Rolling along Singletrack Trails on my mountain bike with rocks all around; I’m scanning here and there for that little special line that goes up and over instead of around or thorough. Maybe it’s a rock you can run up on and jump back into the trail or maybe it’s a rock garden that everyone must pass through; but there’s the worn in line that avoids the worst of it and the option that takes it right up the gut and challenges the worst of the terrain. Heck sometimes I’m just bored and looking for a way to make even a simple little step up into something cool. I mean after all; isn’t this why we ride, cause of the wonderful feel of moving through terrain in a precise manner with style and grace and even a little speed under full control. It’s what’s beautiful about it and to enhance that is, well, perfectly obvious to most of us.
There is off course a massive Life Metaphor nestled in this little ditty. Life all too often throws your into a “technical section” and sometimes just tries to injure you as it rises up at you and against you seemingly with every circumstance; throwing off your balance and tossing you against the rocks in an almost and almost orchestrated symphony of things just “not working out”. This too is the joy of Mountain Biking; getting through it builds your skills and invigorates your soul and brings you to a place where you realize that these trials not only made you a better person by far more empathetic to the world around you. It’s worth trying the hard line and I love what it does for the character of my person; even though in the life metaphor, you certainly don’t always, or even often, choose it. It comes at you regularly enough and when it does, where your helmet.
What makes for the most asinine way of dealing with Technical challenges on the bike is the person who thinks that they have rights to re-invent the trail to make it fit within their simple view of what is ride able and what “should” be the line. They make the “ride around” and wreck Singletracks all over the world. Funny how instead of aspiring to the revealed skills and the inner growth that comes from a challenge; some would say “this is as good as I will ever be on a bike, as good as anyone should be on a bike and trails should be designed and built with me and me only in mind” Wow; I cant hang with people who view LIFE or Singletrack in such a simple and narrow view.
I recently have had an experience with the ride around mentality that really touched me and changed my view of some things forever. I have been facing some pretty big personal challenges and some lost lives around me and the end of some really long term relationships in my life with people that I have and will always love dearly. Sometimes life is like this; your rolling along and enjoying a beautiful day in a wonderful place and all the sudden you are at Mach 3 into the gnarliest Gnar that life (or trails) have to offer. What has impressed me through my recent experience is; that no matter how much I love Singletrack, in this life example, I was tempted to ride around. It was tempting to adopt anger or bitterness as the way to deal with some real inner struggles. It was the temptation to “blame” or to “hate” another as a way to smooth out the huge rocks that plagued me revisiting these thoughts within myself. There seemed to be all the common suggestions and the advice from most people; “don’t abuse yourself” – “ride around”. But I find great comfort in this parallel and greater understanding of myself in the fact that I do not want the ride around, I don’t want the escape; I will take the direct line and I will face the fears and the tears and walk through this experience with my eyes looking ahead and I will know myself better and I will know life even more deeply than I have already. I know its easier to ignore and it’s a quick heal to embrace bitterness and hatred. I know that it makes a broken friendship easier to gather with those who will join you in talking about what a schmuck the other person is and why it is; of course, NOT YOUR FAULT! I don’t want those escapes and I’m happy to risk falling down and getting hurt, Truth is; it will hurt and it will hurt even more by taking this rough track. But it’s the truth and its real and there is no reason why I would discount the value of my life by denying any part of it.
So it’s a good lesson and a great parallel. I’m feeling a little… OK; A LOT right now. There’s definitely an easier line; but I think I get this and when its done, I’m going to be proud and I’m going to feel right in myself and I might even save a 20 year friendship out of the deal. It’s worth the risk and it’s worth the effort and the pain. It’s a cool line… It’s a great Life… and I love the shit out of the people I have shared it with. Thank You
With the sincerest honesty, respect and Love
Thank You all for being a part of the ride, a joy to share it with and the best community of friends the world could ever imagine. Cheers