Head buzzing from wine, stomach full of cheese, meat and bread, I careened haphazardly down the mountain, the Rhone Valley far below and a group of howling bike riders in the exact same boat as I following closely behind.
We were mid-way through an eight-day sampling of some of the finest Swiss and French downhill mountain bike gems. Some days took us to established bike parks, and other days to obscure trails hidden to the general public, and only discovered through a combination of bribing locals, studying maps and some good ‘ol fashioned luck.
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.
Everyone knows the feeling of getting something shiny and new. It could have been your last birthday, or Christmas, or maybe a little treat to yourself after a momentous occasion, like finishing school.
I just bought a brand-new iPhone. I baby that thing like it is made of glass. I make sure the face is clean or that it is not getting stored with any sharp objects on my ride to work. I even put it in a little cloth bag on mountain bike rides to preserve its shiny, almost-new sheen. Some might say I go out of my way to do so.