First, we headed out to Mortimer Woods near Ludlow for a bit of "follow your nose" riding. Riding up a deer track gave us challenging branch hopping climbs in a soft, quiet world of our own. Ducking branches and working against the slope, we eventually had to turn round for some real free riding. Just the suggestion of a flowing trail and no guarantees, it was great. And then the elbows came out. Throwing elbows is a bit of a Tuesday night ride habit with Adam and me, but it's also an occasional feature on rides with Emily. Except that with Emily it tends to involve more contact. So on a perfectly level trail, the shoving ensued and one missed elbow from her entangled our handlebars. The next thing I knew, I was on the ground and I'd hit my hip hard on the end of the bars. It took a few moments to figure out that everything was ok to move.
In the end, it was just a scratched hip and a dead leg but a bit of a shocker and lucky to be near the end of the ride. Unfortunately, the main carnage was reserved for later when a fast fire road conspired with an adverse camber and some cut logs to take out both Emily and her frame. Fortunately, she wasn't too hurt but the bike was, as you can see, terminal. Doh!
There aren't many worse feelings than hearing someone you care about wiping out in a painful sounding way behind you. Fortunately, she was ok and Merlin Cycles have been good about doing a crash replacement. When I was getting into riding the question wasn't whether or not I crashed on a ride, it was how many times. Exceeding your limits accelerates your learning, it just hurts sometimes.