Part One: "Why do you fall off your bike so much?"
On Tuesday afternoon my friend Jason and I decided to bike on dirt. We decided to take on Apex trail near Golden, Colorado. Jason was armed with his 26" Yeti 575, which is very capable dual suspension bike.
I had selected my Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert Carbon 29.
Jason's Yeti is a quicker handling bike. My bike is better at tacking obstacles. Both bikes are extraordinary machines. On moderately difficult terrain, Ultra Stumpy can clobber Jason's Yeti. On trails that are narrow with tight turns, Jason's Yeti is quicker that Ultra Stumpy.
You pay your money and take your chances. On Apex trail you are taking some big chances. To make a long story short, at the end of the day both bikes needed repairs and both riders needed a bandage or two. I think Jason's bike took a bigger hit than my bike. But my body took a mongo hit. Jason was just a bit banged up.
I feel like I was beaten over every inch of my body by a baseball bat. My knee was toast. The various parts of me that weren't leaking blood were bruised. My helmet needs to be replaced.
When my wife saw my injuries she inquired, "Why do you fall off your bike so much?"
Part 2: "I fell off my bike just once!"
I am not particularly clumsy. But I do get banged-up quite a bit. I may take a few chances occasionally. And Apex trail is just downright hard!
I did not get a photo of the trail sign that read, " Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate." which translates to "Abandon hope all ye who enter here." - See Dante's Inferno - inscription on the gates of hell.
Apex trail is nine miles of razor sharp boulders. These are very big rocks on a really steep trail. I know this looks like a fun ascent. Take my word for it - this is a tough climb.
Apex was constructed in the 1870's as a toll road to reach the high altitude gold fields. Erosion has made it a rather challenging mountain bike trail that is rated as "Most Difficult".
The switchbacks are rough and rocky with very loose surfaces. You have to keep pedaling and keep your weight distribution perfectly balanced. This is draining. It is very easy to fall over backwards or spin out.
This section is called the rock slide. We came upon a guy that had ripped open his front tire and destroyed his front rim. He was in a daze and was trying to fix his blown inner tube. He was a mess.
Part 3: Front Brake Lockup - That Is Going to Leave a Mark
Apex is an out and back trail. Ultra Stumpy can handle a fast descent over mean and nasty terrain. On the decent my front brake was making an unfamiliar squeaking noise. There was a place on the trail where there was a 3 foot jump followed by an amazingly steep downhill stretch. I was going way too fast and would be airborne for a long ways. I wanted to hit this jump at a controlled rate of speed so I could so I could get a slight rear-tire-first landing. I touched my front and rear brake. The powerful hydraulic front disc brake locked-up! OH SH_T!
I was catapulted into space.
My knee smashed into the rear shifter as I went over the handle bars. My knee shattered the forged alloy shifter mount like a dry stick of wood. It felt like my knee had been hit by a hammer. I pulled my hands into my mid-section and tried to tuck myself into a ball.
There are no good options at this point. I struck the ground after falling forever. I had a surprisingly soft landing but it still hurt. Both me and the bike were tumbling over and over and over.
We were both wounded.
How we made it out over there I have no earthly idea. I walked the bike a little ways and got back in the saddle. We had two more miles of hell before we got back to the car.
I only fell off that one time.
Part 4: Ultra Stumpy is in the Bike Hospital
I have no idea why the front brake locked up. Neither did the service manager at the bike hospital. I told him that the front brake was touchy. He took the Stumps for a test ride. He touched the front brake and did an epic front wheel stand. The only reason he did not go endo was he was not going very fast. He exclaimed, "Son of a B-----". He recommended a complete crash analysis. I agreed. The Stumps should be released this Friday.
Part 5: Jason's Yeti is Destroyed
Jason hit a washout and dropped off the trail into an abyss. He twisted his bike's rear triangle and tacoed his rear wheel. He went off the bike sideways and was OK.
Part 6: Road Biking
Tomorrow we are going road biking. We figure we can ride against traffic on the center line of the freeway and play chicken with on coming traffic and have less chance of getting killed than on our mountain bikes.