By Ambassador Kathryn Dove

Over the years I have heard different definitions of the three types of fun, but the following definition is the one that has stuck with me:  Type 1 fun is fun while you are doing it.  Type 2 fun is fun when it’s over.  Type 3 fun is not fun.  For example, type 1 fun might be shuttling on a sunny day with perfect trail conditions, no mechanicals or injuries, and an awesome group of riders.  Type 2 fun might be a 40 mile mega ride involving river crossings, steep road climbs, possible bad weather, hike a bike sections, and questionable navigation, but it also includes some sweet single track or a new loam trail or epic alpine views.  Type 3 fun is generally when things go wrong.  Maybe you end up walking out in the dark because there is a mechanical that can’t be repaired on the trail and you are still 10 miles away from your car.  Or you get to the bottom of a giant ride only to realize that your key fell out of your bag at the top of the trail and you have to go ride it again.  Or you decide to try a rock roll that ends poorly and you have to walk your bike out 5 miles with a broken collar bone.  You get the point.  When I think of long sweet rides on my mountain bike I think of type 2 fun.  This might give people the wrong impression about the kind of riding that I enjoy the most because if given the choice I’m probably most likely to choose a type 1 fun kind of day, however I realize that when it comes to long rides, all of the ones that I have done or am likely to do in the future involve varying degrees of type 2 fun.  By the definitions mentioned above, type 2 fun is not actually enjoyable until after you are done with it.  For example the 40 mile mega ride with the river crossings and steep road climbs would involve a majority of type 2 fun, all of which are either very challenging, frustrating, or miserable, and generally not enjoyable by most people’s standards.  So why not just skip the type 2 fun, ride the bike park all day, and go straight to the type 1 fun?  Well here are five reasons why type 2 fun is awesome, worth doing, and should be at least a small portion of your mountain bike rides.

The annual Larch march. Photo by Jackson Dove

Reason 1- Type 2 fun makes you a better rider.  If your definition of a long ride is anything more than 10 miles then going for a 15 mile day is probably going to involve some type 2 fun, but the more of them you do the more your endurance will improve and pretty soon 15 miles is easy.  Maybe the reason your ride turned into type 2 fun was because of the weather and you got hailed on or walked your bike through snow in order to get to the top of a trail.  You will be a better rider because you will be more resilient to poor weather in the future and will have hopefully learned the importance of looking at the weather forecast and dressing accordingly for your next ride.  If it was type 2 fun because of muddy slippery trail conditions then you will become better at riding in the wet and will be more comfortable the next time you ride when the trail has more grip.  Whatever was challenging but possible about the ride is actually what makes you better in regards to that particular aspect of riding. 

Reason 2- Giant mega ride type 2 fun adventures usually involve beautiful views at some point.  This isn’t always guaranteed, but usually this is the main reason why we are motivated to go on rides that often involve pushing or carrying bikes up to the top of a rocky ridge in order to see miles in every direction and feel on top of the world.  Type 2 fun rides have taken me into the alpine zone all over the Cascade mountain range of Washington where at certain times of the year in certain zones the larches turn to a beautiful golden color that contrasts sharply with the bright blue sky and the sparkling turquoise alpine lakes that they surround.  They have also taken me high into the desert around Moab and Zion where the views of the plateaus that drop off endlessly to the valley below can make your jaw drop.  Experiencing the beauty and awe of nature is essential to connecting with the world around us and there some places that you just can’t get to without a little type 2 work. 

<<<< Photo by Courtney Blaine>>>>

Photos by Jackson and Kathryn Dove

Reason 3- You have time to think on the long sweet rides that usually define type 2 fun.  Life moves so fast all the time.  There’s work and projects and commitments and events that become harder and harder to keep up with that there’s not usually time to stop and think about it all until you are spending hours grinding away to get to the top of some epic ride.  Often I find myself thinking about upcoming trips or projects that I am working on or mountain bike goals that I have set for myself and how I am progressing towards those goals, but most often I find myself thinking about the giant meal and the tasty beverage that I am going consume after the type 2 ride is over which is probably the main reason that I go on these rides to begin with. 

Kathryn most likley thinking about food and tasty beverages at Tokul. Photo: Jackson Dove

Reason 4- There may not be the option to partake in type 1 fun so a type 2 fun ride is better than no ride.  Maybe you have a limited window of time so you can’t drive across the state to nicer weather so your option is to either ride in the rain or not ride at all.  Or you choose to go do trail work on that day which in my opinion is the epitome of type 2 fun since you really aren’t going to enjoy what you are working on until a later time.  Or maybe there is a global pandemic that has shut down the border to Canada so you can’t go ride park laps in Whistler all day.  Just because the shortest path to type 1 fun isn’t an option doesn’t mean that it’s not worth riding at all.

Reason 5- Last but not least, type 2 fun makes type 1 fun even better.  I would argue that type 1 fun might not even exist without type 2 fun.  When you have to pedal up a steep road for 2 hours and then push your bike up another hour to get to the trail that you are going to ride it makes the way down even sweeter.  Or when you have spent countless days riding in nasty muddy wet conditions it makes a rare hero dirt day so much more rewarding.  Also, it’s hard to beat the sense of accomplishment after finishing a tough 5000’-6000’ day especially when there were moments where you had to push yourself to keep going.

Side note: type 2 fun is always better when you talk your friends into suffering with you, photo: Jackson Dove

Oh the thingd we do to go ride our bikes in cool places. Photos: Jackson Dove

Type 2 fun is by definition not enjoyable until after you are done with it but there are many reasons to include type 2 fun in your life.  As we move into the winter riding season there will be many opportunities to include some type 2 fun in your life.  I hope you choose to do so, and as long as it doesn’t turn into type 3 fun, then I bet you will be happy you did it too.  Just remember, when it’s nasty and rainy or you are at the very start of a long sweet ride, the hardest part is getting started.

Above photos: Jackson Dove // Locations: Washington and Utah