Aliso Viejo, California: Bouldering at Pirates Cove and Mountain Biking Epic Fail!

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This post has some blood in it. You've been warned.

I got to spend a beautiful weekend in Aliso Viejo, California with Michael bouldering at Pirates Cove and doing a bit of mountain biking... or err.. rather, mountain biking crashing.

But first I got to meet some of Michael's family + cute turtles! This is only extremely important because I think turtles are the cutest things on planet earth besides my puppy love, Lincoln. I got to feed and hold these tiny dinosaur creatures, and now I want my own. My own personal land before time animals.

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... my god... so cute.

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We drove up to Aliso Viejo on Saturday, ate with more of Michael's family, and then came here... Corona Del Mar Beach to find a beach side bouldering area called Pirates Cove.

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We sort of came at the exact wrong time of the day. The tide was quickly moving into the climbing area about the time we arrived, so we were only able to do a few climbs. Also, this beach was freaking packed with beach bummers! Hoards and hoards of families... and the climbing was all sandy. The holds had to be meticulously brushed off before even being attempted.

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But now that I've mentioned all the negatives... the place was nice and accessible. I mean, the reason we came here was because it was so close to where we would be staying and convenient that we didn't have to pack any gear. The climbs were cool... and would be excellent if they weren't so sandy. Not extremely worth listing out all the climbs we attempted, but there were a few cool ones to note: Not Even V2 and a variation of Pin Scar that we thought might be more like V1 that were both pretty fun attempts. Either the high tide or the immense amounts of sand kept me from being stoked on finishing these climbs though. Other than that, I did a couple more V0's and watched Michael on some of the climbs.

Here he is on Onion Man which is supposedly a V0, but it seemed harder than a V0 to me.

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I don't mind being a spectator... and neither do these two kids sitting under where Michael was climbing... totally oblivious to the tide coming in and out carrying their sandals away in the ocean. Derp. Derp.

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The surrounding area was really cool, and has some fancy plant life.

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At first we made fun of people taking selfies... then we became those people. The sunset was too epic to pass up I suppose. :)

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We finished off the day with some frozen yogurt, some Italian food with Michael's family, and falling asleep to a movie. It was nice. I spend so many of my weekends camping somewhere and being dirty all weekend, it was nice to be able to come back to someplace clean for a change. (not that I mind camping though)

Sunday we planned to ride. I just bought a mountain bike and have been excited to get on it and try the damn thing out. Not being familiar with the area or the routes out there, we got on a bike trail called The Luge.

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Let me first say that Michael is a bad ass on the bike. I am not. To clarify... Michael= bad ass, Allison= not. My mother told me to stop trying to keep up with the boys because they do crazy stuff... but I just can't help myself. I'm chasing their bad-ass-ery, it's intoxicating. It's a blessing and curse that's followed me my whole life... having two older brothers and all.

It was our intention to do the 7 mile or so loop all the way back to the car. It got really hot though... really really hot. I became a big baby about it and asked to turn around so I wouldn't heat stroke. So we ended up turning around at some point and going back down the path we came up.

Enter epic bike crash.

Ok... I'm really new to mountain biking. I'm from Texas (this should explain everything), and the most biking I've done has been in the culdesac at my parents old house in Texas. I don't quite have all the downhill riding skills in check. I'm definitely a beginner. Despite my excellent coaching, I panicked. I started going really fast... much faster than I wanted to be going. I tensed up instead of relaxing my body in the ride and bumps. I came up onto a more technical river rock section and really started to freak out and pulled my breaks too hard. I proceeded to flip over my handlebars, bracing my body against the ground with my arms, and then banging my forehead on some rocks.

I didn't black out because I was apparently yelling the entire time. It's all kind of a blur, but the thing I remember the most was feeling like my arms were in so much screaming pain, and then i saw blood dripping all over my legs and I was worried I had just mutilated my face or something. Michael to the rescue. He came and cleaned me up, and helped get me less hysterical. Once I realized things were not so bad and that I wasn't a one-eyed monster or anything, I was able to get my shit together.

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I ended up only having a gash in my forehead, a few scrapes on my knees, and bruises on my hip and eye. Not to bad if you ask me. I was able to walk the rest of the trail back with Michael.

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Sorry, this is where it gets kind of gross. But it's my blog... so suck it up. Memories are memories, and this puppy needed stitches.

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Assessing the damage.

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At first it appeared the Urgent Care Center was skeptical that I hadn't been a victim of abuse or something... but nope, it was mountain biking. It was pretty funny though, all the stares I got. Poor Michael kept getting accusational stares from everyone. Quite entertaining.

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A few stitches later, and good as new! For the most part...

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I'm happy that I only had minor injuries from the crash, and I'm stoked to get back on the bike again once my wounds heal. I may however, invest in a full face helmet for downhill adventures. Its the one part of my body I'd prefer to keep less scarred up.

Despite the crash, stitches and all... I had another great weekend. I can't expect to do all the things I do and never get injured from time to time. All i can do is be as safe as I can be, try to have a good attitude when things go wrong, and work hard to get better and back out there. It's a big theme in the sports I partake in, but I must get better at not letting fear control me. An acknowledged fear is fine as long as you are still in control... and experience is the best key to gaining control.

Till next time mountain bike... till next time.

Cheers.