Posted by: bikenfool | March 24, 2009

From The Minds Eye

Why I Do It…
The smell of the air is crisp, clean. The sun is higher on the horizon than it’s been in along time, driving swords of light deeper into the the thick forest than usual. You place your foot on the pedal an push, a click happens. Your other foot follows, pushing firmly into the other pedal, then another click. Like some kind of Pagan ritual, you are now one with your bike. Connected to it, the bike becomes an extension of your body. Body and bike, bike and body (yeh, twisted, I know)…    

Sun...

Sun...

Your legs begin to pedal, pushing down, pulling up, faster and faster. Your eyes do their best to look down the trail, struggling to plot a line and keep pace with your ever increasing momentum. One wrong move, one inch of misjudgement could mean the difference between a good ride and a trip to the ER. The trail is twisty, rolling up and down, trees line both sides. The surface is compacted but like the face of an old sailor,  has lots of texture, features, bumps and groves. Your heart rate is up, you can feel the blood moving through your body now, feeding your muscles the precious oxygen they need to keep you moving.

Heart Beat...

Heart Beat...

Then in front of you, the trail changes, the grade turns steep. You focus intently on the change in surface as you make split second decisions. You’re in major muli-tasking mode deciding about your line, pedal position, body position and energy reserves during the seconds that follow. For ever action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You need to keep the perfect line as the wrong line will surely mean disaster. Place your pedal stroke straight down over a rock and suffer the consequences. Lean too far forward and loose traction, too far back and run the risk of flipping over. Expend too much energy too quickly and go out in a ball of flames as lactate acid burns up your quads. Your heart is pounding like tribal drums. Your breathing is deep as the Grand Canyon when the silence is pierced by an annoying sound. The sound is that of your heart rate monitor’s alarm, mocking your endurance. Laughing at you as your heart is beating out of your chest.

Step-away-from-the-light...

Step-away-from-the-light...

Just as you think you can’t take any more, you see a bright light. Its warm glow comforts you, beckons you even to a place of solace. Just as you’re about to see a long departed family member, you realize you have hit the top of the hill. Life is good now, great even, as the pace just changed. The ground elevation pitches steeply away from you. Sweat pours down your face, running like the mighty Mississippi through the country side. No time to catch you breath as your focus changes. Your shifting gears quickly, repositioning your body off the seat and over the rear tire while making sure you have a finger on each brake lever.

wooho...

wooho...

 Gravity does it thing, pulling, tugging you down. Your speed is increasing exponentially but your eyes dare not leave the trail ahead as things are happening fast. Adrenaline kicks in as you narrowly avoid a rock the size of a basketball. The trail curves right and you grab a hand full of breaks as g-forces pull your now watering eyes back in your head. Releasing the breaks and pedaling hard your speed increases again, focusing only down the trail the scenery is blurred. A small rock ledge appears in front of you as you push down on the bike to load the suspension. Clearing the ledge you feel light, like a helium balloon. Once again the silence is shattered  by the clank of the chain on the stay, while a small cloud of dust kicks up from the tires reconnecting with the ground. Your heart is still pounding, how much more could it take?

Into the sunset...

Into the sunset...

But there is no time for thinking about anything but the ride, you are completely focused and in the moment. Man and machine are one, your surroundings are blurred into a kaleidoscope of colors. You feel every muscle in your body, how small your lungs really are  and how deep the rabbit hole really goes as you find energy reserves you never new you had.

You’re a Mountain Biker and  there’s nothing better in the world!

As you stop to catch your breath, a bead of sweat drips down your nose to your lips, “salty” you think….

Days End...

Days End...

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