Welcome to the Opposite Pedal, the ramblings of a man who’s spent too many hours alone on the trail. Z – A mumblings on mountain biking life and language.
Words: Clive Forth
Images: Frazer Waller
Click here for part 2.
This week we roll down alphabet trail and come to the X roads, decisions need to be made in which direction we take. Will trail 1, 2 or 3 lead to this week’s letter “X” for Xanadu?
noun ( pl. Xanadus )
used to convey an impression of a place as almost unattainably luxurious or beautiful: three architects and a planner combine to create a Xanadu.
Does anyone really desire to ride a lame trail? I know I don’t and I doubt it very much if you could put your hand on your heart and say out loud, “yes thrill me no more, I long for a trail that’s knee deep in mud and goes no where”.
Trail Xanadu has all the best trail features from all the best trails across the globe, it has something for everyone: the climbers, the downhillers, the jumpers, the trials riders, everyone! No demographic of the mountain bike population is ruled out on Xanadu, it’s got the lot, even a cafe bar with restaurant and bike shop serving the finest goods.
The ultimate trail we seek (and find) seems to be endless, the largest luxury in life ‘time’ is no longer a factor, it pails into insignificance. Views are stunning and the hand of God himself crafts the features, just for you.
The thrill of finding and riding sweet trails is up there with the greatest highs available to mankind, for many, carnal activity and the sight of a new born are the only activities that raise endorphin levels to such an extent, so powerful is the buzz serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline provide when flying down the trail of choice.
So are we adrenaline junkies or do we crave serotonin and dopamine? The rush of adrenaline is a sign that you were getting it wrong, it’s the chemical that helped you ride out having broke yourself, of course sometimes you save it and the hit is from our friend adrenaline and not the ground, but I guarantee it is soon followed by the happy buzz of dopamine and serotonin.
Like the lame trail, adrenaline is not my first choice and a near-miss is not my preferred option, instead I want that happy buzz, to exit the trail with a wide smile and sudden urge to whoop whoop while giving God a high five for the awesome ride buzz.
This feeling is courtesy of serotonin and dopamine, our natural ecstasy that is on tap at the cafe bar with the sweet view on Xanadu trail, you have all felt it following that Zen like moment on an awesome ride. This is what we seek, but it comes at a price. Like all highs there is a low that follows, that ‘post Alpine depression’ as I call it, the Monday blues after a long weekend on the trails.
We form visions in our mind’s eye of that ‘sweet spot’, we hunt it here, and we seek it there. This addiction to trail takes a hold and corrupts other areas of our lives, for most this is not in a negative way, no worse than the odd glass of red wine or pint with ‘the lads’. But for a few it goes beyond social acceptability and enters the realm of addiction and obsession.Just one more!
The cafe bar on Xanadu trail is not just accessible by bike, you can log on to the www and peruse the menu, you can view the playlist in a nearby bike shop that has that prestigious ‘affiliation’ to Xanadu. Like the dodgy geezer that offers you consumables in a darkened den of dance music the purveyors of the tools-to-do-the-job may also eat into your mind-set as the addiction to riding grows.
We just have to be thankful that the high is attainable and is, for the most part, a healthy obsession. I’ll happily confess my addictions and if you do stop at the cafe bar on Xanadu trail you will see a table with my name on it. Please feel free to pull up a chair, grab a tasty beverage of your choice and join me to appreciate that view, you’re always welcome at Xanadu.
Clive Forth. MTBSkills, Transition Bikes.
Follow Clive on twitter - twitter.com/cliveforth
Images courtesy of www.frazerwaller.com