Downieville = sex on two wheels

In the pars pro toto sense, where Downieville obviously refers to the incredible mountainbiking trails in and around the little town in the Sierra foothills. I’ve often had trouble in explaining to people what I believe is so great about mountainbiking, so I thought I’d give it here another try, using a stream-of-consciousness style of prose (in obligatory italic). Beware, if this doesn’t work, I will feel obliged to write a poem next time.

...imagine you’re with your bike on an elevated and exposed mountain plateau you’re more than 7000 feet high and breathing hard under a deep blue sky the sun beats down on you but you enjoy the fresh breeze as you’re riding you’re cruising down a meandering, dusty and rocky trail that gets narrower as it goes and finally snakes its way into the upper reaches of the forest, a mix of Douglas firs and some isolated birches with leaves ranging from yellow to fierce red in this autumn sun it’s getting darker now the massive branches of the pines catch most light your eyes need time to adapt you’re entering the deep entrails of the forest you’re in love with this gorgeous trail, its smooth curves, tight switchbacks, steep drops you’re floating and you feel devoid of all gravity and worries and you hope your weightlessness will last forever but the trail is a jealous and possessive lover it demands all your attention and focus any carelessness, mistake or perceived neglect is punished hard you’re getting rock steps thrown at you, ruts and roots and boulders and slippery logs it keeps getting narrower vertigo-inducing drop-offs on your side don’t look into them, keep your focus, shift your weight and feather the brakes, don’t digress and soon you’re flowing again you feel in perfect harmony with the world around you, you sense the rhythm of the trail you’re dancing a delirious tango you’re making sensual love you’re aware and sharp as a blade it gets steeper you’re going faster and faster you catch air over that rock ledge but there is the abyss and the fast flowing river thirty feet below you bounce down and squeeze the brakes hard the muscles in your fingers are burning you release the levers and lean the bike into the tight righthand corner and you continue your way it goes on and on and you don’t want to feel fatigue you don’t want your bliss to end soon it will end though and you will hit the road but you won’t feel tristesse or resentment only peace and something that must come really close to happiness…

So I went to Downieville this saturday with Thomas and Inge, my mtbsh partners in crime, on what would turn out to be the last day of the Northern Californian summer, and we took the shuttle up to Packer Saddle. The most defining parts of the ride for me, responsible for my lyrical state of mind, are the lower section of Butcher Ranch and the entire Second Divide trail. It was also the first serious test of my new Yeti 575 and boy, it did quite deliver on its promises. I never felt so at ease and flowing here as with this bike, even though I still bailed out on some of the hairiest sections. I was planning on some Tahoe riding as well on sunday, but the sudden storm front coming in overnight and the rain and snow made me decide otherwise.

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