So I reached a stage in my mountain biking hobby which totally scared me (it was bound to happen) but I’m glad it did. P.S. Excuse the picture quality – they were taken on a phone.
I took my friend up to Degla for his birthday, it was a little icy when we left and Llandegla’s website said there had been a few diversions due to weather. When we got there, the snow was heavy and the ice dangerous in parts. Still, I’m pretty used to the blue trail and have done it in those conditions before so I wasn’t put off too much.
Unfortunately, we got to a point in the blue trail where it was blocked off (which wasn’t stated on the website) due to some trees falling over and blocking the path. As I’m not too familiar with Degla’s old routes, I managed to find old blue (just) but somehow we wandered off the path and found ourselves venturing near the walking path and the black (expert) route.
We found ourselves biking down a really steep hill only to find it was a dead end and with no signs we had to walk up it (taking us about 50 minutes). In the ice, that’s pure hell. We finally bumped into some people who told us that the only way to get back on to blue was to follow red.
Now red and I have been teasing each other for a while. I’ve wanted to attempt it but I’m at the stage where the bike still controls me, not the other way around so I was planning on giving it a few more months before I went on it.
This time, I was practically forced into it because there’s only one way around Degla and that’s forward.
To begin with, technically it was OK and fun! And I thought I had it until I had my first accident due to not getting enough momentum and rolling back wards causing my bike to fall on top of me and hitting my head on a stone. I just shocked myself more than anything and had to sit and relax for a while.
As I got deeper in to red, the dread was apparent. It wasn’t the steep hills that worried me, it was the fact that if I lost balance, I probably would have fell about 100ft and this is what I nearly did. I found myself frozen (no pun intended) at the top of a steep hill, so steep I couldn’t see the middle nor the bottom. It was thick with ice and my breaks weren’t working probably. After giving myself a good talking to and ignoring my inner cry’s I went for it! So much so, that my tyre slipped on the ice and sent me hurdling into the direction of the 100ft only to be cushioned face first into a tree – thankfully my arm stopped my neck being taken clean off and I ended up with the my poor battered bike entangled around me.
That was enough to completely spook me! I know they say you’re only a mountain biker after you’ve had a crash but it all got a bit too much for me. With a sore neck, headache and dodgy leg, I laughed it off and tried not to complain! I was faced with ever more steep hills which was impossible to walk down due it being like an ice skating ring, so I threw my bike down them and slid down on my very sore bottom!
Red felt like it went on forever – spiralling continuously up and up until it got so high my ears popped. Walking up certain parts were a nightmare and I had to pull on my bikes’ breaks and use the drag to pull myself up. Just when I was about to lose all hope, I spotted the reservoir where the blue trail meets up with red – I’ve never been so happy in my life.
To be honest, I love pushing myself but not so much that I injure myself. If it hadn’t been for my friend telling me to get back on my bike, I don’t think I would have got on at all.
I started off using mountain biking as a way of getting over my public speaking phobia. Since I have an event coming up in the next few weeks, I am really glad of my experience this time at Degla (even with a chipped pelvis) because when I’m standing up in front of all of those faces – it won’t scare me like Degla’s red did!
On a side note, when I got back to the starting point I informed the staff that there needs to be more diversion signs for those who are not too familiar with the routes – hopefully they take that on board.
I’m off again next week but to do blue this time! You may be be wandering why an earth I’m doing all of this but I’m in training – fancy helping me out?