Emily Zinn explains exactly why riding with team mates is much more than just fun.
The three girls ahead of me rolled the drop effortlessly, so I figured it was the sort of feature that looked like more than it was. I sat back deep and looked ahead and rolled through it, but more of a jolt reverberated through my hardtail than I would prefer.
Around the next corner my teammates had stopped to scope the next feature and as I rolled up to it I heard the screech of carbon, metal and plastic helmet outer hitting slickrock behind me.
My teammate stood up from her crash with a smile and swung her leg over her bike, getting ready to keep rolling, when she discovered her rear brake hanging limply from its cable, no longer attached to her bars. One of the lenses had popped out of her sunglasses and she was bleeding from her head right next to her eye.
“Oh man, I broke my bike,” she said. “That’s okay, I will ziptie it out of the way and keep riding,” stated the ever-positive pain psychologist.
After much polite argument, another teammate and I insisted in walking her back to the car. We soft-pedaled on the flats.
“I don’t want to be that guy that ruins everyone’s ride with my crash,” she insisted.
“You know what, next time I promise, I’ll be that guy. And you better remember all I’m doing for you now when that day comes!” I joked.
She turned to me and smiled and rolled her eyes, steering off trail and falling into a prickly bush. In an instant, a flood of emotion and pain overcame her, and her positivity evaporated. She was a tangle of cleats, frame, prickers, blood, broken bike and broken spirit.
My other teammate worked on untangling her while I lifted her up and asked, “how many hipsters does it take to screw in a lightbulb?”
“What? Oh, how many?”
“Some really obscure number you wouldn’t have heard of.”
And like that she was back to her old self. We told raunchy jokes while pushing, pulling and dragging our bikes all the way back to the trailhead.
“Thank you guys,” she said when we got back to the car. “You really didn’t have to do that.”
“We know. But if that isn’t what teammates are for, what is?”