Yes, there is a reason that I haven’t written anything in almost a month. There’s a reason that I didn’t say post, but written anything in a month. There’s a reason that every time I sat down at the computer the blank screen just mirrored the thoughts in my head and my eyes reflected that blank mirror. And then I did something else.
There’s a reason that I don’t know how to fall asleep anymore. That I close my eyes and the thought of letting go is foreign to me. There’s a reason that there is no rest behind my eyes or that I don’t remember any night from 2014 between the hours of 9 PM and 3 AM. And that I was completely incapable of staying still and asleep between 3AM and 5AM or dragging my ass out of bed to get to work on time always was just that, dragging.
There’s a reason I’ve been grumpy since I was about 17. It’s something we don’t talk about, it’s not so much a secret as it is an embarrassment, which says more about our society than the reason. It runs in the family and we’ve always just kind of known and left it like that alone and quietly understood. And no one said anything those days that I never got out of bed or even knew how many days I almost didn’t get out of bed or wanted with every fiber of my body to stay in bed with a bottle of whiskey and some political documentaries. There’s a reason and we don’t talk about it.
There’s a reason that I have that one Cure album and that I know every word to every fucking song. I always assumed that everyone had a month as a teenager that they didn’t leave the basement and just listened to the whiney voice of Robert Smith, over and over and over again.
I tried to blame it on my time in Chile and the fact that I learned to do nothing very well. Leaving a system that keeps you moving, all the time, and entering one that is fine with you taking off for a weekend and not coming back for a month and always being able to find a place to stay despite the fact that you have no plan. I like to think that the inner vagabond was let out and I am incapable of being still unless I am on the move. That the freedom of the road lit a fire in my soul that anguishes when I am not in the middle of nowhere feeling the emptiness of the wilderness. But if we were honest, it has nothing to do with that.
There’s a reason I like to ride my bike. It doesn’t matter where it is, but mashing on the pedals and finding myself completely focused on, not the trail, but the places in my head I can’t get to shut up other than when my body and brain are on autopilot and for some reason that happens to be when I am bouncing and jostling over rocks and obstacles that I really shouldn’t be able to ride over on a bike. There’s a reason I crave those moments. I need them to feel like everything in the world is going to be fine, right and that I’m not going to die. I’m not sure what it is about my DNA that makes these fleeting moments of clarity so vital, I just know that they are.
There’s a place aboard a bicycle that my mind finally shuts off and the world becomes silent, it’s my kind of meditation. Hyperfocused on the many things roaring at you as you blaze down the singletrack and letting your body do exactly what it needs to do to avoid every single one of them. A flick of the ankle to lift the front wheel over a rock, a slight twist of my back to throw the rear wheel around a sharp rock, letting my wrists go entirely slack so the jostling of the front wheel doesn’t knock my teeth out and letting the bike flow underneath me.
As much as I like to ride my bike and to explore new locations, new places and virgin singletrack, there’s a reason I always come back to the Goose. It’s part nostalgia and part necessity. It’s a sugar coated pill that takes me so quickly to the place I want to be. Even those days that I never should have left bed are turned into days of celebration after about five minutes of pedaling over the Goose. It’s a quick, easy fix.
The first time I rode dirt in clipless pedals was on the Goose. This also happened to coincide with when I first completely mastered the track stand. The two going hand in hand as a necessity to learning that not remembering to clip out is a bad thing or stalling out on an up move whilst clipped in requires quick exit or the ability to stay in one place for a few seconds while your brain wraps itself around the idea that your foot is attached to the machine that is dragging you back down the sandstone you just came up. It’s like a pop quiz for your balancing skills.
And despite the fact that I have ridden the Goose for the last 18 years and made my way around its rims more or less consistently during that time, I always come back. The repetition of the moves never gets old. It’s like the repetitive nature of religious worship, trying to perfect our lives. I might be skidding down slickrock while others are kneeling down and praying toward mecca at the same times every day or chanting mantras while dancing in the street. The venue may be different but practicing for perfection is the same.
There’s a reason my right shoulder is fucked. The knot that sits behind my shoulder blade extends up to my shoulder and down to my mid back and almost crosses over to the other side of my spine. This giant knot is where the pain terminates, it starts in my index finger finding its way up through my wrist, my elbow and maximizing its efforts in my shoulder.
All of this can be linked back to and directly attributed to my crash on Little Creek about six years ago. Apparently sticking one’s arm directly out right before hitting the sandstone from five feet up is not a good idea. After six years, I almost have full range of motion back, but it’s just enough to keep me from grabbing my handlebars correctly. My elbow doesn’t twist quite like it needs to so my wrist has to bend more than normal to grasp the bar. This puts weird pressure on inside of my hand and the back side of my shoulder.
There’s a simple solution, stop riding my bike. That’s what broke my arm in the first place and it’s the one thing I do that makes it hurt every time. Of course, there’s a reason I can’t do that.
There’s a reason this is finally being posted and that it happens to be the first thing I have written this year. It’s the same reason that I remember every night, so far, of 2015 and that I had to replace the brake pads on my bike. The smiles correspond to miles and I’m dubbing this year, the year of the bike.
Ride More. P. L. and R.