Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Single Track Atonement

Single Track GrimaceEgged on by cycling convert Chad Tucker, I dug my own neglected Trek out of the garage yesterday and took it for a spin. Or it took me, I can never decide. Either way, the cathartic value of mounting said velocipede was well worth the throbbing ass I find myself with today. No bother, I’ll just relive my two wheeled glory with a fevered post on the joys and contusions of the mountain biking in central North Carolina. I’m no expert, mind you - just a former flatlander with a sore keister and a thesaurus. So strap on the helmet I can’t seem to find and hold on - for I ride the exact same way I write: in orange day-glow biker shorts.

ShocksLuckily, my bike remembers which way to go - even when traversing unfamiliar soil. That was the case yesterday, when I perched atop a path I'd chosen at random; a dissipating groove through a root-filled ravine. I paused at the lip for a moment, hunched over my handlebars and weighed my lack of melon protector. So I took it slow, clicking into my pedals and leaning forward, the fat tires digging in and rolling slow along the narrow, twisty trail. Lake Higgins Trail, it was- a moderate enough route that still featured gullies, switchbacks and ill-timed climbs. Not wanting to impale myself on any severed branches, I stuck to the middle and tried to chill. But then the tunes kicked in...

View from Below'Love Me Do', I think it was. Or maybe it was 'Devils Haircut', I dunno, it could have been one of those wretched BeeGees tracks the Missus made me load onto the mp3. Whatever it was, it did the trick, for soon most of the world melted away. All that remained was the brown forest floor strobing beneath; a sun-dappled course fraught with knobby obstacles and skinny escapes. No longer engaged in linear thought, I jerked the handlebars to accomodate the gut-wrenching bends and suddens ascents this narrow passage afforded. With my feet locked into the pedals, I could bunny-hop; pop rear wheelies when needed and otherwise milk momentum for every ounce of forward energy the nature has to offer. Done right, one can earth-surf over improbable topography. Done wrong, one can 'endo' and hurl ass over tea kettle into the void...

Tree LeanBut there's more to it than open-ended stuntman plunges. Just as important are those idle moments spent leaning on a tree - if only so you can toss up your Pop-Tarts in peace. I'm never afraid to simply stop, whether pausing to catch my breath, taking in the leafy cathedral in all its splendor or taking a hit off that water bottle I never seem to bring. No, you ain't gotta be moving on a mountain bike to get somewhere, though it sure does help when you're filming a Mountain Dew commercial. (Everyone know saturated God-shots of a middle-aged insurance adjustor hikin' his biker shorts by an oak tree don't move sody-bottles.) Still, take your time there in the shade, Mr. Myfreakinsidehurts. Then hand in your man-card tyo the nearest woodchuck. Otherwise, unhand that trunk and get to pedalin'!

Tire RootOh yeah ... that's better. Now pick up the pace a little and you'll look all manly as you roll back to your pick-up truck. If you're lucky, a Soccer Mom will be there to help you lift your bike into the bed. Me, I'll be out here on the open trail, gliding over sunbaked ruts in the mud and trying not to scream like a girl when gravity wraps me around that sticky Pine tree in the sky. I'll even be up for another two-wheeled thrill real soon, never again placing my Trek in a vegetative state. And Yes Mom, I'll go buy a new helmet - right after I pick up some Preparation H. Do they sell it by the vat?

2 comments:

bluesdaddy said...

Yo Stew,
One of these days I'm gonna bring my bike up your way so you can show me some of the local trails. It's too dang flat down this way...
Joel

Weaver said...

Too bad you didn't have the "Helmet Camera" ;)

(BTW - It's Broke....already!)