Getting back to MTB riding

Written by Renee

Topics: Bicycling, EMS, Fun Stuff, Injury, Paramedic Academy, Weight Loss

I made a decision last year that I REALLY wanted to get back to MTB riding. I enjoy it, as it gives me a chance to get away from just about everything, ride my bike off the road (If you have never ridden on an MTB trail, you are seriously missing something), feel FREE, see nature, clear my head, and have one helluva fun time.

I made that decision public amongst friends in October, even going so far as to tell them I was racing this year. I was actually invited to join a team, LeadOut Racing, out of Folsom, CA, and I took them up on it. I love them. I’ve treated some of them over the years when they were sick or injured at events, and become good friends with a few. They know how determined I am to get fit, to lose weight, and have some fun time on my bike again. This past year has been difficult to get out and ride due to the Paramedic Academy. I spent 11 months in didactics and clinicals, while holding down a full-time job and running a company with my business partner (and working EMS shifts on most weekends). I am now waiting for my internship (VERY EAGERLY!), but now is the time to concentrate on ME.

I’ve spent most evenings at the gym recently (along with the hordes of others who started their New Year’s Resolutions). Mine isn’t a resolution. It is a commitment. I know I’ve said it here before. But a few things occurred that made me seriously re-think my lifestyle:

  • I need to do it to improve my health. I’m tired of feeling lousy. I’ve been extremely lucky not to have diabetes, hypertension, as some of my obese friends have. I do have asthma. While it isn’t caused by obesity in my case, the obesity makes it worse. Last year was my best year in a long time, control-wise. But I still had a few asthma attacks, one of which almost sent me to the E.R. (In hindsight, I should have gone.). My body is breaking down due a genetic disorder, but I believe my obesity is hastening this.
  • I work EMS, and am fortunate that I work event medicine. I am around a lot of athletes, many of whom are role-models for me (Yeah, some of you that are my friends are in that group!). As someone in EMS, I should be fit, to treat my patients. Some of whom I have to go long distances walking up hills and mountains to reach at times. And bring them down.
  • I want my children to have their mom around for a long time. They watched their father die slowly from a preventable cause. I also want my grandchildren to have their Nana.

Enough said on that.

Today, I went to Granite Beach, at Folsom Lake. I love the MTB trails there. It is beautiful out there. Reasonably technical, but ok for beginners like me to go out and have fun. And the area I will be racing at next Sunday. It was cold today, so I made sure to wear my base layer and kept my fingers covered with two pairs of gloves. I wore shorts, and no leggings or warmers. My upper body seems to get colder, since my legs are moving all the time when I ride. Even when I started riding at 11:30, there was still frost on the ground in shaded areas.

I crashed almost immediately. For those who know GB, the north end of the parking lot where the trail starts and dips down immediately. OOPS! Couldn’t get my cleat unclipped fast enough. Went down on my right side. Eh, no major damage. Just some abrasions. Got up and kept riding. Didn’t realize it until a few minutes later, but I apparently damaged my right shifter. It is a combo brake and shifter, and the brake still worked, but only 1 out of 4 shift attempts would work. Frustrating. I ended up walking more areas than I intended because I couldn’t downshift. At one point, I stopped and took a few pictures:


Toward the lake. Full daylight.


Opposite the lake.


My Giant XTC. :-)


Me. I love this jersey! It’s got fractures and surgical repairs on the bones. :-)


Got to an area near Beeks Bight (Where the trail goes down to Park Road), and wham! Down I went on a sloping right turn. Slipped in the mud. No further damage noted. Got up and kept going. Ended up taking a trail I had never taken before, and before I knew it, I was about a mile north of Beeks. I could see the parking lot at Beeks from the top of the peak I was on. Felt a little lost. But since I could see Beeks, I started back. Wandered off trail (off bike) through a field to the trail I knew would take me back to Beeks. Got there and started back on Park Rd. Came back on Park Road until I got to Doton’s. Then I decided to spend a little time in the sand and follow the water line until I got back to Granite Beach. It really exercises your legs! Got almost to Oak Beach and hit an area with a lot of rocks that I think still had ice on them. Down I went, losing more skin, and improving the existing abrasion dramatically. I walked a bit, then got on my bike and rode back to Granite Beach.


The damage to me. The damage to the bike isn’t visible.


Patched up.

Time to repair the damage to me.

I cleaned up my leg with some of the first aid supplies I had (It’s easier if someone else does it for you!!!!), bandaged it up, and headed out. I noted the time, and it suprised me. I had been out there for 2.5 hours! I loved every minute of it (OK, not the crashes).




I race on January 20th at Granite Beach at the MTB Kickstart. My plan: Finish. And hopefully not crash. Two years ago, at this race, I actually made the podium (Go figure. I’ll take it!). I’m going to try again. :-)

I know our company is providing the EMS out there, so if something goes horribly wrong, I know I will be in good hands.

Rubber down, head up! And yep, I am following rule 5, LeadOut Racers!

Update: Slightly more damage than initially observed. Abrasion and bruising on my right hip,  some bruising going down my right leg, some bruising on my right hand, and an abrasion on my right arm. The shower tells all…

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