This came to mind today. A sequence of a project I worked on several years ago. It’s the opening stanza of a book about a bike rider. Why do we ride? Many reasons but this sequence explains why one guy did. Thanks Cadel for explaining what you love about cycling. I hope you get back to Hermosa one day soon, and when you do, ride it like you’re flying! (Rob)
“I cherish that first trip overseas to race when I went to Vail, Colorado for the world championships in 1994. The Hermosa Creek trail near Durango was such a good place to ride. It allowed me to be free. The training days remain highlights of my time on the bike. It was exploration and exhilaration. A roller coaster; two wheels spinning over gravel, dirt and sand, showering a spray of dust in their wake. It was cycling bliss. Descending most of the way, pedalling as often as possible but having the option to freewheel. These were free riding hours. On Hermosa it was me, my bike, my mind and my body all feeling as one. It was all so simple: a front wheel lift to clear a rock, a shift of the body to absorb some of the shock, a grind of the knobby tyres as they clawed over a rock, a moment out of the saddle to increase the speed, a touch of the brake, a controlled skid. Nothing to slow you to a stop.
“No burden, but expectation that I put on myself to get a result. That’s something I continue to feel but then, right there – at altitude, in the wilderness, on a trail, before a major race, on the national team, ready for a career but still racing as a junior – I was riding for the love of it.’
“The Hermosa Creek Trail is an experience that I’ve always wanted to explain. It was an off-road path that led me to where I am now. I still relish the days in Colorado when I was 17 although I’ve ridden many other perfect trails and roads since.
“When you have a really good day mountain biking – when everything is going right – it’s close to the feeling of flying. With an uninterrupted path of singletrack it can seem like you’re floating through a forest. The rush of constant sounds, like the wind past your ears, is amplified by the noise generated by wide tyres on the terrain; it drums out of beat at times to the thud of tree roots, rocks and all else that litters the way. And then there’s the body. The pulse of breath and heart – both rising from surges of adrenaline and effort – add to a soundtrack on this simple machine and you in nature’s playground. You float. Drift. Sweep. Through turns you delve deeper into the path ahead, diving around the next turn and into the unknown.”
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– Cadel Evans, Close To Flying