Yesterday was tough. Yesterday I cried on my bike.
The Mr and I took a trip over the bridge to try out the new Blade trail at Afan. The day started well, with awesome sausage sandwiches and coffee in the Skyline cafe, looking out at the blue sky and sunshine, feeling good.
We (the Mr) did a bit of bike fettling whilst we let our brunch go down and then we hit the trails. The Blade shares the same big ascent as Whites Level, so I knew it well. I’m currently riding on a 1×10 gearing set up so have lost the option of dropping down to an easy small ring at the front. I actually found this to be really beneficial on the climb – I couldn’t spin out, I always had traction and I was making my way up the hill at a much better pace than ever before.
But then came the first little issue – I took a tumble. There’s a rock in the trail that slopes steeply upward so I hit it hard to get to the top and then realised this is the rock that drops off suddenly. I foolishly grabbed the brakes and tumbled sideways, rolling with my bike a few feet sideways down the hill. It scared me. I sat there for a few minutes, checking that there was no more damage than some rather nasty bruises, before getting back on and continuing up the hill. I made it up quicker than I ever have before.
When the trail split in two, we followed the Blade option, rather than White’s Level, and kept on pedalling. And pedalling. And pedalling some more. We eventually got to a downhill section and I got all excited, but then it finished within what felt like seconds and we started pedalling again. This repeated a couple of times, with the downhill never making up for the vast amount of pedalling. It didn’t help that it was an absolute mudfest due to poor drainage.
I was also experiencing another issue. I was getting exceptionally sore in my *ahem* lady region. I can only assume that the saddle or top tube bashed me when I fell off. Whatever had happened, I was experiencing pain I’d never felt before and it was getting worse with every pedal stroke. I just wanted some downhill to give me time to stand up on the bike!
When we got to a section called Groovy Gully I thought we’d finally reached a wooshy down bit, but alas it was yet more pedalling and I broke down in tears. There was nowhere I wanted to be less than on my bike on a trail that just didn’t feel balanced. I wanted to go home and I knew that the only way to get there was by pedalling. This knowledge broke me. I wailed and I whined. The Mr hugged me and encouraged me back on. And then we pedalled some more.
By the time we got to the final descent I was so miserable and exhausted that I couldn’t enjoy it. Only the promise of not being on my bike anymore got me to the bottom.
When we got there we headed back into the cafe, where a large slice of carrot cake and a mug of hot chocolate started to make me feel better. But it couldn’t change the fact that I really didn’t like the new Blade trail. It’s a trail that just doesn’t have any flow, it’s not balanced with enough downhill to reward you for the pedalling, the gates are so narrow that you have to lift your bike through them, and the drainage just isn’t there, so what could be fun riding turns into a battle through a bog.
Yesterday I cried on my bike. Today I’m planning my next adventure.