Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Return to the Elemental

One evening I was lying in bed with my wife, and we were discussing the state of society, and the impact that the new inter-connectivity (due to the internet, cell phones, etc.) is having. She was concentrating more on the effect that it has had on relationships, and how people are less focused about spending quality time with each other.  With the singletrack mind that I have, I quickly made the leap to mountain biking.

“That’s one of the main reasons that I like mountain biking so much…”

By far, one of the most appealing things to me about the sport of mountain biking is the one-on-one interaction with nature.  It takes you away from the mental stress of academy, books, and pushing a pen.  The computer screens are left at home, Facebook is a million miles away, and Google is just another meaningless word. 

Yes, mountain biking definitely forces you to face nature in the most basic of ways.  “Can I make it up this hill?” “How fast should I go into this corner?” “What happens if I crash and get hurt 15 miles away from another human being and no one knows I’m here?” “If I ford this deep stream, will I crash? Should I wade through it? Is the weather so cold that I’ll be in danger of hypothermia during the rest of my ride?” All these questions are valid when mountain biking in the wild, though they may seem inconsequential from the perspective of a casual observer removed from the actual circumstances.

When riding, direct interaction with nature is a necessity.  The sterile hallways of school and the button down shirts of the office building are mere memories from a time long gone.  When  you hit the trails, you’re required to get down and get dirty.  Mud, water, sand, sweat, thorns, rain, snow, wind, poison ivy… mountain biking is a complete removal from the closely controlled world of technology.  It is messy. It is wild. 

It is a return to the elemental.


Mark March 16, 2010 at 7:31 AM  

You couldn't have said it better! You could say mountain biking is zen like ... it's a cleansing of the conciousnous. Whenever I ride, I'll start thinking about a song and keep playing it over and over in my head (usually it's Iron Maiden) while the only thing I am thinking of is the next climb, descent, terrain feature, or route I am going to take and whether I have enough time.

Greg Heil March 16, 2010 at 9:55 AM  

Yeh, right on man! I totally find the zone whenever I'm trying to nail a tech section or blasting downhill at full speed.

However, when I'm doing one of those loooonnnnggg drawn out climbs, my mind tends to wander all over the place.

Actually, some of my best thinking times are grinding up gravel roads on my mountain bike.

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for Singletracks.com. He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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