Friday, May 1, 2009

Still I ride through it

How many things happen in life? How many changes? How many layoffs, re-shuffles, scrambles for a new stream of green?

Yet, as I head out from Dunk Rock, I'm feeling good - the constant is this woods, these worn-out wonderful trails. So, now to the right and up the blue dot passage, over to that goat path, a ribbon of rocky, deep cut single track, the blue dot, tucked between green "hiker only" trails. Not worn-out the way the more popular trails have become, not even wide enough for one rider in many spots.

This run is draped along the cliffy ledge that faces north and overlooks a large valley of green streams and swamp, with several variations of that green hiker's trail. To ride the blue dot trail without much bike-hiking, but for a tree down, is approaching nirvana.

It requires concentration mixed with stamina and foresight. You need to know exactly when to shift and spin the pedals, and when to recover your breath in time for the next scramble. Not paying attention results in a dropped chain or lack of momentum to get up the next bank. Balance and foresite let you ride where others can barely walk.

It requires trust. You trust your tires to hold the bank as you traverse a stretch that's washed down the cliff. Your tires must hold fast on the uphill edge without letting go, until you can shift your balance back to center on the trail that is wide enough for the entire tread.

Then, as you begin your steep descent down the ridge toward the trail which resembles a road, you need to know when to let off of the brakes and lean back. How much to lean, and when to re-weight the front. It requires skill. Be ready to lift the front tire over slimy roots, so you don't washout or go over the bars. At other times you need to press the front wheel into the soft shifting sand to maintain traction, and let the rear end go where it may.

As your speed increases with the complexity of the run-off, you realize that few can do what you do here. The way you paint the trail with your tires finding lips and small rollers, moving without effort. Planning air, and improvising when you find yourself on a line that hasn't occured before...All with intensity and purpose. All in a relaxed manner (as if you've been riding this trail for 21 years). As with many pieces of the trails here, its also over too soon. A tease of "flow".

But so what? That's just the start of another great day. A day that leads across the wide green trail just past the stream and right onto orange past the caves and plankwalk, up the hill, and then back across all of Westwoods on the white dot trail.

But well begun is almost done... And goddamn it, Well done sure is fun-thanks blue dot trail!

Today was my best ride this year. I'm not the best rider, so I'll never get paid for it....

But I realize that this is my career.
Jobs come and go. They are only what happens between rides.

(wrote this about my first layoff ride last friday. thought it might be worth posting)