I leap back to my feet and spin around to face the direction that I was just travelling from. The sight of my bike sprawled across the trail greets me, the bars twisted over and the front wheel dug into the soft soil. I glance down; my right leg is cut pretty bad and claret is beginning to pour out of a deep gash on my hand, dripping onto the dry and dusty ground below.
There’s nothing like a crash to rein you back in. The trails last Sunday were in exceptionally fine condition, just the right side of dry with plenty of traction but a hint of a loose marble sensation in the corners. We were exploring all the singletrack, finding new sections, old trails, basking in the hot conditions and ripping at full throttle. The smiles were breaking wide and easily across our faces.
I’d been sliding and drifting the tyres through the corners up till my tumble, exploring the level of grip on offer with the new rubber I’d fitted the night before. With each successive corner my confidence was growing, I was carrying more speed into, through and out of the corners. A little faster here. A bit braver there. The good vibes flowing thick and fast.
But I got carried away didn’t I. Just having too much fun. On a particularly fast and flowing trail, I’d been really getting into the zone, feeling the flow as I was linking the corners with a grace that I’d not felt in a long time. A badly placed stump was the reminder that I’m not actually that good a rider. My skills ran out.
As I loaded the bike deep into its suspension and the tyres drifted seductively into the small berm on a right hander, I clipped the inside pedal on a tree root or stump, which one it was I’m not entirely sure, and this force the rear wheel to violently kick forward, catapulting me off the front of the bike. It was a shock I can tell you, but lucky the ground was so soft and slidey where I crashed.
Bruised ego, a bit of a laugh, plenty of blood, some new battle scars for the future, it’s good to crash once in a while isn’t it?