The next time down we braved the double black diamonds, wanting to see the bike’s full potential. We ignored the sign cautiously advising us to wear full-face helmets and pads and dropped into a crevice filled with loose babyheads and three foot drops followed by hairpin turns and pointy boulders. I immediately crashed and could barely disentangle myself from the bike without plunging further into the crevice. In fact, being stuck to the bike is probably what saved me from further demise involving the EMS – who had already been busy that afternoon (imagine, a mountain valley filled with bikers trying to prove themselves on somebody else’s bikes). Humiliation rode in my Camelbak as I picked my way down the cleft, sliding more than walking. I carried, rather than pushed, the bike so as not to scratch it up and found myself grabbing the brakes as my feet slid. Brilliant. Imagine my relief when the trail flattened a bit and gave at least ten feet between rocky drops. It remained to be a highly technical and narrow trail spattered with roots, drops, ledges, and rollers – a perfect combination for a very fun ride. I picked my way through, cleaning most of it due to the thought of having to carry the bike again. It was far more dangerous to walk than ride. It made me laugh, and I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow. My evening shower revealed only a slight wound on my right butt cheek and thigh.

The day concluded with the Dirt Grand Prix, even as the rain clouds found their way to the racing field. There weren’t enough Polygamy Pale Ales to keep us warm enough to watch all of the races. It was great fun watching Katerina Nash, of Luna Chix Pro Team, annihilate her competitors, lapping two of them. Amy Dombroski, her only real competition, flatted her cross bike after only a handful of laps. She fixed her wheel, drank the beer I handed her, and decided to race with the men. I was heading into the hot shower as she was lining up in the cold, windy rain. She’s nearly 15 years younger than I am, and I want to be like her when I grow up.

I’m going to put on these same sunglasses tomorrow.