Hope you weren't expecting anything about sex
THE TRAIL - Forplay - 650m vert climb - 6.2 km trail. Double diamond up and a single diamond down. It is a turn around trail that will someday be a solid downhill from wedge I believe. Very technical uphill some very steep sections and change terrain several times over from dense forest to slick rock to dry wood to slick rock etc...
THE STOREY (Yep I am canadian and I didn't spell this wrong - When I first started biking 5 months ago I was asking around for trails. Well this friendly fellow I work with directed us to Forplay. Said is was a decent trail around 2 hours in length.
So three of us beginners jump onto this trail (about a 5k bike to the trail) right after work. It starts out difficult with some switchbacks and tough terrain (now I find this section easy but as a beginner this was tough) I should have known this was only the beginning. The further into the trail we go the more the competetive spirit gets. Not one of us has the balls to say 'f this, this is brutal'. It is a hike and bike up which takes 2.5 hrs minimum unless a) you are a god and can climb better than a billy goat or b) you are a trials rider and didn't really pedal but just bounced your way up the mountain. Needless to say we only pedaled 40% of the trail up.
First time doing ANY downhill. I mean any. We get to the switchback. Only one person has water and food while me and the other guy are left working off his store. The downhill was an experience. Enjoyable in sections and terrifying in others. I was so exhausted and not used to dh that I walked down anything that was remotely difficult. One of the guys had more experience with dh but his legs seized up so we needed a break. Eventually we did make it down. At one point I passed out around .5k from the beginning of the trail. Man was I stupid. We all learned severl things.
1 - bring MORE water than you ever think you need
2 - kick the guys ass who played this joke on you (we got him back by getting him drunk and showing off his goods in the centre village)
3 - I suck. My skills blow ass and while I have very strong legs I didn't know how to use them to my advantage.
PART 2 - 5 months later. More practice. Riding beginner to intermediate trails my skills, strength and cardio are better. It is coming to the end of the season and my bike is going to need an overhaul soon. I decide to try this trail again. Then I will know if I improved at all. I went on my own. I wanted to beat this trail on my own.
On the way up I was much strong. No sheer exhaustion this time. No passing out. I brought food, sugar, tools, spare tubes and water. I still had to hike and bike (I honestly don't believe many people could ride ALL the way up) but this time I probably biked 60% of the way and hiked the rest. I get to the top (I think the connected the trails because it went further) I ended up going quite a ways further in than before and say some of the most beautiful forest. The ground was green and the trees were huge. I took a moment to admire and then turned around. Looking back I definately improved and with a working deraileur (I couldn't shift without CRAP LOADS of skipping so I left in one gear) I would have been better off.
Now downhill. I have improved to the point where I take chances. I was faster, smoother and more confident going down. My first wipe out I got stuck in a rut and locked my brakes (Damn Hayes mechs with no modulation) and flipped over. I like this one. Landed on my left elbow, wrist and shoulder. Just like playing football with a mountain. I get back up and fly down to the slickrock section and my front tire gets stuck on a steep section, my forks torque me out of my seat and I go tumbling and fall a few feet landing on my other shoulder. This one hurt as I have been recovering from nerve damage. Looks like my chiro is getting more money from me . Well this made me a bit hesitent as I go to the cliffside. There is a long switchback section along the cliff. I rode down it but got too close to the edge. The side of the cliff fell out from beside me. I was able to plant my foot and only fall a foot or so. This happened twice (yep I still suck but I am getting better) in different sections.
So here I am rambling and probably boring people to death but I felt like writing this. Forplay brought me to sheer exctasy and makes me love biking even more. I am not a daredevil and probably will never be a dh or pure freeride guy. I love it all. The pain of the climb to the speed of the dh. I went back to this trail to beat it. Did I? Nope. Will I. Hell ya, but I did come out of this better and in 5 months I am very happy with my progress. I willbe back up there next year (with other riders cause I saw my life flash before my eyes when I slipped off the cliff) and I will continue.
Cheers and if you read this all. Wow.