Gathan Beaga

"Easy" ≠ "Beginner"

I’m typing this with one hand. (Please, no jokes.) After dinner my left wrist blew up and I think it might be sprained—it has a bag of frozen peas sitting on it now. And I’m wearing my sunglasses inside.

We’d decided to take the bikes and head into the Makara Peak Mountain Bike Park this afternoon. There were a couple routes marked as “Easy”, and while we weren’t sure exactly what that meant we thought we’d have a look.

Towpaths these are not…What we found was pretty cool. Even and easily graded tracks zig-zagging up the side of a hillside of re-generating bush. Birdsong. Friendly other bikers.

The four of us worked our way up the hill on the Koru trail, letting the girls set the (fairly slow) pace. They’d push up most of the slopes, Rosa gamely pushing her way as far as she could with her ungeared bike and Bella getting to grips with her new geared bike. There would be little down slopes from time to time, and both girls would ride down these, gaining confidence as they went. Every so often we’d all pull over and let other, faster riders past.

We stopped to watch some people getting lessons in how to do jumps and handle difficult terrain at the skills area before heading to the highest point on the Koru and crossing over onto the Lazy Fern, another “Easy” rated downhill run to the carpark.

By this time I was a little impatient with trailing along after the girls and volunteered to lead the way; and Bella followed closely behind me.

I rode down the track, not too quickly so as not to leave Bella behind, for some way. But then I opened it up a little, and picked up speed down a nice sloping part of the track with the hill to the left. I wasn’t paying enough attention to the track ahead as I swerved slightly to the right to dodge a branch. Just past the branch though the track narrowed slightly as it came to a part of the hill so steep they’d had to bridge it to get the track across it. I was a little too fast to correct or brake hard without losing it… and so I missed the approach and flew off the side.

Bella screamed out “Dad!” and skidded her bike to a halt up the track and ran down to see if I was ok. I was, mostly. The peak of my helmet had prevented a full face-plant but something hit my cheek, breaking my beloved glasses across the bridge. A sapling had broken my fall without me hitting the rocks too hard; and the bike seemed OK. I was just bleeding and bruised, and seeing the funny side.

I dusted myself off. My right pocket was full of dirt and leaf-mould. And at the bottom was a slug. We waited for Rebecca and Rosa to catch up.

Rebecca helped me get the bike back on the track and we moved on. Somewhat chastened, I let the Rebecca and Bella go ahead while Rosa volunteered to be my “eyes”. I pushed the bike very slowly down the hill behind her.

And so eventually we got home. Rebecca has glued my glasses back together for me temporarily but until the glue cures I’m wearing my prescription sunnies.

The sad results

Tomorrow, assuming my wrist isn’t completely screwed we’ll be glasses shopping.

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