I was supposed to do the Firewater 50 mtb ride/race on Saturday. Eddie and I got there at 9:30 for the 9am start...luckily no one had left yet. The group left around 9:40 and we were still hurrying to get our stuff ready. The saddle and pedals had to be changed out on my bike since Eddie had ridden it last at his race. Kathleen (VeloBella) was nice enough to wait...she said she was only planning on riding half the route, but then coming back via Windy Gap, the scary fun technical descent that used to be part of the route, and I had been wanting to ride. I rode off with her as we started what turned out to be about 2 hours of steep technical climbing...whoo! We stopped several times so I could catch my breath and so she could point out lines and re-try some stuff. On the way up I decided that I'd rather ride Windy Gap with Kathleen rather than continuing on to finish the entire Firewater 50. It would still be a good hard ride for me and I'd finally get to check out the trail. We met up with Eddie at the top and did a few miles of gravel road stuff (boo), and finally made it back to Windy Gap. What a blast!! It was certainly scary in places, but I love descending, and I love technical challenges. At one point, I asked Kathleen how much we had left and she said "not much, it opens up in a minute and then we're almost back." I thought to myself, wow, that was fun. It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, then immediately...BAM. I hit the dirt....and slid about 10 feet down on the steepest section of the trail that we'd ride that day...and right before the "Experienced Riders Only Beyond This Point" sign..ha! I laid there for what seemed like several minutes taking inventory of all my body parts, then bike parts. Turned out I was fine, just a little shaken. My rear wheel had come unattached from the bike..not sure if it had been loose to start with or if it all happened during the crash. That VeloBella kit is awesome, it didn't rip even though I ended up with some major trail rash under my shorts..eek! The rest of the ride was more downhill fun...and then back to the cars to meet up with the real Firewater finishers. Good times...up next for me is the unofficial 6-gap road century this coming weekend. Really, my season is over and I'm pretty much doing just whatever I feel like.