I was twelve years old and sprinting along the edge of the Yukon River when I first listened to Sum 41’s “Does This Look Infected” album. That was my first taste of punk rock music and it felt like I had caught a virus. I listened to that album a lot back then and the fast tempo was overpowering. It was the soundtrack to running away, sprinting down single tracks, wheelie dropping picnic tables and poorly extending three-stars.

Sum 41 played a stellar show in the Loops just recently and I couldn’t believe how rowdy they were live. Their instruments were faster and vocals more aggressive as they selectively shredded tracks from “Does This Look Infected.” They were the same old songs but they somehow sounded so fresh and exciting.

After the show I pondered that perhaps the inquisitive album title was less about the gory artwork depicted on the cover and more introspective of the band members themselves. Watching them on stage, it was easy to see that they were indeed infected, and by something much bigger than themselves. Something so overpowering that it has taken control of their lives and steered them in the direction they have traveled.

I’ve been pretty fired up this spring. I had the chance to work on a funny hardtail video with Lone Wolf Productions and spend a week shredding my Process with Reuben Krabbe as we made deep cuts into my dream-list of trail photos. What’s more exciting though, is the time I’ve been spending charging single track on early mornings. I don’t know if it’s a change of habits or just the spring stoke getting the best of me, but I feel like I am riding harder and faster as I shred toward the sunrise. They are the same old trails but lately they have been feeling even more exciting than usual.

I’ve realized that early in the morning when I am sprinting along my favorite ridge-line and I can’t feel my fingers or my toes, when the frozen strip of dirt I follow is crunching loudly beneath my tires while layer upon layer of frosted sage passes through my peripherals, I don’t feel any need to ask others about the situation I’ve found myself in. It seems pretty clear to me that I’m infected by something too.