By Stevil Kinevil
This is the landscape of your standard local ride. You’ve seen it all a hundred times before, but have you really? Taking a friend to your usual stomping grounds and showing them your loop is a fantastic way of blowing the dust off of your proverbial routine. It slows things down and offers a rare chance to look at everything through a brandnew set of eyes.
Sharing my hometown bounty really has become one of my favorite things about the local trail network. Wide-eyed, friends from near and far get to enjoy that which I have for so many previous years, and more often than not, their enthusiasm becomes infectious. Second to this, it allows me to take a look at views, lines and the beautiful surroundings that I might occasionally otherwise take for granted. While variety is oftentimes considered by most to be the spice of life, it is also equally important to stop and smell those roses, which is exactly what donning a tour guide’s hat provides.
I’ve been very fortunate over these many years not only to have a fantastic array of trails within a short bike ride from my house, but I’ve been equally lucky to have had a revolving door on it, ushering in a regular assembly of friends from all over. With our bikes tuned, or in most cases not, we begin our adventure with anticipation: theirs for riding somewhere new, and mine for sharing that of which I am so proud.
Seeing the standard route with fresh eyes typically opens mine wider to the many memories that have been established upon them. “That’s where I fell into the creek” or “that’s where we once held an outlaw cross race…” Perhaps my companions don’t even hear my perceived points of interest, or if they do, don’t care. It’s akin to flipping through dusty old photo albums and reliving times potentially long forgotten. As you rip through the trees and descend into narrow rocky chutes, you get the chance to pick all the choicest lines, your friends following your lead and marveling at your skill, which of course took years, dozens of attempts, and most likely a fair amount of skin and blood to hone. In the midst of your journey maybe you’ll be reminded of a spot where you still have a sixer of beer stashed, or be inspired to take a left where you usually go right. The world is your oyster, kid, and thankfully there’s enough to share with everyone.
Perhaps it’s a selfish thing in which to revel. Your head might even swell a bit when your compatriots all gush over how well you know the network, or how adeptly you travel across it. You can tell stories of trail maintenance days and how you alone cut an entire section of singletrack that the group enjoyed. This is your jewel, and you’ve worked hard to maintain its luster. Maybe some of these folks will take a bit of that passion home with them and apply it to the health and well-being of their own hometown network. For the proud steward, this is both the goal and the reward.
Every corner, tree, switchback and drop might be as familiar to you as the back of your own hand, but because you’ve put that abundance of time into riding, caring for and learning about all of it, with your crew trailing along behind, you’ve all earned every ounce of pleasure that they provide.