Imagine knowing with complete certainty that today is the last day you will ride for the entire winter. It’s a last chance, a curtain call. Collect everything you have stored on your imaginations back burner and either light it up or leave alone until spring. It’s motivating if anything. Less motivating is the sting of a cold November hard wood floor shattering against your naked feet, or the absence of a warm bed and cozy morning spent refusing to rise. But in certain circumstances, certain details are easily overlooked. A thick frost on my window and a saddened sun struggling to break through a concrete sky made it hard to grab my bike, but sometimes my desires reach beyond a conventional warm winter morning indoors. I guess my priorities are shifted slightly, dragging me further away from what appears to be comfortable and closer to the things that really make me happy.
Such was the case that frozen Sunday morn. So many things identical to the last few Sundays past yet I knew this one was different. It was the last. And in hindsight, it barely even happened. A frosted and slippery staircase descending from my deck left me flat on my back before I had even touched my bike and that same villainous frost had stolen nearly every line I had constructed off in the hills. Had it not been for our descent into the valley floors I doubt we would have escaped the silver lining where we wanted to film. Even at the lowest elevation possible the ground still shimmered in a frost layer border-lining what I consider safe to ride. On more than a few occasions, leaning over in preload for whips and flips my tires slid out from the take off much sooner than I had anticipated and left me flying a little more sideways than I had intended. Conditions were sketchy.
Only frigid winds and dark clouds had made their way through the loops in the past week and winter wasn’t getting any further away. But there we were breathing in the sting of a winter’s morning air while Matt and Karl set up their camera equipment. The sun was shining and their wasn’t a wind to whisper about. When all these seldom heard of realities come together at once the temperature becomes irrelevant. It’s time to put down as hard as you can. Matt and Karl seemed really excited to shoot a final segment for their Silvia winter video series and I was excited to be riding in front of their cameras again. Mutual respect runs high between the work we all do and I feel like it always brings out the best in us. So we chased black shadows along the hills and traced the golden flicker of a winter sun setting behind each ridge while I rode the sun out of the day with tires dancing on glittering dust.
Once the night rolled in and snow flakes began to fly we all gathered around to stare into a fire’s flicker and watch the stars whirl round. In typical fashion Silvia was on it, brainstorming post production potential, capturing the gnarliest time lapses and exercising their creative genius. But I was too occupied in thought to join the camera game by the time that evening rolled around. I was thinking about how the year had come and gone so fast, and went full circle by the end of it all. Starting and ending with a Silvia session and all the unimaginable events that occurred between those two points.
I am often overwhelmed with how fast things change and worried about when they will change again. But looking back on all that I had accomplished this past year, I finally felt content with just letting things role and seeing where they will end up. I hope that next year will follow a similar storyline and I can’t really see how it will go any other way. It’s all simple stuff. I want to continue traveling around to weird places and collecting stories to share with everyone. Capturing images and producing content to help spread the joy of riding bikes with people around the world. Never stop progressing or finding new ways to get sideways. And maybe even trying out some big bike contests like Chatel Mountain Style or even Rampage, should I be so fortunate to end up in such places. While the dates and locations will always be subject to change only one thing is certain. I’ll always be shredding hard.