My Flying Squirrel and Riding Ethics

Jesse and I headed out to recently opened Rowher Flats for some post Christmas Day riding. We get there, and his bike won't start. Yawn.

Good news is, I have jumper cables, which means he has jumper cables, and he can jump start his bike from the truck. Oblivious to the fact that it'll take him 5 minutes, I'm picturing taking off the side panels, possibly the seat, to the get to the bike battery, which should take 10 minutes alone, assuming he has the tools. Armed with a faint memory of having jumped my bike, and it taking about an hour, (not including the phonecalls I had to make to ask how likely various steps of the process were to kill me) I decide to go on a warm up ride down the main road.

My girlfriend told me there are a set of small hilly bumps to ride along the main road, and I took the first turn off to the hilly things. They were a little more hilly than I anticipated or wanted to go through alone, so I stalled and paused at the bottom. A rider came from my right, and asked me if I was alright. I was, and I decided to head where he came from. (Lest I look like an uncoordinated sissy, turning my bike around in the middle of what looks like a well travelled intersection)

Figures that it was the only trail that didn't loop back to the main road, like I expected. It was a rocky single track, and while it wasn't above my skill level, I didn't want to ride it alone. It's no fun, sliding down a hill if no one is there to watch. There was no place for me to turn around, and the trail is a ledge of a sort. Eventually, it looked like it wash out after a steep downhill curve, and I decided it was time to really head back, plus, Jesse would look for me. He gets panicky like that.

In the midst of wrestling the bike, and devising ways of flipping it the other way that didn't involve a swift downhill slide, I saw Jesse, across the canyon. I waved. I was relieved. He saw me, knew where I was, and I didn't need to hurry. I sat down for a breather. My most recent attempt to lay the bike down and 'drag' it in a circle had failed. I watched as Jesse walked up and down the hillside. I figured he was on a trail and looking a way to get across, which would be crazy. Eventually, he would see the, let's call it, Ravine of Peril, and go get on the trail just like I did. Right?

Wrong. I start up the bike, and decide to run it uphill at the curve, and use the hillside at the 90' turn and my marginal clutch handling to turn it around. After a little while and an 'almost slide downhill' I succeeded. There was no end to how proud I was of my problem solving "in the wild" skills, and now I was ready to take the trail back to the main road to tell Jesse about it. Except, wait..

Jesse, apparently, had been furiously busy this entire time too. Not much for standing back and watching me be a genius survivor in the "wild", he decided I needed help. And what better way to help, than to show up in person. Taking the straightest route available - his line of sight, right across - you guessed it - the Ravine of Peril.

His bike (half dead, by the way) is at the bottom of the canyon, in a creek bed. He has hiked up to tell me this.

I am UNimpressed. I know, I hear the good voice saying, he is only doing this to help me, and he's sweet, and he's already frustrated, so I should be good, and calm, and sweet. But the bad voice tells the good voice to stuff it and kick rocks.

The bad voice is floored, and just can't imagine how someone would think it a good idea to go straight down a mountain side, (and then, presumably, come up), with a bike that may or may not be a 300lb pile of non moving bike parts. The bad voice wins.

I mean, really. If I AM to be hurt an in distress, how is he to help me if he's busy flinging himself all over mountain sides, throwing himself off cliff edges, and generally trying to find ways to lose body parts. Not to mention that it takes a long time to carry out all these adventures.

Sigh. His only (valid, in retrospect) argument was that, I was not on the main trail. Like I was supposed to be. But, are we REALLY going to talk about how I messed up, when HE is knee deep in cactus? At the bottom of.. the Ravine of Peril?! I didn't think so. Plus. At least I am ON a trail. Where, eventually, one would ride by and find me. Him? Not so much. You could set up a whole hobo house at the bottom of the Ravine, made out of bike parts and branches and nobody would know you're there.

His other argument is that I went and got myself lost "in ten thousand acres" of land. The 'ten thousand acres' bit is irrelevant, since he could see me clearly, when he started his flying squirrel descent. I win. Well, he probably lets me win, because, his bike is still stuck in a creek bed, and he wants company while getting it out.

Some huffing and puffing later, his bike is back on trail. He rides it up to my bike, and waits for me to hike up. I'm unimpressed still. I had no plans of ending up down here on a bike, and I certainly didn't want to hike it. I make it up, catch my breath, have a few dramatic sips from the Camelbak. We ride back. Halfway back, my bike just stops.

As I'm starting the bike over and over again, he's hanging back, in front of me. He's a perceptive man, and knows when to just leave me alone. Or, he thinks he knows. I would actually appreciate some manly input on why this is happening to me. I rock the bike back and forth, and don't hear the familiar swishing sound in the tank. Ahhhh.

Later at the truck, he tells me he found my bike on its side. My kickstand is too tall for the lowered bike, and to compensate I don't swing it out all the way. All the gas had leaked out. We didn't bring extra gas, since we had full tanks, and only wanted to do a couple hours of riding.

Afterwards, he took me on a 'tour' of the spot where he saw me (he's pointing to the trail), and where he thought it might be a good idea to get off the trail. (Note the drop off)

We spent 2-3 hours out there. Only may be did a mile worth of riding. Went through a tank of gas. But we came up with a new system. It was our first time riding alone, just the two of us, so, from now on - we don't leave without whistles.

-Long whistle if you're lost.
-Multiple short whistles to acknowledge the long whistle.
-One whistle: I'm fine, stay where you are, I'll get there
-Two whistles: I'm fine, the bike, for whatever reason, can't get going. Come help.
-Three whistles: Sh!t got real. Come get me.

I am excited to have a 'system'. I'm also excited that I'm with a man who will cross mountains, literally, to come make sure I'm ok. I will kick his narrow butt if ever he does it again, but I was reminded, once again, how completely smitten and lucky I am, to have my flying squirrel.

Did I mention we're engaged now? :D

1 comment:

  1. Look at that first picture. Looks almost flat. I maintain that it wasn't a terrible idea.. just a bad one. It really didn't look THAT bad. :D