This weekend was really the weekend in Edmonton to go biking. Riding in the spring is just like riding in the fall but instead of being dry with all the leaves falling, it’s wet, mucky, soupy and super fun. Being the Easter weekend I had the day off work on Friday and the plan was to hit the trails for some mid afternoon hot-doggin’. Braden and Victor came over around 2:30 and I pulled out my Top-of-the-Line Trek from 10 years ago. After the initial panic of seeing flat tires and having someone move my bike pump subsided, we were on the road and pulling wheelies all the way to the Mill Creek Ravine.
Now the thing about Edmonton is that it will surprise you. Our river valley is the largest green space in North America! However, only part of the population has any idea that there are so many adventures to be had that don’t include going to West Edmonton Mall. I find it surprising and a bit disturbing that when you meet people when you’re traveling a common question is if you go to the mall. Bore me to death. That is the last place I wanna be whatever the weather is. This day happened to be just gorgeous. The sun was shining with minimal cloud cover, so it was about 16 degrees Celsius out.
This was my first day out and it was almost perfect. We had a good mix of single track, downhills, some paved and gravel as well as those dreaded up-hills. I realized a few things on this ride. The first was that I was having a blast and wondered why I stopped biking for a while. The second was that I needed to take the old VRX 400 in to get my drive train worked on (I’m missing some gears due to stretched cables). The third was more immediate, I’m out of shape, big time. All those lunches out and late night pints have caught up to me… So I hashed out a plan while trying to catch the boys. Keep up on the biking and I’ll get back in shape in no time. This supplemented with some extra activity here and there should also speed things along. I have also started taking a lunch. This will, in turn, have me eating better and saving a minimum of 200 bucks a month. What could you do with 200 extra dollars?
After about an hour I was gassed, we crested a hill that looks out onto downtown and I told the boys I was going break off from them and head home at the next fork. I was surprised when they didn’t rag on me about it, and when we got to the next fork I dropped in with them. We all rode for awhile longer, although they did loose me on this great little single track near the Kinsmen field house.
Saturday was another great day from what I hear. I was pulled away to Vancouver for the day (tough life I know) on a work commitment so no biking. The weather there was a bit windy, really grey and kinda cloudy. Vic and I exchanged a few texts during the day, and planned a ride for Sunday around the same time. Braden’s Brother Devon was in town so he was going Quadding “depending on Devon’s hangover” and thus would not be joining us. When I brought my bike out of the basement they next day I walked into a conversation about falling off your bike, and Victor saying that “If you don’t fall off, you’re not trying hard enough”. I told him that was rubbish.
As if it were an omen from the gods themselves, I had a spectacular wipeout about 40 minutes in. Initially we rode down from where I live to a place called skunk hollow. It’s a total paradise in there, and really technical. Lots of roots, ups, downs, switchbacks, drops, and all single track. I showed Vic a few trails he had not previously known about which were really fun, so that was cool for him. From here he took me over to the Canada Cup course near Kinsmen.
When we got there it was still pretty snowy due to the fact it’s in the shadow of the hill it was on, so we went on. We started to pedal towards Emily Murphy Park and took a branch of single trail that had a couple of fallen pines blocking it. I passed Vic on an uphill where his tire slide on a root and kept going. This is where things got fun. The downhill was pretty sweet, it had loads of roots and it was really quick considering the pitch. So I ripped up to this big tree that had some decent sized roots on it, only to discover there was nothing for about 3 feet on the other side. I lost my nerve and grabbed my front brake. Think about those movies where a dude is riding a horse and the horse stops but the guy keeps going. That was me.
At this point I knew I was going over the bars. I’ve never really had that slow motion feeling before but I can tell you that it’s like watching a car crash happen. On one hand it’s very cool, but on the other hand the impending doom and possible carnage is frightening. It seemed like an eternity for my back wheel to come up and my body to go forwards. When I did hit the ground that’s where the fun stated. I’m not sure how many times I rolled but I ended up pretty much at the bottom of the hill. When I looked up my bike was about 20 feet behind me pretty much right where I had dismounted. I was scraped and bruised in a few spots but was less worried with my well being than if my phone had survived – go figure. iPhone intact, Victor Congratulated me on how awesome my crash looked and after a bit of discussion we classified it as a proper “Ass-Over Tea-Kettle wipeout.”
Our collective wish is that we had Blair Trigg’s helmet cam to record it. I’ll try to get my hands on that footage and uploaded it on the YouTube channel
We rode for a bit longer then headed home, I had Sunday dinner waiting and being a little banged up helped end this tale.
And now that I got my big crash out of the way…