I was going to spend my evening sorting through laundry, vacuuming my truck and getting some other household chores out of the way. But I just got back from a killer photo shoot with Matt Miles and I really need to scribble some things down before they fizzle out of me. This evening was the first spring sunset I’ve spent shredding on camera and what a stellar evening shoot it turned out to be. One of many more, I’m certain. Spring hit me like a brick wall this time without a frustrating shoulder season to speak of. One week we were blanketed with snow, the next we were shredding in dust. Only a day or two of mud in between. But the aggressive alteration of weather systems hasn’t been the only part of spring to smack me in the face, an abrupt change of pace in my schedule sort of shocked me as well.
Up until this evening I was feeling a bit stressed. Worried that perhaps I’d bitten off just a little more than I can chew in the way of such time consuming commitments as camps and columns, in addition to my typically buck wild schedule of shooting and shredding. This season has barely even begun and it feels as though I’ve been on the go for months already. In the few short weeks since winter’s passing I’ve established new relationships with some talented photographers like Steve Riffel, who is hot on the action sports photography come-up, and Afton Flynn, who shoots some inspirational portraits that really excite my imagination. Having a regular column with Pinkbike.com has turned out to be just another crafty way of getting people stoked on riding. And finally, I’ve also had the chance to put in the ground work to make freeride clinics at the Kamloops Bike Ranch a regular occurrence and our first round of camps turned out to be a flying success. When I take a minute to reel all of that back into perspective, thing’s don’t seem so hectic anymore.
That’s exactly what I was doing while anxiously awaiting the evening sun atop some gnarly ridge lines earlier this evening. Reeling things back into perspective. Matty had a new long lens on his camera, a fresh perspective on the world. After Kona sent me heli-biking in Bralorne last fall, I’ve been feeling a fairly fresh perspective on possibility as well. It felt like just yesterday we had spent a cold November afternoon playing this very same game with the sun. A lot of things have changed since then and it could have been easy to be pulled in different directions. So I could have been feeling stressed over things I didn’t care about. Things that didn’t have anything to do with riding my bike. And that’s when I remembered that no matter what happens, riding my bike is all that matters.
No matter how much time rolls by or whatever nonsense may attempt to exist in between, all that’s ever going to matter is the time I spend shredding my bike. Moments like the one I was about to drop in on are why I’m here. They’re when I feel alive, like I don’t just exist. I can forget about any worries, any inhibitions about whats in front of my tires. I can forget about trying to figure things out, wasting time sorting out small details that will never add up to anything anyway. I can let my instincts take control of every little motion. Muscle memory can play the cards and the Supreme Operator will do the rest of the talking. So regardless of what needs to be done to get to those moments, it will always be worth it. If working hard to spread the love of mountain biking is how I can get there, then that work is ten times more than worth it.
So when the sun finally took a glorious peek through a featureless sky of swollen concrete swirls and Matty’s arm shot to the air, it was time to take that moment. I dropped in on the waves of dusty clay and in a couple of quick seconds everything was dissolved. In some short but sweet instance between the top and bottom of those cliffs I remembered the simplest and most important thing in my life. I love riding my bike. Skidding out the bottom of my line and squinting in the sunset I watched a pillow of dust sail away to the west, and I smiled because I knew that there will be a lot more of these moments to come.
If you would like to see more of Afton’s photos, check out her Flickr!
See you on the trails,