I went out to Lebanon Hills with Pete Stopfer (Securian Financial Group) and his neighbor John McDevitt (Best Buy). We had an awesome time. Originally, I was not going to take my camera with because I thought it would be hard to keep up with these guys. However, I am glad that I did.
Pete, John, and I went cruising through the first section with no problem. This was probably the fasted I had ever taken the first part of the course. I usually get pretty tired on this part, but get a “second wind” after a few minutes. I am usually ready for almost anything after this intense warmup!
We stopped at the second intersection with the ski trails. You can see Pete cruising in below:
…and here comes John…
Here are a couple pictures of Pete Stopfer, racing around a corner…
And once again, John McDevitt is right behind. This was as we came to the intersection of the Intermediate and Difficult trails.
The only way a person can possibly take a picture like the one below is if they made it part way through the Difficult loop. If you ski/snowboard, think of this as a black diamond. We had to get some pictures since we made it this far.
We decided that we should avoid the Most difficult loop because John was already running low on water. We figured we could do the trail again, expert loop included, if we had time.
Here is a Securian Information Services picture. This was such an amazing trail. None of us had ever tried the Most Difficult section. So this was a major feat. This was the absolute most fun time I have ever had at Lebanon Hills.
The Most Difficult section came with a warning. The sign somehow reminded me of the Buffalo Goring warning signs in Yellowstone park. The fact that they put a sign up, just makes some people (mainly crazy people) want to continue down the dangerous trail. We would have except for the water shortage. Maybe next time.
Yes, I did say we skipped the Most Difficult section, but not all of it. Trail traffic was lighter today, so we were able to perfect our log jump to “professional” level.
We finished with our small part of the Most Difficult section, walked back, and continued on the Difficult trail. It eventually connected back to the main trail. If I hadn’t been going so fast on the new banked sections, I would have stopped and taken some pictures. If you have not been to Lebanon Hills since July, check out the improvements that MORC has made.
Last time I was at Lebanon Hills, I encountered a gigantic log jump. I made it up most of the pile, only to fall back and land on my cross bar coming down. This hurt a bit.
On this trip, I re-challenged the monster log pile, and it bit back pretty hard. My bike nearly cleared the top when I lost momentum and hit a bigger log. This caused me to fall backwards down the jump. Fearing a repeat of last time, I tried to come down at more of an angle. Instead of recovering gracefully, my bike tilted sideways and I fell of the edge. My metal bike pedals dug into one side of my leg, while rocks dug into the other.
John saw me wipe out and made sure I was ok. When Pete came around the corner, we analyzed the jump, and tried to figure out a way to beat it. Always ready for a challenge, John jumped on his bike and gave it a try. He protested at first since he might fall. Of course, there would always be the chance that he would succeed. I filmed, knowing that this would make for a good video either way.
While we were biking, we had a conversation about helmets. John and I had both never been fans of them before doing serious mountain biking. He traced his need for a helmet to the Minnesota River Bottoms trail. I said that I first realized a need for helmets at Lebanon. I remember that on my first ride, I found broken pieces of a helmet on the trail. I then knew that if I wanted to be a serious mountain biker, I would need one. My mom and my wife were also great at encouraging a helmet.
What happened next would help us all to see the importance of a helmet. John took a small jump that was by no means a tough one for him. His bike landed on the front tire, he bounced forward and landed on his face. He skidded across the ground pretty hard, scraping his legs, face, and arms.
The visor even snapped off John’s helmet. A later look at the helmet showed something more serious. His helmet actually cracked in several places. If he had not worn one, we may have made a special visit to the emergency room today.
After his fall, John said he felt Ok. His heart was beating a little faster, I can’t imagine why. When we finally finished the course, and rested in the parking lot, he said he was starting to hurt a little bit more.
My leg actually really started to hurt after leaving the park, but hopefully it will make a speedy recovery. I am up to date on my Tetanus shots, so that won’t be a factor. Fortunatly, I was able to clean my wounds with baby wipes when we got in the car.
Even though we had some pretty great battle scars, we were all pumped to do it again. Pete said he would like to get out this year yet. If the weather cooperates, I will be out there in a heart beat. That Most Difficult section is calling my name.
After leaving Lebanon Hills, Jessica, Abigail, and I headed to Walmart for some first aid stuff, then went to CiCi’s pizza buffet. It’s a great place to go if you are not on a diet. It comes to about eight dollars per person for all you can eat pizza (including deserts) and a pop.