Surprise — it didn’t rain! The day was perfect; it was cool and dry, and the course was not mud, after all. Some women were taking the class because, like me, they ride on the street and wanted to get a taste of riding on dirt. One mother brought her teenaged daughter. Several women were trying it out because their husbands rode dirtbikes. And there was one charming 12-year-old with a blond pigtail flapping out the back of her helmet who had no trouble at all ripping through the course; her dad has built a motocross track in their back yard! I have a feeling we’ll be hearing more about little Madison in the near future.
The instructors, Teresa and Paula, were great. Patient, thorough, and realistic. No excessive praise, good constructive criticism. I was surprised how quickly I overcame my clumsy attempts to stand up on the pegs. Once I fully unfurled and found my balance, it became easy. I even shifted without falling over 🙂
The last exercise of the day involved riding up a small hill, turning around a cone, and coming back down the hill. From a distance, it looked painless; the hill seemed tiny. Until we walked up it and looked back down. Suddenly, it seemed steep and slippery. We attacked it from two directions. In the first exercise, we rode up the right side, rounded the cone, and turned left down the hill. Hey, not bad! But I always find turning left easier (I think most folks do).
When we switched sides, I resolved to stay on the throttle even more and not lose any momentum at the top as I turned. But I miscalculated, lost altitude, and couldn’t recover. In what seemed like slow motion, I fell over to the right, dropped the bike on my right leg, and rolled over once more after the bike caught on the right footpeg. At least the bike wasn’t sliding and rolling with me, but I felt so stupid. And dirt is much more forgiving than asphalt.
Driving home, I was tired, but felt that I’d done well (except for the showy spill). But by late evening, my leg was throbbing, and I dug out the ice pack. The bruising was nowhere near as extensive as when I dropped the bike in the church parking lot 2 years ago, but it stung. I think my recent diet of ginkgo and other circulation-enhancing herbs may have led to easier and deeper bruising.
I probably would have been fine if I hadn’t had to fly two days later, spending 9 hours on a flight to Europe. Despite my efforts to stand and stretch, the long confinement, followed by extensive walking through the breathtakingly beautiful scenery of Bregenz, Austria and Lindau, Germany, took a toll. By the second sleepless night, I was sporting Mega-Ankle:
My leg was swollen and tight from knee to toe, and punctuating my day with stabbing pains. Sheesh. I suddenly felt my age. I ended up coming home from Europe two days early to nurse the elephantine leg before I had to travel again, and I’m deeply disappointed by that.
But a few days of icing and keeping the leg elevated have paid off. It’s been a bit more than two weeks, and it’s much better now. So don’t be discouraged by my setback: just lay off the ginkgo and aspirin before you go playing in the dirt!