It’s about the beer

4 06 2010

If road rides are about the kilometers, trail rides are about the beer.

Road rides are a solo endeavor.

Trail rides are a social occasion.

I've no idea what that glowing orb is in the sky, but it felt nice.

It wasn’t always like that. I used to think nothing of bombing my Kona up and down Burnaby Mountain or even Grouse for a few hours all on my own, knees flexing fluidly over the bumps and roots, leaves and branches brushing my arms and legs, the moist forest air filling my lungs.

But somewhere along the way, my desire to do those rides on my own dwindled. It might have been the endos.

I’ll admit it, over the years I’ve flipped over the handlebars of my mountain bike more than a few times. A little too heavy on the front brake at the wrong time, or just approaching a drop with not enough confidence, and oops, over I’d go. When you’re younger and more resilient, it was no problem to just brush off the dirt, climb back on the bike and do it all over again a little further down the trail.

But as you get older, the fear factor starts to bite.

A few years ago, while riding Mel’s trail on Burnaby Mountain, I flinched while approaching a tricky, but steep, little drop with a big log jutting into the left side of the trail. I’d cleared that drop dozens of times without an issue. But on that day, the log freaked me out, I squeezed the brake too hard at the wrong moment and flew ingloriously through the air. I barely missed the fearsome log, but the hard landing knocked the wind from me. I was momentarily stunned, although otherwise unhurt. Physically.

But mentally, the hard fall scarred me.

While I’ve been back to the mountain and tackled that drop with no problem a few times since, that endo still haunts me; I’d rather end a trail ride with a cold beer than a visit to the Emergency department.

This is how you always want to end a ride.