At 30 years old, I thought my days of being piggy-backed as a mode of transportation were over. Turns out, I was wrong.
In the last hour of the last day at Dirt Rag’s DirtFest, I found myself hanging on to the back of Richie Rich while he sprinted down the trail on foot. Jarring up and down and trying to keep my mind off the pain shooting up my foot at every step, our team of 4 used laughter to avoid thinking about the 6 miles we still had to go until we hit a main road.
Turns out, running down a dirt trail with 100 pounds of me on your back is an awesome cross-training tool. It also makes you sound bad ass – “What did you do to train today? Oh yea? Well, I ran 3 miles in the woods with a sack of potatoes strapped to my back. NBD.”
We were riding bikes on some of the funnest trails in the Allegripis system in Rayestown, PA. Everyone had packed up and hauled out and we stuck around for a final ride with a few friends from Giant, Stan’s NoTubes, Niner, and Felt.
The dudes took off fast and I smashed pedals trying to keep up. When you get a bunch of dudes together on bikes (even more specifically INDUSTRY DUDES on bikes), it’s bound to be a testosterone fest (even if that wasn’t the intention). It also doesn’t help that I’m slow on climbs so I tried to make up speed on the downs (which I’m not so bad at – or so I thought).
After heading out on Doe and looping around to Ray’s Revenge, we finally got to the fun section. I don’t know if it was 3 days of riding, the new shoes, or trying too hard to keep up (probably a combination of all three), but I felt uneasy from the start of the rhythm section and started to slow down. After hitting a patch of gravel on the edge of the trail, my back tire skidded off the side of the hill with my foot stuck in the pedal.
Gripped with pain, I clenched a bunch of dirt in my hands while trying to find air. After pushing my bike off me, I had to shove my foot out of the pedal, which was excruciating.
I ended up hobbling along for a half mile, Josh found me on the trail with Rich and Brian in tow. It was clear I shouldn’t be walking so I hopped onto the seat of Josh’s bike while he attempted to pedal us down the trail without bucking me face-down back into the dirt. Bad idea.
So, what to do? And this is how I ended up on Rich’s back while he sprinted down the trail. Switching from one sweaty back to another, Josh and Rich took turns while Brian took care of my bike.
Back at DirtFest base camp, the guys set me up in the Sprinter van with a rapidly swelling ankle and some ice.
And then I ended up with this:
I spent the next 4 weeks traveling around to all the races and events I had signed up for…as a spectator. Cast off, boot on, I started back on the bike again and went to a lot of concerts where I got premium seating! :o)