This afternoon I got the opportunity to ride with Dan, one of the guys from the mtnbikeriders.com race team. First off let me say that Dan is a great guy and secondly that I was completely out of my league trying to keep up. We rode Five Oaks to the fire road then to a trail that I think was Mathis, but I was not paying attention as I climbed (pushed my bike, what I call climbing) to the top. At the top we made a left and headed over to a new trail called Mentally Sensitive. This new addition to Aliso and Woods is great, it is tight and twisty and has some really steep sections. The only problem is that it is still a little loose so there was lots of slipping and sliding through those tight turns. I managed to clear all the hard stuff and then ate crap on the last turn at the bottom. I set up with my weight back elbows wide, fully ready to make the turn at full speed when I accidentally squeezed my front brake which sent my body over the bars. Now I would give my form in the crash an 8 out of 10 and I was able to roll right to my feet and grab the bike and head down the last 100' of trail, all in full view of Dan who was waiting with his camera (did I mention that this is the first time I have ever rode with him). Besides mild embarrassment and a major realization that I need to get in better shape, this ride was one of the best I have had. Dan's fitness and overall ability forced me to step up my game, while I did not even come close to keeping up I definitely feel that this ride made me just a little better. Hopefully we can do it again.
Here is a picture that Dan got right after I crashed: