Today the Fat Cyclist blogged about comfort rides – trails with which he is familiar rather than new routes. I’ve been thinking about that myself this week since TransRockies will be nothing but newness for me: newer distances (longer), newer time period (a week of nothing but riding my bike), and completely new to me trails. I really like exploring new terrain and new places on my bike, but Fatty makes some solid points about why riding the same trails over and over again makes them better.
His first point: the better you know a route, the better you are at riding it. For the most part, I agree with this. This did not, however, hold true this past weekend when I crashed no fewer than three times riding B&S whereas last year I could generally make it down the trail in one piece. I’m actually kind of afraid of it now, but I keep telling myself it’s only May and I have lots of time to build that confidence back up again.
But his main point (and the one I agree completely with) is that rides you’ve been on before start to collect memories. Now, I haven’t been riding mountain bikes for a very long time (this will be my 4th summer) but I love the feeling of being back on familar trails, especially when I don’t see them all winter (most of them anyway).
There’s Blue’s Brother – Aside from plunking around my backyard, I think this is the very first trail I ever rode in Whitehorse and it might be the one I have ridden most often, too. It’s the trail that made me fall in love with the smell of the trees and the views of the lakes around Riverdale. For my first summer here, it was the go-to trail for rides with friends and even now, each time I am on it, I think of Tony cranking ahead, showing us the way, and Antonio and Alicia grinding along on their downhill bikes behind him.
Both of these photos are from 2007 on that trail.
And then there’s Downtown Boogaloo, a trail which I had conveniently forgotten about until this past weekend when Sierra and I rode it in order to extend our long Saturday ride by another hour. I tried to forget this trail because the only other time I rode it was back in 2008 when we were saying farewell to Julie. Paul took us up….and up….and up…and kept promising that we were done the climb and then we’d round another corner and it just kept on going. That Friday night two years ago left me hungry and whiny and spawned Sierra’s nickname: crank-o-saurus. I didn’t ride this trail once last year. But, last Saturday, for some unbeknownst reason, Sierra and I decided to tackle it again. I know others would disagree, but I still say the climb’s not worth the descent. And all I could see in my mind’s eye while I was pushing (yes, pushing) my bike up the final hill was Paul, 30 feet in front of me, telling me that “that was it – that’s the end of the climb.” And, even though I wasn’t having fun this week, I still smiled at that memory.
I feel like I have a story to tell about every trail I’ve been on. And I love that. It’s part of what makes me excited about getting out there each summer. And I have a feeling that this year I’m going to have lots of new stories to add.