Sunday morning I was ribbed into getting up at 830am to go mountain biking up at St Edwards park.
8:30. On a weekend. What. The. Hell.
Mountain biking is a thing I’ve slowly been embracing. I like it, it’s interesting, but I’m in such shitty shape and am generally afraid of profound bodily injury from doing it (IE: Chicken) so like so many of my other pursuits, it’s a love hate thing for me. I love the idea of it, I fear being damaged by it, I hate being out of shape to do it, but I love building and riding bikes.
That’s right. I said it. I love riding bikes.
Which is funny because in past months I’d sorta been rounding on this idea that maybe I didn’t, afterall, love it. I mean, I love the building of bikes; genuinely like wrenching and assembling them. From a puzzle solving perspective it hits on all the right cylinders. But when it comes to riding it seems like the reasons NOT to ride usually outweigh the reasons TO ride and, yielding to the math (or so I tell myself) my thin but excellent stable of bikes remain under used.
Thing is, life is what happens when you’re waiting for the perfect reason to ride your bike. Or: shut the fuck up and ride. Same thing.
I don’t know that I love mountain biking more than I love regular road riding, but I will say this. When road riding, over time it’s easy to become destination oriented. Where are we going? I hate that it’s sort of this cliche “journey vs the destination” kind of thing, but there’s some truth in it. When I’m mountain biking, I’m not going anywhere. These are trails. They fold in on themselves. There is no destination. You better like what you’re doing because the only destination is back at the car – which isn’t any better than it was when you left it. When riding trails I’m not thinking about where I’m going, I’m wondering if I’m going to eat shit trying to clear those fucking roots in front of me – I’m wondering what will happen to me if I drop down “the elevator shaft” on my rigid 29er – I’m wondering how to get through that mud pit in front of me, or where all my fucking oxygen is. The only destination I’m concerned with is the one on the other side of “that thing” front of me (whatever it is).
To be honest, my personal survival is not one of my favorite topics to occupy myself with, but this kind of riding neccesitates a certain amount of attention to the technicalities of survival. The thing is – the more I do this, the more I’m finding these moments when I stop looking 2 feet in front of my bike for the next rut or pothole or root or rock to kill me – I’m now looking 6 or 8 or 10 feet in front of my bike. I’m going faster. I’m slowly finding these moments of flow where I can let go a little bit and just ride the rail a little bit. When I hit these little moments, it’s fucking great. I’m a better cyclist when I’m in this place, and I’m having more fun. This is the thing I’m chasing – this feeling. But there is all this other crap in the way to get through first.
Anyhow, I see more mountain biking and trail riding on the horizon. I’m pretty excited. More rides, and less destinations.
Maybe I’ll remember to take a few pictures next time too.