Internal Focus and Mountain Sports

Due to the combination of awkward-shoulder-season and a recently borked knee the top three choices of ways to spend my weekend (trad alpine, cragging and scrambling) were out of the question.  I really do like biking. It’s a great way to cover a lot of country in a day and while it has distinct limitations (particularly within the national parks where I live in the summer.) It’s a perfectly pleasant way to spend a day and serves as a very different sort of adventure.

This weekend, I went on the first lengthy trail ride of the season. All in it ran somewhere in the 60 km vicinity and circumnavigated the Rundle Range. It’s an easy trail by any standards, but there was a section about 8km in length that can best be described as “all of the tree roots ever.”

Despite being bumpy, and difficult to navigate, I really enjoyed the rooted section. It required a level of concentration much akin to climbing. While most of the ride was a very straightforward peddle up and down some hills, the single track treed section required a connection to one’s actions that was not present during the rest of the ride.

The connection to motion is what I get the most out of during any adventure. Climbing forces me to concentrate on a single thing at once, blocking out any exterior stressors to focus, maintain control, and successfully complete whatever small goal I am trying to achieve. Being able to achieve an internal point of focus, and working through the motions towards a successful hill climb, or climbing sequence is challenging and rewarding.

It’s about small victories, which is refreshing in a world of long term plans and lofty goals. I guess this is my version of living in the moment.

Night Riding

Thanks to the unseasonable warmth that Calgary has been experiencing recently, I’ve been able to get out riding  a lot more. Despite the spring temperatures, we’re still living in a winter solar cycle, so it gets dark a lot earlier than it gets cold. As nice as it is to see so many people out enjoying the trails, there are a few things that drive me absolutely up the wall when it comes to night cycling.

1. Get an appropriate front light. Your 100 lumen headlamp set on strobe mode isn’t doing anyone any favors. Not only have you blinded oncoming traffic, you’re destroying your own night vision.I should be able to see you from a reasonable distance, but I don’t need to be able to see you from Mars.

2. Red Blinky goes on the back. Once again with the ultrabright rear blinky. Not necessary, and almost more of a hazard than a help. Think of it like a car. White light up front, red light in the rear.

3.Get a bell and use it. Not only are you legally required to have a noise maker of some variety, it decreases your chances of some surprised biker or pedestrian swerving into you.

4.  Stay on the right hand side. This goes for pedestrians as well. Treat the trail like a road. Stay on your own side.

5. Dogs. Keep them on a leash! walk them on the outside of the trail. Put yourself between your dog and people trying to pass. I get that you have the right to walk your dog or whatever, but for god’s sake don’t compromise everyone else’s safety for it.

It’s not difficult to get along and share the trail as long as we don’t ride like idiots. Lets stay safe and stay happy.