It’s a strange thing, the drive that keeps us out on the trails. A sickening financial commitment, sacrifice of time, and constant punishment to our bodies. Things like driving across the country just to sleep in our cars and ride “sick” trails seem logical, the sound of a significant other asking if you are really watching a mountain bike video at dinner again or even the “You spent how much on a bicycle” conversation with a friend. Somehow this madness has become the norm, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I found myself thinking, you know, atop the mountain. Lungs pounding and my helmet leaking fat sweat grenades, each one exploding from my top tube. I looked around. Not a soul in sight. No hikers, no bikers, no lurkers and no nothing. I must have sat there in that exact spot a few dozen times, sweating and panting each time, yet I looked around again. Like the first time, my mouth turns to a stupid grin. I am alone, alone in nature. Danger in front and pain behind, there is nothing but me and the trail, there is no stress, only freedom.
Like everyone, I love the descent, but that isn’t what this is about. This is about the adventure. Each time you pedal through the trailhead you prepare for anything, the “what if” and although we hope that nothing happens, we are mentally prepared for the worst. There is always something new, something exciting, a new trail, a new friend, or maybe even new equipment. The bottom line: Mountain biking keeps us happy, it keeps us moving, and it keeps us alive.
I had a recent conversation with a friend, a somewhat negative friend at least for the moment and she asked me, is anyone happy? Are you happy? I thought about it, and it took very little thought.
“Life is tough. There is always going to be something going wrong, and we will always have problems. The difference between a happy person and a sad person is simple. A happy person has a few things that they live for, that they focus on when all of those things are going wrong and regardless they maintain happiness.”
My family and mountain biking are those things that take me away from the negative. They drive me to be better and regardless of the time, money, and physical abuse. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Instead of throwing something useful like a product review or some sort of mountain bike advice at you, I found it necessary to share my appreciation for the mountain bike life I live. It may not help you beat your best Strava Time but it may help you beat the real issues that will knock you down while you are off your bike.