Saturday, 17 August 2013

Chasing The Stoke

Not much in the way of scribble recently. Not because I haven't been riding, because there's been plenty, but more because my attitude changed a bit this summer. Well, it kinda mellowed. Not that I was ever highly strung - biking has always been calming for me. But I was always focused on a goal of some sort. Either it was the races, new trails and techniques or simply getting some decent snaps.  This year I decided to give the racing a miss completely, left the camera at home and just decided to play. I needed to step back and enjoy the sport for what it is, and for what it means to me at a core level - hitting beautiful trails with good friends and being lost in the flow. Melding with the bike to eek as much conscious joy out of the land as possible. So that's what I've done. Less picture taking, less self analysis over technique, less race pace training. Just flow and fun around our usual haunts.

Buying the Glory was the catalyst. More than just hitting Northstar and enjoying the thrill of riding the big brute, it changed my outlook somewhat overall. The Glory, and downhill riding, is all about pushing your boundaries and feeling the sheer exhilaration of being in the moment, even when that moment scares the hell out of you. Its all part of the fun. No time to obsess over how much I'm dropping my outside foot in corners or worrying about pacing out my lactic acid levels to complete a race in a decent time. Just grinning fun on fantastic, big trails whilst being fused to an amazing machine.

And the result? I feel I'm riding better now than ever. Smoother and faster, not quite as fit maybe, but each ride is another satisfying moment crystalized in sweat and dirt. With each Northstar trip and Rancho loop I gain better understanding of what riding means to me on all its wonderful levels.

Next week we make our pilgrimage to Whistler. I can't wait to see how the Glory and I perform there. I'm getting it dialed in... albeit slowly and surely. I have some gnarly features to tick off the Whistler bucket list. Whatever happens, I'll have the camera close by so I can stick some moments on here.