Monday, March 12, 2012
People use terms like "epic", "amazing", and "extraordinary" so much it takes a lot of the weight out of the words. So many times I'm guilty of saying something was amazing that I sound like the kid who cried wolf. Anyone who knows me knows that I can get pretty excited about things, especially when it comes to riding a mountain bike. But...I have to say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that yesterday was one of the most AMAZING rides I've ever had.
The plan was to go to Sprain Ridge with a buddy of mine and his friend. Sprain is one of my favorite trail systems (See yesterday's post), and it never disappoints. The technical trails, rocks, roots, rollers, and exploratory aspect of trail just makes me smile.
The three of us met up in the parking lot, exchanged whatever it is that guys do when we say hi to each other, talked about how much our bikes rock, compared notes and started riding. We were about a quarter of the way through the trail when one of the guys had a gnarly crash. He wound up fine, just a few small scrapes, but his bike was wacked. Bent derailleur hanger, bent derailleur cage, and he was walking. He decided to bail, which left myself, his friend, and a new guy that had asked to ride with us.
Soon we were back riding, and managed (of course) to get a little turned around. We found another rider, asked directions, and got back to riding. The rider, who's name was Joe Joe, also asked to join our little group. He lives 5 minutes from the trailhead and knew every nook and cranny of the trail system. He took us out where we wanted to go, and showed us lines I never thought were ridable. Riding behind him was a lesson in what exactly can be done on a bike. It was awesome to follow his flow, and hit some stuff I would have never imagined was an actual line.
Joe Joe is 47 and rides a single speed hard tail 26er with about 120mm of front suspension. For comparison, I ride those same trails with a 170mm fork and 160mm of rear travel. In other words, it's like I'm driving a Ferrari and he's driving a Datsun. He truly puts to rest the notion that riding skill and tackling objects as anything to do with the bike you ride. Dude was simply amazing.
As we got back to the lot, packed up our bikes, and exchanged phone numbers, it hit me that when I woke up this morning I didn't know any of these guys. We all knew each other for literally a matter of minutes before we rode together and enjoyed a Sunday afternoon in the woods together. I found it so cool that no matter what our ages were (they ranged from the youngest, Sean, 23, to the oldest, Joe Joe, 47), or what we did for a living, we were able to ride and be completely stoked on good weather and awesome riding. Furthermore, we all had different skillets. Some of us were good at riding some spots, and other times had trouble. No matter, we all had fun and can all say that we made some friends.