Why in the world do I do this?
My body hurts. My body hates me right now. Seriously, my body is screaming “HEY, YOU CRAZY OLD MAN, DO YOU REALIZE THAT YOU ARE OLD, OLD, OLD, OLD?”
Listen, body, I know that. Do you realize that stuff like this is the responsibility of old people who ride mountain bikes?
Alcohol was necessary tonight. It really was. I punished my body. It needs to be numbed. I apologize to those who struggle with alcohol addiction. But tonight, my body begged me to please allow it to have a brief respite from pain.
My friend Greg asked me a few days ago if I was available to ride tonight, to ride some trails that are freakishly difficult. I laughed, but I said yes. Why did I laugh? I am a pretty decent rider when I am riding trails that I know will not beat the snot out of me. I am pretty decent rider, but I am not one of the most skilled riders. Greg did not care. He invited me to ride. Sometimes it’s not about how well a person rides, it’s about what they add to the quality of the ride. I add quality. I am the type of person who encourages.
Greg wanted me to ride with him and a young, upcoming 18 year old rider who is thinking about racing, who needed exposure to some really difficult trails to ride. The trails we rode tonight are so difficult that they have been declared off limits. They are no longer sanctioned by the local trail advocate. They freaking beat the snot out of me. Early on, I realized that all I needed to do was try, to pick a line on the freakishly steep drops and finish them. I needed to watch this 18 year old boy finish and rock the impossible rock gardens, tell him what a rock star he really is. I needed to finish the trails with them, no matter how slow I finished them, because it’s cool for a guy my age to take those type of chances.
Tonight was an absolute blast. I rode some of the really tough stuff, walked when I just plain couldn’t. It didn’t matter. Riding like a rock star wasn’t my purpose tonight. tongith, I just needed to enjoy myself. I watched an 18 year old clear what seemed impossible — oh my, that kid rode some gnarly stuff. I was a cheerleader. I listened to him exclaim the joy of how freaking impossible some of the stuff we rode was. He fell to the ground at the end of our ride, totally wasted but satisfied.
OK, body, are you happy now?
Let’s see how we feel in the morning.