Big Fat Tire: A 12-step program for mountain bike addicts
June 17, 2016
Hello. I'm Mike, and I'm an addict.
I'm addicted to mountain biking and exercise. I get moody and fidgety when I don't get my fix, be it on a bicycle in the summer or on mountaineering skis in the winter. In the last few weeks, I've been riding my bike when some health issues would dictate I probably shouldn't. I'll put off commitments — to my job, to social outings, to relationships, to writing this column — in order to take a ride and, then, at the last minute, get to work in a last-minute frenzy to take care of whatever my obligations are (like I'm doing right now).
There, I said it. That's the first step.
The reason I write this is because I often wonder if my addiction and the emphasis I put on fun hogging is always a good thing. This isn't a new thought for me: I know I live in a little bubble with many things that many people in the "real world" envy. So many times, people from my home in Indiana or elsewhere say, "Man, you're just living the life in such a beautiful place."
I love mountain biking my local trails, skiing powder in the backcountry and any number of activities that I regularly partake in. It's pretty self-evident that I'm not the only exercise junky in Summit. In fact, Summit and other communities like it are brimming with them.
I keep tabs on social media and websites as a way to keep up on trends and opinions. There is a lot of passion and, of course, a lot of opinion out there. People get worked up about everything: gear-head stuff with bikes, what kind of trails "X" land management agency is building or how they maintain them, conflicts and access issues where it's almost always the fault of "those other people."
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Recent events in Orlando (and numbingly similar events before it) have been on my mind. I question my priorities when I think of these things. I think, "What's really important?" Not that there's anything wrong with riding bikes — riding bikes is a beautiful thing. But, I think it's important to remind myself that it's just riding a bike for fun and fitness. I hope to — at least once and a while — take some of the passion and energy that I've put into trail access and put some of it into more substantial issues — to engage with my elected officials about things more than trails and recreation.
OK, I'm tasked with writing about mountain biking, so I'll get back on task.
I was riding with friends last evening, and it struck me how incredibly lucky I am. It's one of those experiences we regularly seem to have that makes it easy to get lost in the fun-hog bubble. The temperature was comfortable, and summer had finally sprung with greenery and flowers beginning to pop. We hopped on singletrack a short distance from my house and stayed on it for nine miles. We stopped once in a while to regroup and chat. We ran into other friends out on the trail who were having as grand a time as we. All I can say is I can't blame myself (or anyone else) for forgetting there's another world out there with a lot of people who aren't as lucky as we. Summer is pretty special in the High Country.
Breck Bike Week, etc.
The IMBA Trail Care Crew will be visiting Breckenridge this Saturday. If you don't know about the TCC, it's a program run by IMBA and sponsored by Subaru that couples cross-country travel with lessons on trail building and maintenance technique. There will be a classroom session in the morning followed by trail building after lunch. The focus of the day will be the new tech/chunk Mineral Hill trail between Lincoln Park and the Minnie Mine trailhead.
If you're interested in trail building and want to help build a new, advanced trail, this is for you. To sign up go to http://www.imba.com and search for local events.
Maverick Sports has taken on the task of bringing back Breck Bike Week. If you know anything about Westy and crew, you know that they bring a lot of passion and professionalism to anything they do. There will be group rides and other events. In particular, the poker ride returns on Sunday, June 26 as a benefit for the Summit Fat Tire Society. The poker ride has a long history in Breckenridge and is always a great, fun, non-competitive event suitable for all abilities. Hope you can make it!
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