This summer was supposed to be all about mountain biking. My most favourite summer sport. Things were off to a decent start I was road biking a lot to try and prepare for Fondo, and getting out on the mountain bike pretty regularly. Just after the May long weekend I had a flare up of iritis. Essentially it is inflammation of the coloured ring around your pupil. I have, unfortunately, had this before about 2 years ago, and in the summer. Minus the hassle of the initial pain and the relentless cadence of drops, the real set back is you can’t particularly see. If you’ve had a smudge on your sunglasses it would be similar to that if the smudge was done with a thick blob of butter. It would be 4 to 6 weeks before things were normal again.
I tried to go mountain biking, but the combination of no sight in 1 eye and the shadows & light on the trail it made it pretty difficult to stay on the single track path with confidence. So Joel and I rode double track, and the paved pathways. I was happy to be out in the woods, but I was really missing the super fun single track.
I finished my Fondo ride with partial sight, The second weekend of July and was free to focus on mountain biking. We continued riding our easy favourite trails and I was contemplating taking a women’s only course on the August long weekend. That didn’t pan out and we met some friends down near Burlington for the weekend.
We picked a blue trail across the road from a huge trail network. I was more interested in exploring the network, however Joel thought this trail would be ok and it lead to the lake. As we got further along the trail the switchbacks were ok, but I was feeling pretty unconfident. We encountered a number of root obstacles usually at the top of a short climb. I had to walk those one as I didn’t have the leg power to get over them. We finally started descending. I can’t tell you what particularly happened, but I believe my pedal hit a stump and I crashed knee first and slid off the trail only to be save by another stump retaining my fall further down the embankment.
I was so upset with myself, as the lack of biking had really taken a tole on my skill level. Embarrassed and ashamed I picked my bike up and proceeded to walk down the remainder of the descent with my scraped & bruised knee & elbow. I was at a crossroads with choice, sell the bike or go across the road and try an easy trail. We rode around the flat lake trail and headed back to the cars. I was working through all my fears and blame verbally as I rode, thanks to Joel and my friends for putting up with me. I chose to try an easy trail on the other side. Joel upset by my fall and feeling that it was his fault for it stayed behind at the car.
We climbed up the road and selected an unknown yet easy trail. With initial trepidation I entered the trail and focused on looking ahead, peddling to keep my momentum, and standing up over obstacles. Success! I called it a day and decided to come back the next day to ride & explore more. Joel & went on the next day and had a fun time until my knee started hurting then we called it a day and went for pizza.
If you’re wondering about those bruises, well they are on the mend, after 2 weeks they have faded significantly. I also recently purchased flat peddles and shoes and am giving them a try. Although it’s tough to change from that clipped in feeling, which I strangely like. I kept my old pedals just in case.