Not so long ago I didn’t know how to get air on my bike. I quickly realized how much this limited 1) my speed 2) my style 3) my fun, and I started spending most evenings at the local jump park. Camp jumps became an essential part of every weekend. I bought a big bike, fashioned summer vacations around bike parks and eventually I got to be okay at it. It doesn’t take much to make me very, very happy.
Luckily, I have dogs that wake me up at 5:30 AM, which leaves me 3.5 hours to have coffee, get out for a run or bike ride, have second coffee, clean up, and ride my bike to work.
When I use this time for a bike ride, it’s going to be short and so it has to be extra fun and that means it has some air opportunities. My old favorite morning-ride trail had all the key ingredients for a perfect morning ride: the climb, the traverse and a super fun down. Over the summer, though, it turned into a river and partially washed away. The local trail builders fixed it up to a certain extent, but it hasn’t been the same since. Not to mention the top part is the scariest, blown out mess of a gully you can imagine.
My new favorite is a little freeride trail up towards the mountains. I often see deer or moose. I almost never see another person. There is a climb, a brief traverse, which leads to more climbing, and then super fun down. More climb, super fun down, repeat.
Why is air so important? Why is it so damn fun? I mean, riding a mountain bike is fun enough, and then you pedal pedal pedal, fast fast fast, and then there’s a ramp so you compress, lift and you land and keep riding. Air. The whir of the hubs stops, it feels like wheeeeee but silent. Like meditation if you can actually lose yourself in the breath. It is pure, brief. Do this when the sun is barely rising, you lock eyes with a deer before it bounces off down the hill, and maybe you get the taste.