I love origin stories. In light of the superhero craze in Hollywood we love to learn about how each and every comic book hero came into being. For Spiderman it was a bite from a genetically modified spider, for Iron Man it began with attempting to stop shrapnel from reaching his heart, for Peter Quill we learned of his origins on Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2, and the list goes on. We're intrigued and mesmerized by how they got their start.
The same is true with mountain biking. We all have our origin stories. Some are almost sudden and spectacular ... a eureka! moment while for many others riding bikes was simply part of growing up and there was never a time where you were not out shredding.
For me it was a season-ending knee injury while playing small-college basketball. Landing awkwardly from an off-balanced jump shot my knee buckled. I heard the pop. I was there lying on the court sobbing and writhing in pain.
I blew out my ACL and MCL and did significant cartilage damage. The doctor mentioned that later on I'd have lingering knee issues. After spending the rest of the school year in physical therapy I knew I needed to do something to stay active that wasn't going to be the constant pounding of running. That's when I picked up my first mountain bike ... a $200 Diamondback.
Mind you this was the Midwest in the early 90s and while since then there have been an explosion of new bike parks and trails being built there was nothing of the sort then. With my fully rigid low-end mountain bike and clipless pedals I began heading out anywhere within proximity of the city. Soon I was hooked and I never went back to playing basketball other than on my own recreationally. Still then a few years later I tore up my knee again playing pick-up basketball which only solidified that I needed to stick to the bike.
While like most my childhood consisted of hucking myself off sketchy homemade jumps on a BMX bike my love for biking didn't really set in until my early 20s. A late bloomer I suppose. While my origin story doesn't come close to that of Spiderman, Wolverine, or Batman it's my own. The good news is that like you my story and journey continues on. New bikes, new adventures, progressing, and the like.
To this day I still have lingering knee issues. Stiff, sore, and when the barometric pressure changes my knee lets me know. However, I wouldn't trade my knee injury for anything. I'm 100% sure I wouldn't have buckled down in university and get serious about academics (what else was I supposed to be in between class and physical therapy?) and I'm pretty confident I wouldn't be in love with the culture and lifestyle of mountain biking.
What's your origin story?
Words by Sean Benesh, Loam Coffee Founder and Brand Manager. Photos by Mike Cartier.