Cleo and I usually have the trails to ourselves….we trot alone for miles..
But not these days.
Current circumstances have “forced” many new folks onto ‘”our trails”.
And I have mixed feelings about this.
Of COURSE…nothing makes me happier then to see people FINALLY appreciating all the mother nature has to offer…at no cost to you!
HOWEVER, this also brings along many new furry friends + owners, who are entirely new to the “single track mind”.
“YOUR DOG NEEDS TO BE ON A LEASSSSH!!!!”
Is a constant phrase lingering in the air as Cleo and I zip up, down and around the roller coaster o’ single track we so cherish.
And that’s actually the kinder version, often its someone “barking” at me…”THERE’S A LEASH LAW YOU KNOW!!!””
Sometimes I even wonder, and chuckle to myself, that perhaps they are referring to ME …that needs to be on a leash…but… I digress…
There have been times Cleo has even stoped and stared in bewilderment at the wild, maniacal commotion these pups portray, as they leap and bark and pull on the end of their owner’s leash.
And she’ll glance back at me as if to say…“WTF is up with that?? And what the heck is that thing they’re attached to? Should I be on one of those too…??”
Yeah probably, there is a leash law ya know….
But of course neither of us wants to be on the end of a leash of course. We run loose, unencumbered, untethered, FREE…. to “sniff” and roam wherever we choose.
I sometimes wish others can see this beautiful “dance” we have. Sometimes she falls in stride right beside me.
The rhythmic “clink clink” of her dog tags paces me.
Or on my “dragging days”, I’ll follow behind her, chasing her furry little tush and that ridiculous wagging tail. I watch as she darts back and forth across the trail, chasing squirrels down towards the water’s edge, or up a steep embankment.
Or the infamous “double back” for a “re sniff”, precisely in front of me, to ascertain my death via dog-induced face plant.
But now, in order to retain our “distance” and continue to trot along untethered, we are being “forced” to traverse NEW trails (as if I really need to be “forced” onto any trail …).
And as exciting as it may be, a new trail can actually be really..
We run the SAME trails I have been running for YEARS.
I know every nook and cranny, twist and turn, steep ascent and steep descent, foot bridges, creeks, gnarly rocky sections, and rooty treacherous sections. I know exactly what to expect and when to expect it.
But now, I do not know what to expect.
What if the climbs are to steep or long?
What if the rocky sections are just TOO gnarly to run?
What if I trip?
Damn…what the HELL happened to me?? I USED to be able to hop on any unknown trail, throw caution to the wind, and just hope for the best!!! Knowing no matter what came my way, I could navigate up, over, around, or through it.
But something’s happened, now…there is FEAR where there was once FERVOR.
Have I FORGOTTEN who I am?
Have I lost all my skills? My instincts, my ability to navigate my way through any treacherous section?
So what if the climbs are too steep and I can’t charge up them?
Well I guess I’ll have to take it one step (or pedal stroke) at a time…go back to basics, even suck up my pride and walk if I have too.
What if the gnarly sections are just TOO gnarly??
Well, high step it if I’m on foot, or suck it up, and hop of the saddle if I’m on two wheels. OR…look PAST the gnarliness, to the other side, knowing I got what it takes to traverse this SH%T.
What if I crash?
Well then, I’ll sit up, dust myself off….and hop back on my two feet …or in my saddle.. and
What happens if I get lost off trail?
Because Cleo and I trot along in the pure oblivion of our own little “fairy tale” forest, and often get side tracked to take off after an especially enticing “sniff”, which may take us WAY off trail.
And then we find our selfs completely lost,
and unsure how to get back to the main trail.
In this case, perhaps I go back to the basics, remember who I am (or was!) and rely on my instincts.
Below is the VERY FIRST PIECE of Crap-o-la I published to my blog…about a million years ago 🙂
And I can’t believe how appropriate it is for this very moment.
When everything is backwards, upside down, and we all feel lost, wrecked, and it seems like
TIME IS STANDING STILL…..
Mountain biking….is just like life.
Riding is mind over matter. Your bike will roll over just about anything, but its getting your mind to “roll” over it that’s the real challenge.
Sometimes you fear and find any way around an obstacle, rock, root, downed tree limb, etc.
Sometimes you find the courage to just roll right over it and you realize…..it really was NOT that bad after all.
There are times when you have a GREAT ride, when you expected it to be horrible.
And there are times you have a HORRIBLE ride when all the signs said it would be fantastic.
Sometimes you’re cruisin’ along the smooth, buttery single track, thinking all is well, completely consumed in the moment, soaking up every bit of noise, sound, smell that mother nature has to..
…… and there you are, flat on your face…..and you have NO IDEA what the hell just happened.
And you don’t even know where your bike went.
Just like in life, sometimes..
that time actually
And for a split second, you have to make sure you can even still breathe……
and once you have ascertained your survival…you make sure you can still move……
see the sky above…
sit up slowly…
Does everything still work?
Can I get up and walk away from this?
Where does it hurt most?
Is there any blood?
Will this hurt for a long time?
Will I be able to get myself off this trail?
My buddies aren’t laughing at me so this one must have been really bad….
And some of us may spend the rest of our lives recovering from those injuries.
Oh we will ride again, but our method is forever changed.
And I promise my dear reader…
Because even today….with a hole in my board…
Even as I was deflating MID-PADDLE…
Even when I was down on my knees (yes…LITERALLY….paddling….on my knees…)
I knew as long as I KEEP ON PADDLING..
I will stay afloat.
So whether you are pedaling, paddling, 2 feet chasing 4 paws…
Or just trying to SURVIVE in this mixed up jumbled up world today….
JUST KEEP MOVING FORWARD and..
(and perhaps don a face mask :))
And you will find your way back to your main trail.
I look forward to seeing you closer than 6ft in the very near future.
Until next time my loves…