Saturday, July 31, 2010

Epic Ride @ SMBA

Long Ride today up at the SMBA trails near Skidmore College.  We wanted to do "Dam" the long trail that goes out extremely far from the trailhead with no support or civilization in sight.  We made it, but it was a struggle.  We started off on the carriage trail, and then we rocked "Swam Pass".  I was feeling rough.  I usually make it without putting a foot down, but today, I dropped it twice.  I'm going to go ahead and blame it on my heavy pack.  I was carrying water, some Gatorade . . . Ahhh, who am I kidding?  I SUCK!!!  Anyway, here's the Video:

After Swam Pass, we cruised on Bee over to the Dam trail.  We knew going in that it was gong to be tough.  We saw a vertical rock wall, and we told each other that it might not be possible.  Fortunately, we were prepared for a long day.  We hiked/biked/hiked/biked/biked our way towards the Dam Peninsula trail.  It was tough going in some spots, but really fun in other spots.  Here's a few pics:

The Fish Eye Lens of my helmet cam gives a little distortion, but you get the idea.  A lot of it was pretty great.  Some of it was pretty Gnarly.  For Example after we rode the Dam, The Dam Peninsula, and then the Dam for a while, we came upon this little treat (called "The Dragon's Back"):

It's this kind of ride that makes me ask myself if I'm a panzy.  I mean, it's a brutal knife edge rock, steeply dipping, with a rooty runout between trees.  When I first started mountain biking (a mere month and a half ago), I never would have even thought about attempting it.  But today, I stood on top and I wondered:  "Can I do this????"  I eventually decided "No."

But I still wonder if I could have gotten it.  The trail today was filled with chances like that.  Times that I asked myself if it was within my ability level, and I either risked it or pussied out (like a boss). When I risked it, I made it a bunch, but I missed it a few times.  Is there a harm in risking it?  I mean, obviously there is the risk of falling on some granitic gneiss (sorry, that's the geologist in me) and breaking my neck, but will that happen?  The times I risked it today I got away scott free (except for a bruised toe where I slammed my foot into a rock).  Will I be so lucky next time?

It seems that the older I get, the more these questions come up.  When I was younger, I wouldn't question riding some rocks, or hucking a cliff while skiing, or starting my life over in a new city.  But now that I'm 30 (ugh), I think about consequences a lot more.  What if I break my neck? Or tear my ACL?  Or go broke?

What is the correct way to think about things?  Is youthful naivete just that?  A stupid thought, that could only be dreamed up by someone who doesn't know any better? Or is there something behind it?  Maybe we should be pushing ourselves.  Maybe we should be expanding our horizons.  Maybe we should be making ourselves uncomfortable.  Maybe, just maybe, the smooth, easy path is the way that everyone else goes, and the only way to truly be great is to conquer the Dragon's Back.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting questions. I didn't follow this years TdF but I distinctly remember Lance saying last year he felt the biggest impact of being older, was not conditioning, but his fear of the big descents, and crashing. Part of getting older I guess. I got a very late start in life skiing. That fear is chasing me, and I'm running (skiing!) away from it as fast as I can!