Before we left for New Hampshire, Ellie told me she wanted to bring her bike to learn how to mountain bike. Between my back and many other distractions, we didn’t get out until the last day. About 1.5 miles from my Dad’s place is a short, but fairly technical little trail that cuts through from the road to the back of the local high school. It climbs quickly away from the road crossing loose scree, roots and larger rocks jutting up through the soil. I wasn’t sure how she would handle it. I remember being nervous descending it a few years ago right after I took up mountain biking.
Ellie immediately dismounted and walked the bike through the first intimidating little section off the road. I rode my cross bike up to a more level, smoother point and stopped as she came up to me. I had her shift to her lowest gear and explained how to start and spin up the climb. She tried three times and couldn’t get rolling. I said try one more time and walk up if you can’t. And she nailed it. Not only did she nail it, but she spun about 100 meters, climbing up the trail until it got to a steep little rock face that intimidated her too much. She walked the bike around that and climbed the rest of the way. I was so dang proud and she was beaming.
We rode around the high school and went back into the trail. Now it was time to try descending. We stopped and I talked to her about keeping her weight back and riding the brakes if necessary. I also told her to follow my line. I was a little afraid she’d lose control and crash, but she did great. We weren’t bombing the trail by any means, but she descended a fairly technical trail, stopping only a couple of times.
I wish we’d had more time to work on it. She seemed real happy to have done so well.