Thursday, September 4, 2008

Here's to Dirt Roads.

[Fade in from black. Scene opens with a rider's-eye view from the saddle of a mountain bike rolling down a hilly gravel road through farmland, then crossfades to a mtn pass surrounded by snowcapped peaks. Piercing the pass is an old mining road winding through the Rockies, then the view from the saddle crossfades again to a fast descent, the brush alongside the So Cal fireroad a blur as the rider plunges down into a chapparall covered canyon. Final crossfade to a bottle of beer in hand (or wine glass or Coke, etc) raised in salute to the dirt road. Fade out to black]

Ah yes, cinematic history in the making, and with the eye as camera lens, this and scenes like it are filmed everyday in the cerebral cortex of thousands of riders across a town, the state, the country and the world. Singletrack may be the birthday cake in the mtn biker diet, but the meat and potatoes of most folks offroad time is the often disdained dirt road. Fireroads, jeep roads, doubletrack, gravel roads, mining roads, access roads, logging roads, forgotten roads. Dirt roads.

I like fireroads (what we call them in So Cal). We do not have the variety of choice singletrack that some lucky folks have, but we have miles and miles of fireroads, reaching from the valleys crowded with surburbians to the untraveled canyons and mountains. You can relax on a fireroad. No need to thread the needle so precisely like a singletrack. It is easier to look around and enjoy the sights, cruise a bit, take it all in. Not that it does not take skill to ride well, quite the opposite. Fireroads reward a smooth, clean line. You can go real fast downhill. Real fast. Blurry eyes, hanging on the bars for dear life, hot brake rotors, skittering tires, OMG fast....or not. You can climb. And climb. And climb. Just shut off the mind and pedal, brainless hamster.

I have had folks pass on rides with me cuz they were 'just fireroad rides'. Big mistake, IMO. Not that I don't enjoy a fine trail ride. I do. But if you get all choosy that way, you will miss a lot of fine riding.

It is a big country and there are lots of things to see, lots of places to pedal. And, if a plain old dirt road takes me there, that is just fine with me.

1 comment:

Enel said...

Fire roads are tools of the Devil.

They tempt me into riding waaay too fast on the downhills and I fear I will eat it hard some day on one.