Sunday, May 01, 2011

Mountain bike pacing: Is there room for all of us?

Since I'll be away from my NC playground for over six weeks, I opted to ride my beloved Kerr Scott Dam mountain bike trails after church today...sort of a going away present to myself.

I changed up the course, took the Overmountain Trail to the Shiner's Gap loop, rode it, then doubled back across the dam and rode the Dark Mountain Trail.  About 2.5 hours of all around good fun...accept for one rough encounter when returning on Overmountain.

Was climbing a slight hill when I almost got steamrolled by a high speed pace line.  Lead dude looked like Sammy Hagar (I just listened to Hagar's new autobiography on audiobook; he was the owner of one of the original mega mountain bike retailers in northern California...maybe it was Sammy).

These guys could barely scrub off enough speed to avoid a pile up.  I veered off into the brush and they raced past, some with sheepish looks on their faces; it can't feel good to run an old timer off his line.

I took it slow and easy after they were gone, thinking about what constitutes a legitimate right to the trail. Should the fastest rule the turf while the rest of us struggle to stay out of the way?  Can the fast athletes ride at a level where they can scout the next section and watch for oncoming traffic?

I'm not going to apologize for my pace.  It's where I'm at in life and I refuse to give up my identity as a mountain biker.  I may be slow, but I extract just as much satisfaction as the fast guys.  There has to be room for riders of all abilities to embrace the sport.

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