On our way back to the Terwilligar parking lot, we had one final short ridge to climb. We gathered at the top of the ridge and Al, our instructor pointed to the left toward a steep single track that he was going to take and suggested that the rest of our group go straight ahead and down a less steeply pitched track and we would meet up near the parking lot.
I watched Al and it looked pretty easy. One of our members went down as well and I thought if he could do it so could I. Perhaps being a little tired, my judgement was impaired. I knew the instant that I turned to my left and pointed my bike to the track that it was a bad idea. How is it that even when we know something is a bad idea that we do it anyway? I wasn't 5 feet down the track when my rear wheel raised up and I was thrown onto the trail. Immediately getting up, I tried to get on the bike but the steepness of the incline prevented me from getting on and preparing properly. Another meter (for those metrically inclined) and I was ass over teakettle and on my back staring up at the evening sky. After getting up again, it was difficult enough to walk the bike down the rest of the way down. Thankfully none of the group was paying the least attention so my pride wasn't too badly damaged.
Just yesterday, out of sheer stubborness, I decided to try the off - pavement trails in the river valley. Having obtained a map at River Valley Cycle, I chose to try the Canada Cup Trail some of which is under the High Level Bridge, on the south side of the river. There are parts of it especially west of the Walterdale Bridge that are a lot of fun and similar in difficulty to Terwilligar Park.
Then there are parts that are absolutely dangerous for someone of my experience. One false move and you would tumble through the woods and into the river. I got trapped by a staircase of tree roots after a short descent and managed somehow to bash the back of my right calf into my front chainring and tear a bunch of skin off in a rather interesting design. I walked the bike up onto the paved trail and thought to myself that this week's training at Terwilligar couldn't be any worse than this - and I vowed not to try anything that was going to send me flying over the handlebars or require stitches. I have to think about my trip to south central B.C. that starts on Thursday. A bicycle camping trip along the Kettle Valley Railway - something I look forward to every year.