Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Its taken me a while to adjust to the east coast style of mountain biking. When I moved out to Norcal an eon ago I left Boston having never pedaled a bike since childhood. I came back from the west coast a total biker slacker. On the west coast I pretty much identified myself as a mountain biker. I dabbled in cross as a fun fall/winter pursuit. I was never any good to be honest. Back of packer at best. Upon returning "home" like a Coho Salmon to spawn and die I got a pretty rude awakening. East coast riding is hard...way more technical than I was used to and sort of slow...

I'd been torn up pretty good mtn biking around the SF bay area. I broke my arm...more like destroyed it...blown out ligaments, pulverized elbow, chattered radius...broken collarbones, ribs, etc...wait a minute maybe I sucked as a mtn biker on the west coast? Certainly the injury report would attest to that. But I loved it. Big Mtn riding is so awe inspiring. But they don't really embrace the mtn bike out west if you get my drift....sure fireroads are cool and all but singletrack is pretty locked down. Poaching becomes the only option....and while being treated as some kind of second class trail user/miscreant is kind of a buzz kill it does teach you a few things...top of the list is respect. Respect the shit out of the other trail users at all times. Be nice. Smile. Say hi to everyone. Get off your bike if you come across someone on singletrack to let them by. I still remember getting totally chewed out by Marylin Price in the Marin Headlands for descending a fire road like a jackass...I almost t-boned her in a blind corner. Well...this 5o year old founder of trips for kids chased my ass down and laid into me. Not in a Masshole I want to kill you fashion but in a learn to respect the trails elder manner. I learnt a lot that day. And Marylin is incredible in so many ways. Least of all her cultivating good will on the trails of marin county. I've seen a 60 year old irate hiker try and push Tom Ritchey down a steep embankment for our being on singletrack. Seriously. Did Tom smack the guy upside the head? No he kept it all under control killed him with kindness and we were on our way. I wanted to beat the guy with my frame pump ( we actually used those way back when...) Tom was having none of my east coast angst...since then being nice and respectful has become a part of my dna on the trail. And while I struggled getting used to how technical and hard east coast woods riding is what blows me away every time I hit a Cutler Park or Hale is that we are allowed to ride on these trails. Seriously. Its incredible. And I don't know if its all legal or cool but people build trails here...holy crap. Arizona, Marin County they'd put you in Federal Prison for building trails. Seriously.

So today when I "had" to get off my bike two or three times to wait for some hikers to clear a section of boardwalk. I reverted back to my west coast ways and just smiled and said have a great day. Sure when I came through the sketchy railroad tunnel and there was a dude taking a nature break i just assumed the best, ok I did have a little alarm bell going off in my head screaming its Jeffrey Dahmer, said "sorry" and pedaled my ass out of there as fast as I could...

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