In the Saddle: Team Band-Aid
I’ll never mountain bike alone again.And it’s not because I fell off a cliff and had to crawl for hours to safety, but because I found out that, like a lot of things, it’s a lot more fun to ride with other people.On recent solo rides, I’ve found myself ready to give up the sport, struggling to get up a full head of steam on steep climbs or get existential (is all life suffering?) and losing my mojo on the switchbacks – nothing more demoralizing than walking my bike past all the pretty soccer moms at the top of Smuggler Mountain Road.But last Sunday I hit the trails of Snowmass with my friends Keith and Cris, and had a blast.If that funny feeling of hanging my sneakered feet instead of skis off the chairlift wasn’t enough of a buzz, we followed miles of incredible singletrack on one of the best days of riding I’ve ever had.And the reason it was fun was not because of the technical trail leading all the way from Snowmass to Aspen (Cross Mountain and Government trails) or the bluebird skies or the fields bursting with alpine wildflowers, but because we motivated one another and laughed the whole way.I found myself ripping down tracks where I might otherwise hit the brakes, or grinding just one more crank on a particularly technical stretch because my friend was yelling, “Go for it, Charlie!”What’s the fun of a slow-motion ride over the handlebars on a tricky switchback if your friends aren’t there to laugh at you? And there is a certain comfort when you reach that critical-mass point while climbing, chest heaving like a fish out of the tank, snot flying everywhere, to look back and see the other guy looks just as bad.I’ll never go it alone again, and I know I can find others of my ilk by spotting the Band-Aids and scars on their shins.
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