Monday, August 04, 2008

A Passion For Crashing

Note: This is a story I wrote originally for a gig I had at "The Biking Hub" I came across it today and thought you all might enjoy it. So, here is the original, un-edited version.

I went out for a nice after work single track ride the other day. That is a great way that I’ve found to clear out the cobwebs from a long day at work, which I highly recommend to you all, by the way. On my merry little way, I noticed that the trails were a bit damp. That reminded me of the previous days down pour we received. Not to worry, as the trail system I was on drains very quickly, being mostly sandy, silt dirt in composition. The soil was collecting on my tires a bit and was getting tossed up in the air around me in small bits by my tires. I always am amused by that when it happens, so I kept right on peddling and having fun. That’s right about when it happened.

I got that rude awakening that we all have received at one time or another. The trail went around a tight 90 degree turn to the left. I dove in it with a good head of steam. Then the dirt packed front tire started that dreaded slide that portends doom. I always find that somehow or another I enter a time warp at that moment. How else do you explain the slow motion feel that you get when you are about to be introduced to Mother Earth in a violent manner?

That feeling you get just before the impact. That is such a great moment! I had a physics teacher in college that put it this way: “It’s not the state of being out of control that kills you, it’s the sudden deceleration that does the damage.” He was right about that. I just wish the price of being out of control for that one glorious moment wasn’t quite so high. It seems like you are flying, free from the usual state of gravitational pull, and it is quite exhilarating. Then the bill comes and it’s time to pay.

Thankfully, today’s price tag wasn’t too high. Just a slide on the left leg and forearm in some greasy earth and bruise here and there. Nothing that a hot shower at the end of the ride couldn’t cure. It was fun, actually, and I look forward to the next on the edge flirtation with disaster. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think that it’s part of the mountain biking experience, whether you are a down hill rider or just plunking along on some twisty single track like me. Try embracing that facet of the ride and you just might be having more fun than you thought possible on your trails.

Crashing can even be looked at as a positive experience in another way. You learn what you can and can’t do. You find out what skills you need to sharpen. You can even make better choices in equipment based on crash experiences. A crash should always teach you something. What did I learn today? Well, I should be running a different tire combination when the trails are damp, for one thing. I also learned that people stare at you funny when you are covered in dirt riding home from the trails. That’s okay. I know I’m having fun getting that way. I can’t wait to do it again!

Final note: Funny thing is, I had a crash nearly identical to this last weekend at the Camp! Ride on ya'all!

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