Sunday, January 3, 2010

Magic and the Three Step Process

I feel like I have been getting away with something that I shouldn’t lately. I have been riding my bike off-road in the middle of the winter on mountain trails, both snow covered and in balmy mid 70˚ temperatures.

There’s an easy explanation for the fair weather riding and that is due to the fact that I just happened to find some spare time during a business trip to the LA area. Instead of booking a flight out in the morning, I booked one of the evening flights and rented a bike for the day. I was only able to find one shop in the area that rented bikes and it turned out to be a ’93 Diamondback with a second generation Manitou fork on it (if you thought the elastomer bumpers were bad when they came out try aging them a couple of decades). I did my best to subdue my bike snobbishness. The bike actually climbed great and we will just leave it at that. The riding was good and I will never complain about that.

The snow covered trail riding is a little more difficult and the only explanation I have is Magic. Magic keeps the tires above the crust. Magic propels you forward at a speed similar to that of summer time riding. Magic makes it possible to ride in places nobody else will venture out to (at least on two wheels). The Bonneville Shore Line Trail above Layton and Kaysville gets a fair amount of foot traffic and has had great riding conditions lately. I’ve ridden that section of trail four times in the last couple of weeks. I love getting the looks from hikers, runners, snow-shoers, and skiers as I pass them.

I generally try to be polite when making a pass, here is my routine.

Step one, Follow quietly for 30 seconds assuming they heard me come up from behind and are just looking for a spot to pull over.

If step one fails I move on to step two, “Excuse me mind if I get by here” this almost always works.

Step three although the most fun of all trail passing techniques is reserved strictly for Ipod listening oblivious to the world trail blockers. The rule for deploying step three involves completely exhausting all techniques in step one and two. Just for good measure I repeat step two three times prior to deploying step three. Here's how it goes, I start looking for an opening just wide enough that I can manage to make a pass without actually making physical contact. One extra inch is all I need. As soon as the opportunity presents itself I pounce, with gusto and flare.  The end result is always the same, I succeed in making the pass and trail blocker dude usually ends up jumping into the bushes.

I love step three.

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