This topic has been a long time coming. I have thought about this on and off for the past couple years. Mountain biking really has changed my life for the better.
It all started with my response to a newsgroup posting at UVic. Someone was looking for someone to go mountain biking with. I thought it would be something new, and something fun. It would be a great way for me to meet some new people, and get outdoors.
I should back up a little bit here. This first occurred in the summer of 1995. A few years earlier I was in high school. During this time I was not interested in physical activities of any sort. I only ever watched T.V., did my homework, and played on my computer. I hated Physical Education in school, and stopped taking it as soon as I could. I was starting to gain weight, and I was not liking it. I was just not motivated enough to do anything about it.
Skip forward to 1995. I met up with Mike (who later turned into a great friend of mine), and we went riding. Back then I was on the crapiest of crap bikes. Yet that one day turned everything around. Off road riding was difficult, muddy, and lots of work. I was hooked. That summer I bought a more sturdy bike. It was made for off road.
Time past, and Mike and I kept riding. While I was in school, I only got to ride on the weekends. However, I made it a priority to ride on the weekends. First it was one day a week, then it grew to two. I began a work term in Victoria. Soon I was riding after work. I had really been bitten by the biking bug. Three and four rides a week.
Large portions of paycheques were put aside for new biking equipment and gear. It soon became an obsession.
I rode for many reasons.
Soon my riding took a turn for the worse. I began to love the adrenaline rush! I would try to ride the steepest, gnarliest obstacle I could. I couldn’t get enough of this riding. Soon my abilities began to exceed the capabilities of my bike. I began considering buying a new bike. I finally decided on the Santa Cruz Bullit. I was in the process of saving my money for it. Then the unfortunate happened. I found cracks in the frame of my bike. I was forced to buy my Bullit earlier than I had inteded.
This new bike opened my eyes even more. I loved speed in the past, but this bike just begged for speed. It loved air, and I soon began to warm up to jumping. I was still obsessed with riding, but my obsession had now changed from long XC rides to short but super technical DH/freeriding.
I got myself a good set of lights, and discovered the magic of riding at night. Even trails that I know like the back of my hand can be completely unrecognizable at night. The cool crsip night air coupled with high speed trail bombing was a new twist on an old love.
I think back on my evolution of my riding style, and it brings a smile to my face. I had come a long way since high school. I never liked sports, and since I started riding, I got involved in a few other sports. I played soccer for a summer season, I took up Ultimate which I played for several seasons. I go for more walks now, I hike more. In general I tend to enjoy the outdoors much more than I used to.
I am not ashamed of what I used to be like, but I am sure proud of what I have accomplished.