There is a certain comfort with the trappings of home. The familiar nooks and crannies of a house that one has grown up in, the hiding places, the comfort that is bred through this familiarity. The trails I grew up on evoke similar feelings. My travels take me all over the world, but my roots run deep into the dark forest loam of the Kootenays, my first home. I recently visited my hometown of Nelson for a few days, and managed to get out for a few mountain bike rides.
More than just the trails themselves, the feeling of re-immersing myself in an environment that nurtured me from a young age was a comfort in itself. The stoic and silent mountains that I grew up in seemed to welcome me as I climbed up the logging road towards the first Kootenay trail of my return. Even the scents of the forest seemed familiar, reminding me of my youthful adventures on the very same mountain.
As I dropped into the trail, I was struck by not only vivid memories of the singletrack ahead, but my body also remembered, muscles anticipating explosive moves that lay ahead. It was like I had never left; two seasons of absence erased in the few moments it took to push off at the top. The track had evolved over time, of course, but I had evolved too, and I was ready for any surprise or alteration to the trail. Favourite lines re-introduced themselves, and new routes popped up as well, some of them attacked and some of them noticed too late, but committed to memory for the next chance at the trail. That chance might be the next day, or maybe two more years away.
It is an intoxicating feeling to return to trails that have ingrained themselves in my riding style. These trails didn’t just leave a mark because of a single good day once upon a time, but these nooks and crannies of the forest left an impact on me as a young person; moments that played a crucial role in life decisions that led me to where I am today. To re-visit these special parts of my upbringing was uplifting and re-assuring.
And not to mention, some damn good bike riding too.