The Summer of Molly has continued on track. Ignore the fact that I’m sitting on an ice pack, covered in huge bruises and a whole tube of arnica, eating ibuprofen like Tic Tacs. Everything is going AS PLANNED. We hit Whistler Mountain Bike Park for the first time since Neck Surgery #2 and the whole ‘Roper Incident’, and let me tell you – it was a long time coming.
If our doorstep (with dirt bikes, a cat bed made out of a Huggies diaper box and car parts) didn’t do the trick, the start of our trip cemented our status as red necks. We headed out on our eight-hour drive with a dashboard STUFFED with cloth diapers to muffle the incessant clicking of a relay gone bonkers. Can you say fire hazard? Especially since the steering column has already smoked a couple of times recently. WE’RE DRIVERS, NOT THINKERS.
We arrived, uncharred, a little before midnight to the posh rental my in-laws (now referred to as The Outlaws because it sounds more badass, which they are) scored for all of us. We set up the portable crib for Roper to sleep in and realized it was SOAKED IN CAT URINE. One of the many feral cats at our apartment complex must have sprayed it. Absolutely FOUL. So we half-heartedly baby proofed the spare bedroom and made up a bed on the floor for Roper and locked him in there alone.
Well…first we tried to have him sleep in our room, in our bed, on the couch, on the floor with us – nothing worked so we had to put him back in the spare room. Roper proceeded to cry at the top of his lungs until 2am, systematically breaking my heart into a million little pieces and aging me five years. Toby had to literally restrain me to keep me from rescuing him. The worst part was finding him sleeping in a heap, pressed against the door that connected his room to ours. That brittle, shattering sound you just heard? That was my heart breaking into a million little pieces again, JUST FROM TYPING THAT SENTENCE.
So, The Outlaws very generously offered to watch Roper while we rode the whole weekend. At that point, it was probably apparent that we weren’t capable of watching him ourselves anyway, even with adult supervision.
I was nervous that I wouldn’t remember how to jump and that I’d be a total pansy. My outfit wasn’t helping my confidence – I’m fairly certain I was the only one in the bike park rocking a maternity shirt. Add to that, bike shorts that were so tight they created a muffin top of epic proportions and bright orange Wheaties socks. A bonus to my fashion atrocity was that the lift operator always offered to load my bike because I couldn’t DO IT MYSELF. I had attempted to dress myself, and that clearly did not go well.
Self portrait up top
That first day in the park we rode 27 glorious downhill miles that alternately induced huge grins, whimpers of fear and grimaces of pain, but mostly huge grins. Lest you think that it was 27 miles of rolling merrily down a smooth path, do a quick image search of “Whistler bike park” and behold the awesomeness. The terrain is phenomenal! Every part of my body was exhausted after that first day. I literally had sore finger tendons from braking.
I surprised myself by getting right back into doing the same jumps and drops I was doing two years ago. I don’t get big air. I don’t even get medium air. But dammit, there’s air under those tires! Just don’t blink while you’re looking for it. There is nothing like the rush of adrenaline you get racing down a new trail and rolling onto a platform with a big “DROP!!” sign on it and not knowing what the transition is. All you can see is the trail continuing ahead, but WAY below you. At that point you have no choice but to commit and hope it’s within in your skill level. Happiness is a smooth landing.
Enjoying the view from halfway down the Garbanzo lift
The second day was more of the same, but with blistered hands, exhausted legs, and forearms that cramped at the thought of braking. We should REALLY do this more often than once every year or two.
In the afternoon, Toby and I split up for a run. He wanted to go down a technical, root and rock laden run and I wanted to hit the jumps on Freight Train again. I dropped into the trail behind a group of guys and got a little sucked into the coolness of following a whole line of tightly spaced riders going through a smooth set of jumps and hard corners. As in any sport, if you want to improve your game, play with someone better than you. But be prepared to eat dirt.
On the very last jump of the run, before it tied into a road, my feet bounced off of the pedals midair. I don’t know if I pulled up on my handlebars while trying to get back on, or WHAT but I knew that my bike was no longer in a good position and that pain was in my immediate future. It’s always amazing to me how time slows down in situations like that. Midair, I remember saying “oh crap!” and looking up into the faces of the group of guys that had gathered at the end of the trail and seeing in their eyes that this was going to get ugly. Bad feeling.
I landed on my tailbone first with unimaginable force (damn that extra weight in the form of a muffin top!) and bounced, augering in with my head and right shoulder and skidding into the ditch on the side of the trail. At one point, after some sort of massive impact to the front of my thighs, my bike and I parted ways. I rang my bell pretty good and for the life of me couldn’t think straight. At first I couldn’t feel from the waist down, but then was happily able to wiggle all of the major limbs as I lay in the fetal position in the ditch.
Swollen, bruised arm
Two of the guys whipped out their phones and seemed intent on calling the medics. I wasn’t sure if it was because I looked that bad off, or if they just wanted to be heroes, but I really wanted to be left alone in the ditch for the rest of the day. It seemed like a FABULOUS place to spend the afternoon. I don’t know how long I was lying there but it became clear that these guys weren’t going to leave me alone until I proved myself mobile and coherent.
People, it felt like when you’ve had too much to drink but you don’t want anyone to think you’re drunk so you’re doing everything you can to just appear normal…and you know in the back of your mind that you aren’t quite cutting it. I was THERE. At one point I told them that my husband was on his way to “pick me up” but they weren’t buying it. Finally, I stood up, got back on the bike and pushed myself down the path using my feet instead of the pedals.
Since all of this happened on the upper chair, it took me about SEVENTEEN YEARS to get back down to Whistler Village to meet up with Toby. When I found him at the bottom of the chair I gave a brief description of what happened, had him check my pupils to see if they were the same size, and then insisted that we head back up the mountain so I could get “back on the horse” and hit some of the easier jumps and drops on Crank It Up. By the end of that run, the shock started giving way, letting in a flood of pain. My biking adventure was over.
So THAT is the very long story of why I’m sitting on an ice pack, covered in bruises and a whole tube of arnica, eating ibuprofen like Tic Tacs. I just measured one of the bruises on my leg (NERD!!) and it’s over six inches across. That’s a lot of real estate. I’m almost positive my tailbone is busted, my arse is completely and freakishly purple and I definitely have whiplash…but I can’t wait to go do it again. There is nothing as satisfying as challenging yourself both physically and mentally to the point of exhaustion. And then relaxing in a beautiful setting with your family. The Summer of Molly is on schedule, indeed.
Ahhh....relaxing with The Outlaws
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