Wabasso to Old Fort

My dusty trail into mortality

Its 8:13am

Wake up to the pit­ter pat­ter of my 2 year old on the cold cab­in floor.…” that was a short 8 hours ”.….O ya today is my annu­al “Moun­tain” excur­sion with Eddie …Rock n roll down the trails.. Must call Eddie…So what is the itin­er­ary??? [ ini­tial plan …an 8 hour “Tek­er­ra trail ride, turned into an 6 hour Old Fort Point hike… back into rid­ing the Val­ley of the 5 lakes…so much to do!!

First break­fast, fol­lowed by a quick out­ing with the kids, and for good mea­sure .…throw in the “are you sure you’re going to be all right with the kids while I’m gone hon­ey?” line …its 11 am.

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I decide to warmup by rid­ing from our cab­in @ Patri­cia lake into town to meet up with Eddie…Hell its down­hill, and after all I’m a runner..energy to burn. As I get to my des­ti­na­tion, Eddie is wait­ing with his new yel­low “squishy “ San­ta Cruz.…Nice to see Eddie final­ly have new ride after a some 15 years of lug­ging around ole Bet­sy..

As I am chang­ing my drenched ban­dana, and tool­ing the gears on my own ole Bet­sy , Eddie obvi­ous­ly notices the pain tran­spir­ing in front of him…and “gra­cious­ly” offers the sug­ges­tion “what do you think of grab­bing a ride with the raft crew, up the road to the river…and from there.…Valley of the five lakes…” I quick­ly agree…but first.…coffee.

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After a warm cup of Joe, and nice ride in the emis­sions night­mare of a Ford mon­ster truck…we are final­ly off.

From the asphalt tar­mac into dirt sin­gle track…”ahh finally…its has been too long. All that run­ning has made me for­get what two wheeled fun the out­doors can real­ly be. Man I feel good..Go hard…go fast…Zig…Zag …the old Andy is back folks ..and.…oops…end of the trail? Have to turn around and back track.…down a minor embank­ment, some rocks, some more rocks, nego­ti­ate and.….…what the he.. I’m wip­ing out !?…I am actu­al­ly going over the bars.…I’ve nev­er done this…and on such a sim­ple part of the trail.…better roll when I hit the ground…ya just like I learned in Judo some 28 years ago…hey this is going to wor. OUCH.…limp leg hit­ting sol­id tree.…instant
pain…this is going to be bad.…”

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Hey are you OK… “Sure” [ no I am not OK.…but I won’t show you the full extend of the pain I’m expe­ri­enc­ing] . What­ev­er con­fi­dence and ego I had mustered…is dimin­ish­ing quickly…and we are just start­ing!!
Back on the bike, and ride out the pain.….Shit, first climb of the trip…a doozy..No granny gear, no granny gear…what the hell?! Eddie
is right behind me on his “squishy “ …can’t be…this is not sup­pose to be.…Granny save me.…!!!! Make sure to smile at the top, and
breath shal­low like…don’t show weak­ness. Well this is going to be a pride and ass kick­ing ride…

After putting the hero­ics and testos­terone aside, I final­ly find myself in the zone…the true good­ness of epic moun­tain bik­ing .…see­ing the back coun­try up close and all its majes­tic beauty…a beau­ty only some 2% of the tourists see…

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Off course no ride is com­plete with its share of pho­to ops.…and make sure to over empha­sise hill steep­ness and dif­fi­cul­ty factors…pose and shoot…pose and shoot. After a short trail snack I am back on my steed…a steed that is begin­ning to show its age.

Down hills!!!…OK that’s more like it…my specialty…lets go hard.…turn, slice, bank, crank hard.….what the hell?! Eddie is right behind me on his “squishy “ …can’t be…this is not sup­pose to be…keep focused…”So Eddie…been rid­ing much…or is it the new wheels??” Anoth­er rolling drop…with a tree branch, high enough for me to duck und.. oh my God…helmet is caught…head and neck being puu­u­u­ulled back “ this is not good.…..gotta let go of the bike ooou­u­uch!!!! Again…on my ass..gonna feel that tonight.…

Hey are you OK??

Pick up Betsy…and ride off…with thoughts of hot tubs, strong alco­hol, and herb flow­ing through my sore head…”Ahh an uphill…great” Pull, push.…. oh oh is that a Bonk I feel com­ing on.….better take a pull off the ole Camel.…Shit.…no more fluids…Head becom­ing light, shakes to follow..”Eddie…hold on…wait” Must find sweets…and drink…Dig deep into
the good­ie bag..ahh yes ice tea and candy..thank you God.…

Back in the sad­dle after a shaky con­sump­tion of sweet and drink…More downhill…and I don’t care what line I take…go man go…”what’s that whistling noise??” Flat!!!! Eddie…I think your tire just blew out…No.…its mine!!!! Lucky for me [ or shall I say Eddie ] I hap­pen to have a spare tube.…Are we almost done????

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Final­ly, steep, steep downhill…the mark of the end of a trail…we are done folks…but wait the final insult to injury.…Eddie’s roomy meets us at the end of the trail…walks over to what used to be the envy of the bik­ing com­mu­ni­ty cir­ca 92 .… gives it the one’s over and says..”Man.…your handlebars…very retro like .….straight from the Don John­son days eh”.

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As with all moun­tain rides, you are bound to walk away learn­ing some­thing new…My jour­ney this day,an end of a ride where age, fam­i­ly oblig­a­tions and yes old tech­nol­o­gy took its toll.…but an renewed fire for rid­ing the trails and …pos­si­bly a new attitude..of tak­ing the time out to look around…and take it all in..and be in awe..

Sto­ry by: Andy Lucardie

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