Saturday, July 11, 2015

Saddle Up, Pedal Down

I have only been on a horse once in my entire life, and have never ridden a mountain bike (my bike is a pastel beach cruiser!), so when my friend's mom told us about riding horses through the mountains and then riding a mountain bike down Pikes Peak Mountain I was a bit skeptical. I think terrified might be a better adjective honestly. When we got to the meet-up location the tour guide even seemed worried that I had never ridden a mountain bike before, and quickly sent me to practice riding one around the parking lot. It was a cold and rainy morning, which made me even more scared to bike down the second tallest mountain in Colorado, but I was hopeful that the weather would get better.

We rode in a riggidy van up to the Stables at the Broadmoor. The path up the mountain was terrifying, as our driver seemed like he was right on the edge and the wind didn't make things much better. But luckily we all made it to the stables in one piece, where I was very anxious to get out of that van. We each got paired with our own horses, I got hooked up with a brown, friendly horse named Reba. The stables were run by some very nice people, and our tour guide was dressed in a cowboy getup, which I didn't know if he did ironically or because he really dressed like that. Either way, he was a funny old man who led us through the in and outs of Pikes National Forest on our horses, telling us stories about the mountains and the stables. It was a great ride not only because of the views but going through the mountains on the horses made it a one-of-a-kind experience. It gave me a whole new perspective of the mountains and the forest, one that I couldn't have gotten had I just been in a car on the main road.

After an hour walk with the horses the sun had come out and we returned to the stables where our guide picked us up in his van and took us to the drop-off location a couple more miles up the mountain. The ride down turned out to be a whirlwind of fun with great views and awesome scenery all around us. I was nervous that the path was going to be on the very edge of the mountain with only one foot of space for our bikes, but it was actually a very wide gravel road with rocks and trees separating it from the edge. I quickly got used to the bike and we ended up flying down the mountain, stopping every once in a while to take pictures and really take in the views. The whole experience was very rewarding and taught me that fear is not an excuse to not do something. In the end, it turned out to be one of the coolest things I've ever done and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

View from the top of the drop-off location

Biking through this tunnel was terrifying!

A beautiful waterfall along our route

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