What goes up…

27 05 2010

…must come down.

Of course, the whole purpose of suffering the up is to enjoy the down.

There’s nothing like ripping a downhill, your eyes stinging from the wind, your knees and elbows loose to absorb any shocks, your chin lowered towards the handlebar to minimize aerodynamic drag.

And it’s even better when you’ve earned it.

That’s why I sneer under my breath at all those shuttlers along the side of the road up Burnaby Mountain, loading their heavy downhill mountain bikes into the back of a pickup to be ferried to the top so they can coast and bounce their way down. Where’s the joy in that? What’s the reward for a hill well-climbed? And those heavy single-purpose downhill bikes wreak havoc on the cross-country trails of that modest mountain.

I’ve had some memorable downhills, made all the more so because I earned them all by slogging my way up to get to them: jamming my brakes ’till my fingers cramped to stay in control down the steep switchbacks of the Pyrenées in France; blasting down the long hill on the highway outside Boisetown, New Brunswick, where my friend Grant is from, as we made a pitstop in his hometown during an East Coast road trip; cracking 80 kmh at the head of a peloton of cops on bikes as we careened down Burnaby Mountain during a training ride for their annual Cops For Cancer fundraising ride.

Tonight I did a trail ride with my buddy, Shanksman. It was my first chance to oggle his new ride, a Kona Caldera.

Shanksman suffering the Up on his shiny new ride.

We did a 20 km loop through UBC and down to Jericho Beach, our regular evening ride which we call the DownUp because we first blast down hill to the beach, then have to slog back up hill to return to where we started.

The ride isn’t epic by any means; the trails are wide and mostly graveled. It’s mostly convenient, and safe to ride with lights or in dwindling twilight.

But the downhill is a lot of fun, one of my favourites. It’s fast, with a handful of step jumps that let you catch some air, and a couple of blind bends to keep things interesting. We call it the Whoopdedoos, because you just can’t help whoop when you fly over those jumps.

Sometimes it’s so much fun, we just turn around at the bottom, ride back up and do it all over again, thereby turning the ride into a Double DownUp.

Clearing the third Whoopdeedo



One response

28 05 2010

looks like your having fun Mario!

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