It was odd, for me, to be in the lead on a mountain bike ride. Even in my early 30s, I had noticed that the kids I rode with were more fearless than I. And no matter what my level of fitness, those teenagers, who mostly worked at the shop, were all faster on the climbs.
But, this particular day, I was in the lead. We had driven to the South Platte Town-site, crossed the river on the footbridge, and hit the Colorado Trail. We climbed up the steep, off-camber trail which was covered in weathered granite like small ball-bearings which rolled under our tires and made staying upright difficult. For some reason, I passed the two younger guys with whom I was riding, and stayed in the lead.
Once we reached a level area, the trail turned fast, curvy and flowy. We boomed along at a fast pace, always over 15mph when I looked at my speedometer. And, again, neither of the other two could catch and pass me.
So it was that I was in the lead when we topped a small rise and I saw that the trail took a 90 degree turn to the right. Not only that, but there was a boulder about the size of a lawn chair on the outside of the turn, right where i was going to leave the trail, since I was totally unprepared for the turn.
I was riding a brand-new bike, built up on the first Specialized S-Works Full Suspension frame to come to America from Japan. I really didn't feel like snapping the fork off of the bike, so I made a desperation move and hit the Ejector Seat button.
Just before I was going to impact the boulder, I grabbed a big handful of the front brake, and leaped forward from the seat, as if I was trying to vault over the bars. But, instead of letting go of the bars to leap, I held onto them and rotated the bike forward in an epic endo.
The upward and forward shift of my mass pivoted the bike upward over the front wheel and into the air. I turned a 3/4 summersault over the boulder, and landed in the weeds beyond it, flat on my back. My shoes unclipped from the pedals, and I involuntarily let go of the bars. The bike launched into the air and bounced away.
When it was all over, I was dirty but uninjured, and the bike was undamaged. The two guys behind me saw the whole thing, which warned them to slow down and stop before they came to the bend in the trail.
I couldn't believe it actually worked. But, like I said, I was having an oddly proficient day on the bike...