If you’ve done any amount of technical mountain biking you’ve experienced the goat trail. No, not that winding skinny high mountain trail that heads up to where the air is rare. Those trails are for goats, yes… but I’m talking about the trail that *gets* your goat. You know, the one that forces you to push beyond some mental or physical barrier or subject you to the dreaded walk of shame. Or worse.
There’s this short loop near StG that has provided more than enough challenge since first putting tread to it. LW was telling me about a trail that was smooth and buff so I had to check it out. When I got there…geez I thought, this is no place like home. Smooth in spots, sure – for 20 feet. Other than that, plenty of rocky terrain and a few spots that required some scouting to find rideable lines (well for me anyway).
I’m not a great technical rider. Too much time with a NORBA license and not enough time with an EPIC license. I’m working on it…and add to that the hesitancy that comes from not being able to clip out on demand cause of the July injury, and well I’m a trainwreck when it gets tech these days. I’m far from Ed’s consumate bike handling abilities…
This trail has been my benchmark for a few months now, and it has had a strangehold on my goat for the duration. Sept: spd crash (which I’ve begun to call “tipovers”, an important semantic difference), left side a mess and a quarter sized hematoma – volcanic rock is sharp. Then the next round: right in the same spot I get a flat. Rythm gone, walking ensues. And so it went. I hadn’t cleaned this trail yet as of 2 days ago.
Then comes the magic. Yesterday, for the first time since July 6, I clipped out intinctively, unplanned, with that left foot. Pain free. Unfettered. Confidence soars. With 3.5 hours and 5k’ already done, I hit that goat trail up for a rematch. Just as we got to “the spot”, LWs chain comes off both the front and rear rings. What is it with this trail? Well, I just said I had a score to settle and kept on going. Maybe it was the confidence of a working foot, the 3.5 hour warmup, the damp ground…but the trail seemed *easy*. Those tech pitches just cruised under my wheels like butter. There was hooting like those folks I used to guide down rivers in another life…embarrasing but no regrets :)
Yesterday’s goat trail becomes today’s best friend, just like that, and on the 32.17 no less.
Wanna ride it? It’ll be on the menu at camp Lynda, only I don’t think she’s gonna make you do that forever Blakes climb beforehand. But I gotta warn you: this trail is a lot like chocolate chip cookies. one is never enough.