Just who is this "WestyLivin" character, anyway? Keith Lay had the courage to make his dreams turn into reality six years ago when he and his family migrated from Kansas City to Grand Junction, CO where he renewed his love for the sport of mountain biking. Was leaving a career as a Traffic Safety Research Engineer to head out west and discover new places a good move? Check out Keith's blog and decide for yourself. In the meantime, we can all relate to stories of redemption like this one:
What drives us to try new things? Personally, I think I just want to have some progress in life to feel like I’m moving forward. I feel lucky to have progressed more on the bike in the last couple of years than any time before; and especially lucky that this progression has come while in my early forties. Progress doesn’t come without a price, though. In mountain biking, the price usually isn’t huge, but the sprains, bruises, and occasional broken bones do tend to add up.
Horse Thief Bench entrance is one of those sections of trail that seems to be a measuring stick; either you’re a rider than can roll it or you’re not. The entrance was created by blasting off a section of the rim to create an access for legitimate ranchers to reach the grasslands on the Bench. Years of erosion has left the entrance a jumbled, ledgey, rock field path that doesn’t quite resemble a trail.
The Horse Thief Bench trail is probably the most popular trail in the Fruita area. The Bench entrance is required travel both down and up to reach the trail so you don’t have to go out of your way to get familiar with it. During the peak season there is usually quite an “audience” assembled. It’s not impossibly hard and only for the Ross Schnell’s of the world, but it’s definitely not for the average rider, either. Each individual move isn’t extremely intimidating, but there is something about the combination of it all that makes it much greater than its parts.
My first try didn’t go that well:
I think my biggest mistake was that I rode past the line I wanted to be on then tried to get back to it. I managed to avoid any major injury, but it did aggravate an existing rib injury and gave me a blow to the shin to let me know I had a price to pay for my mistake. For over two years I put it out of my head, which wasn’t that easy having to often walk up and down it and occasionally watching a few of the better riders in town (my riding buddies) ride down it. I told myself I needed to get better. I wanted to wait until it looked easy; then, and only then, would I give it another go. Well, the two plus years went by and I was figuring out it was never was never going to look easy. Then one day this past week, one of those friends posted a video of him riding down it slower than normal, making it seem more doable to me. It all seemed to come rushing over me. It kept me up that night; I dreamt about it. It was all I could think about the next morning at work, so on my lunch hour, I grabbed my camera and my Remedy and I went for it:
Overcoming a past failure feels twice as nice (and is three times as hard to do).