I rode at Tsali this past weekend. The last time I was there was two years ago at the Tsali Challenge with teammates from Blue Ridge Outdoors. I was in good riding shape, but got a flat within 200 yards of the start. I got passed by at least 15 people and caught only about half of them after having trouble with my pump.

My boyfriend says it’s karma. Not long before that incident he flatted on a ride only to find that, unbeknownst to him, his pump had been stolen from his pack by somebody who then put it in the stroller. Damn baby. There were THREE pumps in the stroller, and none in our Camelbaks. To make things worse, he had only begun his descent, after an arduous climb, when he flatted. He had to walk the entire downhill.

So even though I was six weeks pregnant and mad that I’d flatted, he said, “That’s what you get.”

ANYWAY. The ride I had last weekend was to avenge my terrible loss. I say that because it was really fun and therapeutic. We got there early enough to avoid many other riders, so I had the trail to myself at 9:30 a.m. I started with the right loop, which I think is easier than the left loop. I think it provides a better warm-up, too. I sound like I recall doing the left loop first…

The rolling downhill was just enough to get me into a groove in the big ring, giving me momentum for the next two hours. The erosion has changed the trails somewhat, but not in a bad way. I’m a girl who loves surprises. Despite the occasional mud puddle, there were several plank bridges to bypass troubled areas. I rode the back wheel a lot with as deep as I found most of them to be.

Once I got to the left loop I was feeling pretty good for the western trek around the lake. I still hadn’t run across anybody. Talk about bliss. Of course that’s about the time you run across a bear, which I’m disappointed to say that I also did not see. By the last couple miles I started wishing I’d eaten more, but now it was too late to bother with that. Although I always forget about that wall at the end when you’ve got to climb the boring-ass, steep road back to the trailhead. Just when you think it’s over you have to keep rolling over yet another climb.

I added the overlook trail so that I could do some yoga with a breathtaking view over the lake and surrounding range. It was a phenomenal day with bright sun and storm clouds rolling across the valleys. The sky never opened up until the afternoon, when the kids and dad and I were back on the road home.

I felt bad for the guy who had just gone into the woods after asking me what I thought the weather was going to be like. Sorry dude. “Scattered showers” mean “all over the place.”

I wonder what my karma will bring for that?