We unpacked the Element at the trail, greeted everyone, and then proceeded to enter the trail. I was 3rd in a line of 5 riders. Immediately I was not happy. I was slow to find my groove and slowed down to a snails pace through some of the tight turns, especially the right turns. I can be very unpredictable and didn't like the pressure of possibly impacting the ride of those behind me. At our first stop ~3 miles in, I told Crazy Mark and Claudia to ride in front of me a let me bring up the rear. Now I would be able to relax and ride my own pace and not worry about what was behind me.
As a group we made it through the first loop without any problems. Crazy Mark stopped after the first loop and bid us farewell. We grabbed fresh bottles and headed back in for a 2nd loop. Wingman led the way with Claudia, Teresa and then me bringing up the rear. I was almost enjoying the ride. I kept my own pace in the back and could take my time around the turns.
At the halfway point, we stopped for a moment for a breather, then off again. The only near-mishap was when Teresa's back wheel almost slid out from underneath her. I watched it happen in slow motion and she managed to stay upright by grabbing a tree. So there she was, stopped with her arms wrapped around a tree. I immediately said "Wow, Teresa, I never knew you were a tree hugger."
After we finished the second loop and stood at the cars, I was proud of the fact that I didn't
Blue lines represent the trail we rode