I throw a leg over the top tube and click into my pedals and something magical happens. Not sure what it is, how it happens or why exactly, but the rush of blood, joy and giggle filled wonder hits me like an avalanche. Kinda like falling in love…..
Thing is it happens so often, not quite every time, but damn close to every time I ride my bike. Have to say that there are those interval days, the long road rides that wear me down, make me see colors, make me wonder why I do it. The rides that leave me wondering why at 41 I still have dreams of being fast, of chasing records, of even bothering to train anymore. Even those thoughts only last so long, the movement of legs, the travel across distances, the change of sight sound smell, the merging of a myriad of ideas, dreams and visions brings the loop full circle, leaving me tired happy satisfied.
Much like feeling that wonderfully weird special contact with another person. Your heart beats harder, your defenses soften up and an undeniable smile strike across your face. Pure optimistic joy, there is no tomorrow, no what if, only now. For the now is that good.
Rail the corners, hit that hip, climb the rock, smile that smile. Tomorrow will be what it will be, worry will change not a thing. Throw the leg over and go for a ride, there is nothing wrong with feeling the love…..
I know the feeling. While being fast is just a nice dream at my age (54), and while having no desire to chase any records, I do love getting on my bike and seeing where the trail takes me. I love still feeling strong enough to get up the hills on my singlespeed, executing some corners well, and even performing an occasional manual. Mountain biking allows me to get away from it all ~ even if it is only for an hour. It takes me away from civilization, puts me in touch with creation, and it allows me to cover enough ground to give me the feeling that I went somewhere.
If you don’t mind me changing the subject, I had a few questions about your bike, I believe you’re on an Ibis Tranny? How do you like it compared to aluminum frames? I’ve been very curious about carbon fiber frames, but I’m scared to death of investing in one. I’m under the impression that simple things like nicks and scratches can compromise their strength, and that UV rays are damaging to them as well. Being that I ride in the rocky deserts of Arizona, the potential for damage from both rocks and our eternal sunshine is very high. Is this really a concern, or do I just have a load of bad information?
I also noticed that your bike looked like it had a carbon fork on it during the Tour Divide, but this recent photo you posted now shows it sporting a suspension fork. What kind of carbon fork did you have on it, and is there a reason why you didn’t use a suspension fork during the TD?
Riding my bike is often the most peaceful moments of my life, wish I could ride all the time it makes me feel that good.
Carbon, I love carbon bikes, they are light, snappy and pedal so damn well. Carbon is stronger than you think, but it does get cut somewhat easily. There is a lot of misinformation out there and here say about carbon, thing is there are a lot of good bikes out there made with many materials. I haven’t broken a carbon bike, fork or handlebar, but I have broken two Ti bikes, Ti handlebars, bent aluminum handlebars, broken aluminum seatposts, it all has limits.
I rode rigid in the TD, would do so if I did it again. I used to ride rigid a lot, but my hands, back, feet do not like it so much on singletrack. The TD can be rough and nasty, but it is often pretty fast and suspension isn’t helpful for most of it. Weight is huge and the Niner Carbon fork saved me at least 2 pounds!
I am actually looking to build up a full suspension bike soon, can hardly wait. Different tools for different jobs!
Jefe you described it so well – that feeling you get when you jump on your trusty mountain bike. There is something energising and invigorating I feel every time the breeze caressing my skin, soak in the natural environment around me, and rediscover the excitement and freedom that being on my bike brings! It takes me to places I would otherwise never go in a manner that is often graceful or, if I’m tired and fumbly, outright uncoordinated. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Just being out there, on there and moving along there – gets the juices going. If it’s escapism, bring it on. If it’s a way of coping with the tougher aspects of life so be it. More likely, however, it’s a window into another reality of life that we are blessed enough to peak through. And, hang dang it, every time you get on your bike, in the wild, and in the zone its so very hard to pull on the brakes and come to a stop at rides end. Not to worry. You can peer through that window another day – and who knows what wonders will await you there!
It happens pretty much everytime I ride, pure love, what a wonderful thing. Makes me wonder how come more people don’t ride bikes? What a crazy world where people are grumpy, spend tons of money on anti-depressants, health care and yet see a bike as a waste of money. So very happy I found this love, release and escape. So thankful every time I ride, life is better on a bike!
Thanks for reading, happy pedaling!
My goodness. Thank you for this post. I’ve raced off and on since 15 years old, I’m 42 now. I have never heard/read anything that has described the feeling so clearly. It is Love, the bigger sense of the word, with the capital L. Thank you Jefe, and for the record I’m thoroughly enjoying your writings.
Dwayne, It is love, so damn true, it can still break your heart, but mostly it makes your whole being glow. Your comment makes me smile, thanks so much for reading!!!!