Navigating peaks and valleys

By Matt Kaspryk, photo by Jaimee Fristedt.

It might sound really strange for me to admit this, but I think this is true for a lot of riders: my interest in mountain biking ebbs and flows – or has peaks and valleys, if you like.

There are times when the last thing I want to be doing is looking at a bike. Some might think that that sounds ludicrous coming from somewhat of an industry insider. Living the dream, right? Well it’s not always rainbows and daisies. It’s not even sunshine and geraniums some of time. As an art director for a magazine your blood pressure isn’t really a normal pulse. Mine at least, is a pulse with varying tempos that are completely in sync with print deadlines. So for a couple weeks a year (say at least 7) I don’t even want to look at a bike. And then it’s winter.

I think a lot of what attracts riders to mountain biking is the adventure and exploration the sport easily encourages, like Matt Hunter’s segment in the Strength of Numbers film. Unfortunately, the majority of these last few years I’ve been chained to desk wizarding the issues I hope our fans love and enjoy. I feel like I miss out on, or have to turn down, a lot of the fantasy opportunities and adventures that make mountain biking exciting for enthusiasts.

And I know I’m not alone. Somewhere out there are riders with real jobs with business casual bits who have McMansions of their own and damnable spawn they can’t get a way from who think the same longing thoughts I have for Colorado singletrack and alpine ridges.

This year is a little different though. I’m making time, I have a new bike on the way that I’m excited about, and come hell or shitty issues (maybe both) – I’m riding my bike in Moab suckas! At what’s likely to be one of the most (overplayed word altert, but this is actually a justifiable use) epic events of all time, The Big Mountain Enduro Series Whole Enchilada Enduro. I’m finding inspiration in all the normal places: better riders than me, destination editorial, mountain bike videos, company blogs of photo shoots, forum trolling, and my favorite mags.

New trails, new experiences, new places, new gear, new adventures, and hopefully new friends. Isn’t that why we all ride? Well, I guess there are nice things about health and escapism, and the purist thoughts of rigid steel… right? Meh, there’s something you can relate to in there, I bet.