Today, I have some purely hypothetical questions. Purely.
- What would you do if you were a mountain biker who generally relied on your riding friends to find the best trails to ride on — and then you moved to a new place, where you don’t have any riding friends, and you don’t know the area?
- What would you do if you heard from neighbors that there’s a network of mountain bike trails within a mile of where you live? Would you go check out that network of trails?
- But what if the neighbors who told you about the network of trails also said those trails weren’t very fun? And since, judging by these neighbors, their idea of a trail that is fun wouldn’t exactly tax you, would you bother checking out the trail?
- And how about if, when you first moved to this new area, you had twin two-year olds, a new job at a highly-competitive company, and a wife with cancer? Would you make the time to check out that trail? Or would you more likely just barely manage to get any time riding in at all, usually in the form of bike commuting?
- Now suppose that more than a year and a half has gone by. Your twins are now four, your wife has been cancer-free for almost a year, you’ve got a Dahon Flo you need more experience on in order to write a review for Cyclingnews, and it’s the first sunny day in what feels like a century. Oh, and you’ve also taken the day off work to watch the kids because your wife has a cold — but the kids are now at preschool for a few hours and your wife is taking a nap. Suddenly, you remember that trail network you’ve still never looked at. Should you go ride it?
- Assuming that you decided that you should go ride that trail, suppose that for the first 200 yards, this trail is gravelly, boring doubletrack going alongside a neighborhood catchbasin. Should you keep going?
- Imagine that you figure that as long as you got suited up and got the bike out you may as well see where this boring trail leads to. Furthermore, imagine that the trail suddenly takes a hard right onto steep, wild, butt-behind-the-saddle singletrack. Would you be surprised?
- Consider now for a moment that you discover that why the neighbors don’t like this trail network is not because it’s too easy, but because it was too twisty and technical. Further consider that as you ride along in the middle of February, you are boggled at how much trail there is, and how good it all is. How many times would you kick yourself, and how hard?
- Having found a terrific mountain biking park containing miles of beautiful forested singletrack within a half mile of your house 20 months after you moved to aforementioned house, would you wonder out loud to yourself if you can even legitimately call yourself a mountain biker?
- Imagine if, after you’ve been riding for about 90 minutes, the sun starts to go down, so you have to head on home, even though you’ve only ridden maybe a quarter of the trail network. Would you be dying to go back and ride more of it as soon as humanly possible, if not sooner?
- And finally, the big question: which emotion would hold greater sway: irritation and embarrassment at yourself for having taken forever to find a great mountain biking network right out your front door, or elation at the newfound knowledge that you have a great mountain biking network right out your front door?
Oh, and one last question: how would you feel about weighing 171.4 pounds and having a jackpot you will be giving away on Friday unless you get your act together?
PS: My “Pro Cycling Teams Unveil 2006 Hair Strategy” article has been published in Cyclingnews.com. Prudently, they edited out the Levi Leipheimer before-and-after section. Anyway, if you liked the excerpt I published here a couple weeks ago, you’ll probably like reading the whole thing (the converse is also true). Click here to read it now.