The Zen Of Mountain Biking

Today I rode.

I rode despite the rain.

I had to ride, my mind and body need it.

It was drizzling, constant, but very light. Something in me said “load the bike and go” so I did. I wasn’t going to ride if it had rained so much as to saturate the trail, that’s a no-no. One thing we all have to be conscious of is the state of our trails, and riding when they are wet, damages them, leaves ruts, and makes it hard for the trail crew to maintain and a bitch for those of us riding. *steps off of soap box*

When I arrived, I was the only one there. The parking lot was actually pretty dry, damp, but made me feel good about hopping on my steed. Got ready, and since I was the only one around for miles, I sent a text to a friend to let them know where I was, and that I would text them when I arrived safely back at my vehicle. I hopped on the aluminum beast and headed into the trees. I was pleasantly surprised that the trail was actually in really good shape, no heavy moisture, the canopy of the forest was dense enough that the drizzle only did dust control. The trail was nice and compact and no dust…sweet! A few obstacles were slick but the trail was ride worthy. Happiness.  Since I was apparently the only rider in some time, there was oodles of wildlife….oooooooodddddllllleeeeessss, and we consistently had the pleasure of startling the hell out of each other my whole ride.  There was so much, more than I’ve ever experienced, that I started to make noises periodically just so the critters would know something was heading their way. I laughed out loud more than once, and apologized to many creatures for scaring the sh*t out of them.  I saw 3 deer(heard a 4th), half a dozen plus squirrels, chipmunks, a snake (I’m pretty sure, it was undercover of some plants, but it’s movement made me think, snake), a heron, inhaled a few bugs, spit out just as many, and since I was riding shirtless…and sweating, I became a bug catch-all…chest, stomach, arms, face etc. I was also bitched at by either a squirrel or chipmunk for startling them…it made me smile…..”Sorry” I shouted back. I pushed myself harder than the last ride, making almost all of the climbs. The roots, being their own kind of creature, and wet, made many attempts to foil my ride. My back tire was grabbed and thrown out a few times, and they love to jack up your momentum. I never did fall, but was damn close a few time. Love the roots. I hammered through the last stretch, grunting up the last few climbs, loving the lil bit of pain from pushing my self, and made the  last crazy climb out to the parking lot. I sent a text to my friend, loaded the car, and headed home, jamming to  LCD Sound System, and feeling pretty damn good. I love life…for real.

The meditative aspects of mountain biking are another pull for me. When I needed to bring myself back to the present moment, nothing aside from actual meditation does it for me. As you ride, you’re there….here and now. You’re not thinking about what you just did, or so much of what’s coming, you are concentrating on where you are now. The mind does it’s thing and thoughts arise and disappear, but you are always brought back to the present moment, because if you’re not there, well, you eat sh*t and find yourself off your bike. Oh, you still fall off even if you’re ever diligent, but that’s part and parcel of mountain biking, you don’t learn if you don’t go over your head once in a while…but you go into those situations knowing the possible price of admission. It’s all good and it’s all love.

Thanks for reading!

Peace, Patrick

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