Be Prepared, better safe than sorry

by Brian Mullin on September 10, 2009

I have been noticing that when I go out for a mountain bike ride, that if I decide not to take something, I will surely need it. I think that by saving a few ounces and some mild back discomfort that I can gain the upper hand by having a lighter pack. NOT!

I am always second guessing the weather to see if it might rain or storm, and instead of bringing my bulky rain jacket, I will bring my water resistant wind breaker. Not only that, I will go out when a storm is obviously brewing to tempt fate with the lightning. I have had more than enough close encounters of the lightning kind already in my biking and ski mountaineering adventures. I had lightning hit a tree not 50 feet away from me in Monument on a bike ride, and in fact, I had to go get the fire crew to come down from the Hot Shots center to put out the smoldering tree! I digress.

So the day I decide to leave my rain jacket in the truck I get stuck in a monstrous downpour, I mean it was coming down in torrents. Besides it raining cats and dogs, the wind kicked up, and it was raining sideways! I was huddled down in heavy trees with my wind breaker on, my pack on my head for coverage and hugging a tree for a rain and wind break. With the lightning blasting all around me, I was slowly getting wet, and I started to get mildly hypothermic, meaning I was cold and miserable. The rainstorm let up (not the lightning of course) and I slowly made my way back to the truck. The trails were totally drenched, with huge long puddles on the singletrack, and needless to say I had to walk the rock sections since it was very sketchy for riding and it all made for very slow going. I was very glad to get back to the truck! I met the family at a local restaurant and my wife had gotten me a nice cold ice tea to drink, I switched to a warm cup of coffee instead.

I almost always wear my elbow guards, since they are good brush guards and are hardly noticeable to wear. I left them in the truck, since I was going to be doing some milder trails that day. At the end of my ride I hit a hidden tree root and did an OTB (over the bars) swan dive, and I landed smack on my forearms. It pops into my head, gee those elbow guards would have been nice!

Today I leave my knee/shin guards in the truck, which is usual, since I think I only need them for really technical terrain. I ended up on some of that technical terrain, and I fall over really hard into a rock field. Ouch, I put a big knot right on the bone of my shin. I think to myself, wow those knee guards would have been nice.

Moral of the story, bring everything you will need, better to be over prepared and safe, than sorry.

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