3 Sport Days
It’s tacky. The supple black soil gives way to the hard rubber knobs pressing in. The swath of trail stretches upward through the forest dense with spindly pines. Granite boulders speckled with green moss bulge through the malleable surface interrupting the continuity of flow. As I survey the changing landscape beneath my tire, I catch a whiff of decaying leaves. The fresh aroma a stark contrast to the cracked granite dust I inhale the first ten miles on County Road 8.
The aggressive slope requires little effort from me. The engine turns the crank which spins the chain rotating the tires doing the majority of the work. The front and rear springs absorb and soften jarring impact to my body. I manage direction, balance and speed control.
I feel the muscles in my neck contract in an effort to keep my head upright. I watch pine needles glance across the lenses of my goggles from a flexible branch pushing against my helmet. Inside my mind, synaptic reactions rage with sensory input. Rapid fire decisions are sent to my fingers and toes: pull, push, lift and twist.
A jerk, this time tugging on my back, triggers an immediate response, “oh no, the board!” I release the throttle, pull in the brake and clutch while simultaneously stepping on the shifter setting it to neutral. With a burst of thankfulness I place my feet on the ground and exhale a “sigh” of relief.
I’d forgotten all about the snowboard strapped to my pack.
It’s early July in the high country of Colorado. At this elevation the trail has been free from snow for less than a month. Patches of dirty slush remain on some north facing mountains. By annual ritual, I knew Mt. Epworth, a modest climb sandwiched between spectacular peaks, would deliver the promise of snow.
Earlier that morning with a smirk on my face and snicker in my voice I announced to my roommate, “I have an idea.”
She answered casually while glancing over the top of the newest Burton catalog “Oh yea, what’s your idea?”
“Let’s twist throttle up broken thumb trail, park our bikes, switch our boots, hike-up Mt. Epworth and snowboard down the glacier.”
Without hesitation, she responded with, “When do you want to leave?”
Standing in the shabby garage of the 1940’s home we rented surrounded by surfboards and kite boarding equipment, I was enticed to ask her another question, “Do you want to stop at the crag on the way down and climb a few routes?”
After a thoughtful pause and prudent consideration, she declared “Three is enough.”
I offered her my trendy Thor gear to wear. I opted to dress in the pink and blue retro pants loaned to us by our neighbor. Amy is new to the off-road motorcycle world. So far, the mileage she’s contributed to the odometer of our friend’s Suzuki 250 has been spun from wide two-track trails in Grand Lake. It’s great training ground for a rookie. On this day, she will thrust-up rocky single track for the first time.
On the trail, I position my motorcycle just far enough ahead for her to glean knowledge of what to ride over and what to go around. For both of us, the variations in the terrain demand certain concentration to continually wrangle the clutch, throttle, transmission, and brakes.
We arrive at the trailhead, park and lock the motorcycles and change in to our snowboard boots. We don’t say much. Sharing in a brilliant adventure is fully satisfying by itself. Our delight broadens as we progress along the trail passing through a field dotted with alpine flowers. At 11,000 feet there are no trees; the view marvelously expansive. After crossing a gentle trickling brook, we begin the hostile ascent to the summit. Any semblance of pathway is replaced by ten foot serrated boulders to scramble over. We share poised laughter as we pull out the logbook from the large plastic tube to document our dirt bike, climb and ensuing snowboard descent off the mountaintop. We share a retort, “Just another day in life of Edy and Amy.”
|A lot changed when my daughter was born. To the shock and disbelief of everyone including pediatric doctors, she refused to eat.|