11:00 am

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Today Lauren had gone on her Hobbiton tour, and therefore I had the entire day to do what I felt like doing. I packed my day pack, put on some quick dry clothes and walked down the road to the bike rental shop.
Arriving at approximately 11am I signed my waiver and rented a mountain bike for a half day. Since I had come in a little early she ended up giving me an extra hour on top of my four hour rental, which meant I had until 4pm to check out as many mountain bike trails as i could in the Redwood forest. The bike ride there didn't take long at all especially since there were bike paths pretty much the entire way to the cycling entrance of the park. When I got closer the trail ended and you could either follow the road the remainder of the way to the next turn off or take a side path taking you down by the river. I of course continued following the path and started to get comfortable with the brakes and skidding on corners to prep for the trails that would be in the park.
After taking a good look at the map posted at the entrance, I had chosen a grade 2 track marked as easy that looped in with the beginner level here and there. I started out with a lot of energy and excitement, pounding my knees hard pushing the pedals as fast as I could up the muddy incline. Starting off with a hill it made it easier to enjoy the ride down, but about half way through my first track I began to realize how long it actually had been since I was on a bike last. My legs felt like jelly and I was definitely working up a sweat. When the trail finically opened up a little I found a spot off to the side out of the way for a quick rest and a water break. I realized quickly that I didn't have enough water to keep me going for the whole day, but I knew there was a water fountain at the entrance of the park so instead after a few runs I refilled my bottle.
I switched here and there from grade 3 tracks to grade 2 as well as testing out the beginner level kids tracks. Out of all of the trails I think I enjoyed the grade 2 the best as it offered some steeper sections, a few ramps, some mud holes, and some flat sections. Overall it was the best well rounded track and suited my level of skill. The grade 3/ intermediate tracks were also fun, but much more technical and I found I had to ride quite a bit slower.
The more I rode the more familiar my body got with the motion of the bike on the turns and jumps and I eventually got rid of my stiffness.
I think in the end I ran the grade 3 track twice, the grade 2 track 6 times, and the beginner track twice as well as riding between the tracks and to the visitor centre. I even tried the terrain park once through on my way over, it was a thrill to dive down the hills and race up the mounds in order to gain some air. Along the road heading back to the side where the majority of the tracks were I found a side trail that followed it but instead ramped up and down following the clear cut section. For that section I was able to race through because I was able to see the turns coming ahead of time.
By this point it was coming on to 3pm so I pushed my tired legs one last time along the beginner track and I gave it all I had, pushing hard into those pedals, racing along the path, skidding with every turn and hitting every mud puddle at full speed covering myself in mud.
I excited the trail splattered in mud with a smile from ear to ear, feeling grateful for the opportunity to rip through the forest and be reunited with a bike.
I rode to the end of the tracks where I had originally entered the park and biked back to town to return the bike in time and clean up. Not only did I manage to cover myself in mud but I also covered the bike in mud too.

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