I had a business trip to Laramie WY, so made it into a road trip and brought my mountain bike. Business is over, and my friend Gail drove up to ride with me. This was the inaugural ride for my new bike! We biked in the Happy Jack Recreational Area just east of Laramie. It's a great place to mountain bike. Gail thinks I'm better than I am and we went on the hardest ride, called Death's crotch (is that sexist?) which then meets up with the Headquarters trail. Only the locals know about Death's Crotch and you have to lift your bike over a barbed-wire fence to start the ride. Fortunately we ran into a local who gave us lots of tips. She was really nice and we had a fun conversation and exchanged contact information for the next time we visit.
The ride was great, but I think the first part (Death's Crotch---I can't believe I've written that 3 times) had too many challenges for me at once. The main challenge was riding with SPD pedals with clip-in shoes. I was nervous about falling over in my pedals (which I have done a few times in the past). Then there was the steep climb and switchbacks and the altitude of 9000 ft and the rocks and loose gravel and tree roots. I'm glad I did those figure 8s at slow speed in the backyard a few weeks ago. That helped a lot. I did pretty well, all considering. But at one point I banged my knee really hard on my bike when I banged into a boulder on the left. That hurt almost as bad as when I broke my kneecap a few years ago. So I worried for a minute about that. But since I could bend it and walk, I figured it wasn't broken. I pushed through it because the way down on the other side was easier than the way we came from. Banging my knee just made me more disconcerted, and I walked more than rode for about 10 minutes until I got my confidence back. On the way up, Gail kept commenting on the great scenery and I was a bit too overwhelmed to notice.
On the positive side, I seemed to be able to get out of my pedals whenever I needed to so I gradually developed confidence with the pedals. On the way down we were on an easier trail and it was lots of fun, bumping over the rocks with a great bike. I'm very happy with the bike. I knew I would be because I rented a similar one a few years ago.
My knee is very sore and I am icing it. But it's just a bad bruise on the kneecap. It's not like a sprain or strain of muscles and tendons. Unfortunately I don't think I'll be ready to ride again tomorrow. I'm bummed about that because we were thinking of staying another day here and going to Kurt Goudy State Park, which is supposed to have award-winning mountain bike trails. Maybe my knee will miraculously heal. I'm going to buy kneepads first chance I get. The gal we ran into was wearing some.