It’s a normal dreary winter day. The clouds hang low and thick as if they’ve just given up on their job to support the sky. Instead, they rained down pieces of themselves in a manner just heavy enough to completely saturate me. I find myself in this odd purgatory of riding space: my usual trails have fallen prey to some serious logging, leaving slash piles and hints of what used to be hiding under feet and feet of tree debris. It’s been frustrating, but I can’t complain as I still write on paper, always forget my reusable grocery store bags, and still…go to the bathroom. Regardless, it’s been a frustrating winter trying to negotiate new routes when I find so much comfort in the loops that I’d grown to love.
But while I’m struggling with the reality that my mid-day rides aren’t so simple anymore, I’ve found some solace in exploration. The closure of my routine route has forced me to reconsider the vast network of trails that Bellingham has to offer. It’s no secret: this place is an absolute mecca for mountain biking. Galbraith alone has around 60 miles of pristine singletrack. Even with the logging activity, there are still dozens of really fun trails waiting to be ridden. I’ve found myself taking rights when normally I’d take a left. I climb just a little bit further in hopes of having a bit more of a descent, and usually, I’ve been really happy with the end result.
This particular day I found myself in one of Bellingham’s special semi-secret zones. There were no cars parked at the start of the climb, which I was happy about. It was one of those days where I just felt like riding alone. I cruised up the soft road that had been rendered completely mushy by the inches of rain that had fallen in the prior week. My Process 153 CR DL kept my legs spinning while it slowly became splattered with specs of brown gooey mud from the road. I’ve always thought aqua and brown were nice complements to each other, so I didn’t mind this newfound color scheme.
When I reached the top of the climb I looked beyond the current ridge and onto the now-scarred mountain that we all call our home. In my mind I said a little ode, telling it we’d all be back on her trails soon enough, but for now, this time of discovery was proving useful. After all, variety is the spice of life. With that thought, I took the left instead of the usual right. I found myself navigating punchy rock sections and hanging on for dear life while I somehow managed to keep it upright in steep sections that at this point were really just funnels of mud. When I reached the end of the trail I felt invigorated and happy to accomplish the ride on a trail where I don’t have much experience. Turns out that even logging can provide a silver lining, it’s just a matter of being willing to see it.