The Mountain Bike Life

You don’t hate that trail, but you do not like it. You still ride it, but almost begrudgingly so. It is old faithful. The first to thaw in the spring, the last to freeze in the winter. It is always there. It is unchanging. There are never new expansions. There are no new features. No new jumps. No alternate lines. It is constant. The views have long become mundane and uninteresting. What few alterations happen to the trail only seem to further neuter the trail and make it even more disinteresting. For me, this trail is the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. A ribbon of trail that is by no means a bad trail, it has just become the trail I ride when I do not have time for a fun ride. Recently I have challenged myself to see it in a new light. My wife gave me some advice not to long ago in creating new blog posts. “Just because you think it is boring does not mean everyone else does.” That little bit of advice she has given me is driving me to find the pleasure in even the most mundane of all things bicycling.

The views from the Bonneville Shoreline Trail may leave a lot to be desired | Photo: Martina Platte

The views from the Bonneville Shoreline Trail may leave a lot to be desired |Photo: Martina Platte

I think part of what eases this trail boredom is learning that what is boring to you could be totally new and mind blowing to others. You just need to see what it is that the outsiders are seeing. Many things could have led to your lackluster opinion of a certain trail, but I think what can lead to this the most is repetition. When you have an old standby that you start to get too familiar with, it stops being exciting. Maybe you have fallen into a rut of only riding the trail in one direction. You have learned the ins and outs of the trail. You know every berm and have outsmarted every tire grabbing rock on every climb. Every time a new rider sees those features, it is an undiscovered experience to him or her. Perhaps you can find a different way to get enjoyment out of the same trails.

Looking rather disinterested in the long fire road climbs | Photo: Martina Platte

Looking rather disinterested in the long fire road climbs | Photo: Martina Platte

Sometimes half of the fun comes from showing off your trails to non locals. So often when you show some of your buddies from out town your daily afternoon boring ride you often hear “no way this is what you get to ride all the time?! I am so jealous!” It might come as a shock to hear those words about your boring old trail but it is true. You should always be proud of the places you ride. Sometimes just that little bit of pride is all it takes to open someone else’s eyes to the future possibilities that an area might have.

Your local trail may not be interesting but the right person will certainly be able to see a lot of potential | Photo: Martina Platte

Your local trail may not be interesting but the right person will certainly be able to see a lot of potential | Photo: Martina Platte

Maybe that trail you find so boring could in fact be the perfect way of introducing riding to new people. Whether it be at work or social functions you often here people mentioning how much they have always wanted to give mountain biking a try but simply do not know where to start. Maybe that boring trail for you could be the perfect beginner trail for someone just starting out. A new rider does not need to be subjected to jumps, drops, steeps, or gnarly rock gardens; maybe a more diluted trail could provide you with some great riding friends in the near future.

Climbing gravel can be one of the best work outs there is | Photo: Martina Platte

Climbing gravel can be one of the best work outs there is | Photo: Martina Platte

One of the more intrinsic ways of spicing up the trail is in rediscovering the fun in parts of the trail. I know that my shoreline trail is well known for having some ridiculous climbs. As awful as it may sound, I have several times found myself riding the trail in different ways that seem to maximize climbing. Pedaling up sustained climbs that rise close to 1000 vertical feet have their own certain reward. Sometimes going a bit off the beaten path and following an old animal trail can turn a ride into a challenge and may even lead to a new discovery. It may not be as fun or as glorious as a lot of other trails, but I know at the end of the ride, I certainly feel accomplished.

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