It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than That…

If I don’t ride my mountain bike often enough during the winter, I sometimes forget this…

38 minutes to the top of the climb. This is a 1 hour ride, so I’m gonna have to rip it to get back! Just as the song changes, the gears change. Pop it up to the big blade, click the remote lockout to set the fork to active, and zip up the jersey. Let’s do this! Stand up and blast out 500 watts or so to set the rig into motion. Wonder if my tire pressure is right? Guess I’ll find out. Hit the little kicker just to the side of the trail and catch a little bit of air. Immediately stand back up out of the saddle and hammer into the first 180 degree turn. Back tire slides a little, but holds as another 500 or so watts are slammed into the peddles. Time to really rip up this descent!

Heart starts really pumping with a tight right, quick left, hop off a little riser, and another sharp right. Music thumping in the ears, the bike flows over and around the jagged rocks cemented into the dry Colorado dirt. Thread the needle, thread the needle, thread the needle. The tiniest error would result in a busted peddle or god forbid, scratched rim, as the bike darts through the catawampus pile of stones. In a smooth flowing rise from the saddle, the peddles continue to transfer power to the ground  as the trail becomes almost smooth looking with the unstoppable 29er wheels. Faster and faster the trees fly by. Closer and closer they get to the handle bars, but the thought of clipping one doesn’t even exist.

Another tight 180 degree turn. Hit the brakes just enough to slow down to a perfectly ludicrous cornering speed, while dropping through an off-camber washed out section. Release the front break and look 15 feet down the trail to the small drop into a rock garden and mishmash of roots. No need to think. The bike knows. The body knows. The reactions are so natural, the potentially wheel taco-ing obstacles pass in mere seconds as the eyes focus on the next challenge ahead. The heart thumps louder as the senses scream WOOHOO!

Advancing on another banked left turn, the left shoulder dips, the outside foot drops, and the gaze is on the exit of the corner. Both tires slide ever so slightly as another chain snapping acceleration is set into motion. Down into the saddle and time to flow. Right, left, right, left. The bike flicks side to side faster than the blink of an eye. Inches from stead fast trees, the bars continue to snap side to side as the peddle stroke is coordinated to just barely miss sharp rocks. Everything is flowing as one. Smooth and connected. Body, mind, bike, tires, terrain. It all flows together.

Now for the fun part! The horizon drops away to reveal a mine field of tire slicing, ear-to-ear smile-producing rocks, with multiple routes to descend through. No time to stop and pick the best line, momentum has the upper hand. Out of the saddle, weight shifted back over the rear tire, and fingers balanced above the break levers, the 29er relishes the gnarly landscape as it soaks up the bumps. Fear is running as fast as it can to catch up, but there it has no hope of it keeping pace. Exhilaration courses through the veins as the speed increases, the reactions become quicker, and the effort becomes… well… effortless. This is it. I am in my element.

Picking the line is so inherent that the focus goes to the song on the iPod, rather than the hazards ahead. Fitting as Born This Way by Lady Gaga lays down a base line that continues to keep the euphoric feelings coursing through the body. A smile stretches wide as the bike leaves the ground to float over the rubble. Touching down, the feet level back out to keep the crank arms parallel to the ground. Faster. Faster! FASTER! No brakes necessary. The scenery is but a blur as the sole focus of the eyes is on the trail ahead. Then the saddest part of the entire trail approaches… the end.

Dropping back into the saddle as the tires touch the pavement, one thought cements itself – That was why I do what I do. I A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y love the thrill that comes from the realization that passion led me down that hill.

Can’t wait to do it again tomorrow…


2 responses to “It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than That…”

  1. Cathy Kelsay says:

    That was really good, Will. I felt like I was the one flying done the road. I felt the thrill of the ride.

  2. Will Kelsay says:

    Thanks Mom. I’m guessing you meant “flying down the trail?” 😉 Glad you liked it. That just flowed out after I got on the mountain bike the other day. Wish there was some way to share more of that with people.

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