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Passion, Camo & Deer Scent

Passion manifests itself in strange ways. Perhaps you ride tubular tires and painstakingly rip the seams, patch the latex tubes, and stitch them back together by an oil light, because that’s what they did back in the day. Maybe you build your own dirt jumps by hand. God knows how many hours spent shoveling, slapping, and smearing it takes to maintain perfectly buffed lips and trannys. Just recently, a few of us promoted our Arkansas State Cyclocross Championship event. Being good riders (not promoters) we overlooked a few key elements -- race numbers and maybe the most important of race venue fixtures. Passion. Dripping with passion.

Cyclocross is all about passion. For no other reason -- not boredom, psychosis, or even peer pressure -- would you deliberately subject yourself to the suffering. Perhaps a select few individuals possess a genetic mutation that allows them to float across the barriers and muck with nimble legs. The rest of us are plodding five minutes into the event, and that is the difference between the champions and the also rans. Float like a butterfly or not, we had plenty of game folks come to the race and endure an admittedly grueling course. Our newly crowned Arkansas State Champions took home medals and will receive official state champ skinsuits for their efforts.

  • Pro 1/2 men = Nate Rice
  • Cat 3 men = Will Frank
  • Cat 4/5 men = Wes Netherton
  • Masters = Larry Yancey
  • Women = Heather Ladd
  • Juniors = Dub Sorrells

Riding to work this morning, I got to thinking about camouflage. And I was thinking about driver’s perceptions of cyclists. Are we less ‘human’ to humans because our outline or shape is strange when we’re on a bike? Dogs and horses certainly may not recognize us as a friendly species. Are people the same to a slight degree? Do we add risk to our commute with disruptive color patterns? Is any of this relevant? Is it an intrinsic eye/brain phenomenon based on science? Or are all of negative past and future encounters with drivers and regular civilians rooted in sociology? Who knows? I’ll leave this as a parting thought, based on no accurate methodology and only slightly regular observation. When I ride out on the road in a full kit, (read: full blast matching lycra, shiny shoes, nice lid, etc.) I have experienced jerky behavior from country road drivers. Strip the lid, and cut off the sleeves, and I swear on my first mountain bike that the world around me changes. Hillbillies wave and say howdy. More human?

Many of us took off for a night ride after work on Monday night. It promised to be a fun adventure since we had a couple of night riding newbies. I figured there’d be crashes, but I wasn’t planning on being part of any one of ’em. I came within a nanosecond of being flattened by a spooked whitetail deer as it came across the trail while we were descending. Did it have antlers? I’ll never know because it was that close to me. Too close. So close I smelled it. I swear it jumped across my front tire.

Flow = to proceed continuously and smoothly. That’s but one definition. Last night at a local indoor skatepark got me thinking. In mountain bike terms, it’s hard to describe, even harder to realize. But you know it when you feel it, and when it’s not there, you’ll know that too. And that is what you’ll go home with. Flow is something you can do. It’s a way to ride. It’s the ultimate. I think it is so connected to what we ride though, that flow is something we can build. Flow is something we have to build. To understand the flow, you must first built the flow. The best parks and the best trails (and I’m talking about the ones that compel you to high five at the trailhead) are the ones that flow. Those are the rides that offer an experience that is memorable.

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