I’ve been grappling with the question lately of what makes the perfect trail?
After pursuing this question around in circles for many days, I’ve realised what most people would have figured out in seconds …
It’s the trail which is perfect for you.
I loved most of the trails we rode up on the Mainland, and as I was riding around Clarence this morning, I realised that riding all those bermed flowing trails has actually improved my cornering skills (true story – though it may still be an internal zen thing at this stage).
Now I wasn’t a big fan of Clarence MTB Park when it first opened because I found too much of it too challenging and so I didn’t like it.
But I get it now: The rides at Clarence MTB Park (and the Meehan Ranges) are now (mostly) within my skill range and they provide me with a mix of relaxing and challenging riding that I enjoy. What’s more, the bits I can’t do … well I know they’re doable if I just keep trying.
Which brings me to the trail that brought all this existentialist angst on … The Juggernaught. I’ve realised that I’m not a fan of this track right now because although I can get down it and while I really enjoyed parts of it, I don’t have the skills or fitness needed to ride down it as it deserves to be ridden.
For one, I’m terrified of large jumps and drops … do you see the incompatibility here?
But I still think that’s great … because one day, if I work on it, I will have those skills and I know that the Juggernaught is there waiting for me when I do.
In the meantime I’ve heard plenty of feedback from those who got out there today and I couldn’t help but notice that the riders which I aspire to emulate are the one’s who enjoyed it the most.
I love that they’ve got these trails to challenge them.
This morning I started the day doing a couple of short loops around Clarence – just up the green corp climb twice – once to check out the downhill track and the second time to check out the new section of trail (presumably built by Dirt Art – or at least it has their track feel to it).
I loved that I managed to ride up all but four of the switchbacks (Yep, I really am that bad a rider). But I’m getting closer every time to getting them all. I also loved that I felt comfortable heading down and around all the other sections … even the downhill course.
Clarence is currently in my sweet spot for tracks (and pretty much everyone else’s if the number of riders out there are anything to go by).
I also decided to head out and ride a Kellevie loop today, just because I felt like getting away from the crowds. It was great to pull into the Kellevie park and only see one other car there after the busyness of Clarence MTB Park … and no guessing whose car it was…
Out on the trails – other than three dumb-ass trailbike riders who thought it was hilarious to ride past me, then drop the throttle and shower me with rocks and pebbles, and some old timers who were driving through in their ute, I had the hellfire trails all to myself.
What’s more, I ‘discovered’ several sections of single trail which I hadn’t previously known about just by riding around and keeping my eyes open (Rambler’s hint – Hellfire is going to be fun this year).
So I rode, and I explored, and the day passed as the day should pass.
It was another perfect trail day for me, because I was enjoying the riding and enjoying the day.
It is that simple I think.
So, after all this thinking, I’ve tempered my guilt of not loving the Juggernaught as it is, because I realise that it isn’t the trail that is wrong, it’s the experience I had there and also that I’m not yet ready for that trail.
So I’ll continue riding the trails I enjoy, trying out the trails that challenge me, and watching the likes of Danny Macaskill who show us that you can ride things you thought were impossible.
And in the end, I hope we’ll all agreed that every trail is a perfect trails … for someone, and we won’t disparage those who can’t ride them, or dumb down trail features, so that we all can ride them.