Marissa's First Trail Ride

Marissa had been counting down the days till her first trail ride for the last two weeks. I got a reminder every day. If she only knew that I had been counting down for this day to come for the last 6 years.

We rode the blue loop at Luton Park in Rockford. It is relatively flat, void of any technical obstacles. She was excited, maybe nervous when she saw all the cars in the lot this afternoon. I told her there were some rules and gave her the "courtesy breakdown" - as in if I yell at her to stop, that means pull over because there are others coming up on us on the trail. We had to use that a few times - overall she did very good listening.

We rode around once, then I asked her if she wanted to go again and the answer was "YES! how about right now?" So we did. Then she proceeded to tell me that I didn't need to give her directions any more, that she knew the way, and would let me know when she was confused.

She talked almost the whole way.

"Wow, there's a barn out here. I bet you knew that didn't you dad? You just didn't want to give away the surprise."

"Oh, there's a robin. Yup, that is a robin, it has a orange chest."

"Those are pretty flowers. Of course flowers live in the forest too, not just at people's houses."

"Woah, that was a big bump. Did you see that daddy?"

"Are we out of the forest yet? This looks like a field."

"HEY, I saw a monarch butterfly. That must be one of mine. Oh wait, except that mine were Painted Ladies." (she recently grew and released butterflies and expects them to be near her all the time, and to come back to visit the house.)

I had to keep interrupting with "Yes, honey, I know." "Yup, I see that, watch where you are going." "See that hill? Pedal! Pedal! Pedal! Go fast!"

As expected, there were a few tears. She got stung by a bee for the first time yesterday, so today when she was riding and a "bug" (maybe a fly) smacked her in the face, she slammed on the brakes and started freaking out and crying thinking it was a sting-crazy bee. It only took about 10 seconds for me to calm her down, assuring her it was not a bee, then away we went.

She was afraid to go down a few hills, so we walked. She couldn't quite make it up a few inclines and had to walk some more, did really well though on the rest. She excitedly said she would like to come back again this summer.

In the end, what a beautiful day. Full sun, not a cloud in the sky, 70 degrees and a daddy with his daughter on her first trail ride.

I will say, even though it was Mother's Day, it felt like Father's Day.

The purple 16" Trek Mystic with excited rider ready for action.

This was my view for our brief ride. Funny to see her legs going so fast.

You can't see them, but trust me, her lips are moving right now.

Quick photo op where Blue intersects Black.

Walking up the last incline. "Are your legs tired?"
"No, they're fine, but my arms hurt." HA HA

Only 4 or 5 more years till I can do this all over again with my son.
Let the countdown begin.

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