Unless you live in a place where your town or city is the trailhead then it usually means loading up your bike and driving somewhere to ride. Even then, for those of you with access to world-class trails right outside your front door sooner or later they can become a little stale and you hunger and thirst for new trails elsewhere.
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Currently I’m sitting in front of my computer (obviously). But what is significant about that statement is it comes on the heels of cleaning up, showering, and putting away my gear after a mountain bike ride in the rain. You know how it goes. Seemingly more time is spent cleaning, de-layering, and putting stuff away after the ride than actual time out on the trail. That’s part of life for many months of the year here in the Pacific Northwest.
Was it a good trip? Would I classify it as a good ride? What then is a good trip or ride? Are those even fair questions?
You’ve seen them. Perfectly edited photos of beautiful people exploring and adventuring outdoors. The sun perfectly peeks over the ridge and kisses the now illuminated figure who wistfully stares at the valley below. The flannel shirt is perfectly tied around the waste, trucker hat is on backwards, and the colors of the whole image look too good … too real to be real.
What is it that keeps us coming back into wilderness areas for more? We leave the supposed safety and comforts of our homes, our towns, our cities, and we plunge deep into the wild to pedal, explore, bikepack, or bomb down hills on shuttled runs. Why? Is it the insanity and sterility of living in the city that propels us outward? Is it boredom and the need to someway somehow put our lives ever so slightly in harm’s way? Whatever the reason, the wilderness calls.
Do we listen?
Someone once quipped that being in a rut is like a coffin with the ends kicked out. Meaning, we’re stuck and it becomes soul-sucking. A slow plodding march to the grave. It can happen to anyone. We get in a groove, a routine, and before we know it we succumb to living in the monotony and mundaneness of the ordinary. Even the extraordinary can become ordinary without variety. That’s why pro racers need an off-season to rest (momentarily) and pursue other things that light their fires. We can’t be “on” 24/7 otherwise we’ll find ourselves in this rut … and we’re enveloped. Swallowed alive. The worst kind of death.
Trends and fads are ever-changing. As soon as you seem to catch up they move right out from under you … with the ferocity of getting the rug pulled right out from under you. You land on the ground with a dull thud. Ouch. Sometimes these fads last but a few weeks. It was like a radiant comet shooting across the night time sky, but it vanished as quickly as it came. Some trends last a few years. You may have held out (and still do) of the whole skinny jeans thing. Finally after resisting for years you bought a pair of slim (not super skinny, mind you) pants from Old Navy, but all of a sudden you’re noting baggy is trickling back in.