Before I begin, you know this isn’t going to be about bike riding, right?

Every bike ride is a good bike ride. Even on those rare occasions when I just get out the door and turn around twenty minutes later feeling like crud, at least I got out and gave it a shot and spent a little bit of time in the forest. But some bike rides aren’t just good, they’re mind-blowing.

My friend Mike and I rode (Trail name obscured until I find out if it’s a pirate or not) tonight for the first time this season. If you aren’t familiar with the trail, it’s disgusting. It starts with a steep, loamy climb, and then a flat, and then more climbing, and a little more climbing, the whole time pedaling with the feeling like you’re spinning through sand. And there are some roots too, you aren’t just turning your cranks.

Following the first climb the trail descends fall line. Off camber, loose, rooty and steep. There are more holes on the trail than you can keep track of, and each of them wants to grab your front wheel and pitch you over the bars into the ditch. And then it climbs again for a good distance finishing with a couple of tight, technical and steep turns, zone 5 kind of territory (my Zone 5 is horribly low). And then at the height of the trail you have a few metres to gasp and try to regain some bits of composure before it drops again into an undulating mess of roots and loose dirt and straight down, fall line descents. This trail was not built on IMBA standards and thank god for that. Like I said, it’s disgusting, but I like that kind of thing.

And now tonight I’m spent. My entire body is tired and I’m staring out the window looking down the valley at the smallest shred of orange sky sandwiched between a mass of cloud above and the physical horizon of mountain underneath. It’s this tiny bit of the sun’s last rays. A blue sky still light at 11:00 PM and the whole of Mount Rundle in dark contrast, a tireless, black sentinel keeping watch over the valley.

I feel like I’ve again pushed myself away from those things that matter, like breathing deeply in the woods, and saying thanks to the mountains and the trees. This has been a good weekend, but it’s time for me and myself to get back to work. This week my feet will root in the earth and nothing will distract me.

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