this thought: “Dude — I am so good at this — this would be amazing in a how-to video …” And I reached the end of the section. The trail turned tight off camber right, and I grabbed the bars and hit the brakes, but it was too late, and I tried to make the turn, but it was too late, and the front wheel washed and I crashed.
And it hurt, and I deserved it.
And I shook it off, and I started the descent.
And I RAILED it, and I was stoked.