I obsess over corners. No, not like the corner of the room, or the corner market, but rather that part of the trail that bends away from straight ahead. Whether single or double track, fireroad or jeep road, when it turns twisty and begins to shuck and jive, I am in search of that fine line; the path of least resistance; the zen moment of less equals more...less brakes, less doubt, less indecision...more swoop, more flow, more grace.
It is what I yearn for and struggle to achieve and mostly it eludes me. I keep in shape so I can ride well, but I do not chase speed as a rule so I can be at peace with being average there. I am a very good downhill rider, but I have no plans on being the fastest guy to the bottom. I can be beaten by a better rider and be OK with that. Props to them.
But, the corner and the puzzle it presents is an ever changing, ever morphing, ever demanding mistress with a curving whip that taunts me with whispered phrases: "Too much brake there." "You missed that line by 3"...sloppy." "Why did you not commit to the line you envisioned? What are you afraid of?"
It feels so good when you do it right and so mediocre when you do it wrong. So the few times I know I have nailed it leave a sweet trace in my brain and I long for that 'hit' again. It is a slippery thing, that fine line. It seems so easy but is not. If I can do it once here and there, I can get to where I do it nearly all the time, yes? No. Well, at least not yet.
It reminds me of a saying I heard once: "If a man's reach does not exceed his grasp, what's a heaven for?" This heaven is filled with loose corners banked the wrong way, tight apexes pivoting around a scrub oak at the left elbow, and rapid left-right-left transitions that need a delicate yet strong hand. It is this heaven I reach for and my grasp is tenuous at best.
"Please don't let me die."
5 years ago