With the kids having a few weeks on two wheels to practice and hone their skills it was time for the next step. Trail ride. We chose the Jem Trail because there's a very nice section of double track/ fire road that's pretty flat (considering it in the actual mountains) with a little loop of single track that's as non-technical as you can get out here. The kids loved it. I am positively giddy with delight. They took to it immediately, flying down declines, swooping over whoops, standing up and taking on ruts head on and powering up inclines. It was a ball. Both of them even crashed a couple of times. No tears, just dusted themselves off and on to the next section of trail. No whines, no crying, no complaints. Just good old fashioned fun in the dirt and a couple of band-aids.
Warning: the word awesome will be used extensively in this post.
The day was bright, hot and clear. As you can see here, The Boy jumped into the lead right out of the gate and stayed there the whole day. Angus spent most of the day running back and forth between the two groups. We guys were naturally way more awesome of course. "Hey, you guys coming or what?"
There was one climb that was just a bit beyond them and they ended up pushing. It was all good as Angus promptly went back to show them how it was done.
This is where you turn off the double track and pick up the single. It was also where we had the endos that I was afraid was going to screw up the entire day. Biker chicks are so awesome.
Aftermath of the endo. Ok, here's Lu and The Princess at the endo site. Here's what happened. If you look closely you can see there's a small drop off just behind the girls. It's probably 6 feet down, not too steep, then flattens out and goes into a great little berm. At the bottom of the drop there's some soft dirt. I explained how to traverse the obstacle and then demonstrated it. The Boy sailed through but The Princess hit the soft dirt and promptly went right over the handlebars. It wasn't serious, just a slightly skinned knee, though it was awesome (sorry, it just was). I freaked thinking this was going to be it. She'd walk back to the truck and never ride again. Nope. She made the pain face, checked herself out, then remounted and rode on. This pic was just after the crash. The Princess and Lu were still discussing the spectacular endo and how to get around the berm. Have I mentioned how cool biker chicks are?
Both of the girls decided that discretion was the better part of valor and walked the berm. Of course they did have the benefit of watching The Boy make the attempt. I did mention two endos? Well this was where The Boy ate it. He got about halfway through the berm but didn't have enough speed and augured in at the mid point. It wasn't so much an endo as a get off but it was pretty cool. The Boy is getting to the point where he truly appreciates a really spectacular crash. Even his own.
The end of a really great day. The kids are now certified mountain bikers. Next year we'll be upgrading from those cheap big box bikes to something much better with suspension and good hand brakes. At this age the first thing that flies out of their heads in a braking situation is the ability to actually brake. Good hand brakes will go a long way toward alleviating that. We ended the day with ice cream at the local DQ. Nothing tastes better than after ride soft serve with a side of good, clean dirt.
Since these pictures were taken I took The boy out to the trail for another run. He fell heavily twice but both times popped right back up, dusted himself off and took off again. He also made the berm. The Boy is really learning how to ride. The great thing is that both of them love to ride. They've made approximately a million laps of the circular driveway and are now riding to school, which they seem to think is awesomely awesome beans.
Hey, only a few more days before they have to go home to Florida. We need at least one more good Jem Trail ride. See you guys later. We're going for a ride.