Are you the Master of your Domain?

This afternoon Fiona and I headed out to Lake Hogan (Trail Guide) which is our local goto trail when we have some spare time in the evening. I’ve been ramping up my riding this spring so I was feeling pretty good on the trail. Fiona was riding better than ever and took the upper trail which is aggressive for her. Usually, we split up, but today we were sticking together, so I had a lot of down time to do some light trail clean up. This was also the first time I was able to ride a section that we had cleaned up a couple weeks ago and I was pretty happy with the results.

Fiona was getting a bit tired so she turned back while I continued on for bit figuring I would get to head out to the end of the trail I was on then loop around for some bonus miles and switchbacks. After hitting the end of the trail, I turned back and was feeling pretty good about myself. I cleaned a steep technical climb and was working a cool little rock garden that is my favorite part of this trail. I was on the top of the world, the master of my domain. Then Wham! the ground just sort of leapt up at me. I hit pretty hard on my elbow, side and my back. No chance to roll or try and land better. It was more or less instant… that’s what happens when you get cocky.

Thinking back over the last couple years or so, it seems to me that most serious injuries I know of involve people who were riding trails in their own back yard so to speak. While you would expect people to get injured riding intense technical trails such as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (Mr. Toad’s Guide) or Pinecrest Peak (Pinecrest Guide), it seems to me that the local trails are more often the culprit. I’ve know people who have broken collar bones at New Melones, Briones Park, and Wilder Ranch. Recently someone on MTBR got a helicopter ride to the hospital riding Saratoga Gap Trail and last year Francis, the MTBR Overlord, wound up having a horrible crash at Soquel Demonstration Forest. The big thing all these rides have in common is that none of these injuries happened on an away trip. These injuries all happened at the trails these people ride 2-3 times a month, their goto trails if you will.

I don’t know if people just get sloppy on their local trails or if they just get hurt there because that’s where they ride the most. It seems to me that we all need to treat our favorite ‘goto’ trail with just a little more respect than we have been. Sorry to ramble on about this. Fortunately, I’m not seriously hurt, a few bruises, a small amount of blood, and a big chunk of pride taken out of my hide. See you all on the trail and… ride safe.