I know, I know, all I've been doing for the last week and a half now is bitching and moaning about how much it sucks to not ride my bike, and how much I want my foot to heal. If you look back, I was super positive about the whole thing for about a week. Then I hit a total low spot, and now I think I'm managing to dig myself out of it.
Occupying myself with different things than riding isn't the problem. I've found ways to occupy my time and now seem more busy on a daily basis than I was when I was riding everyday. I guess I'm just catching up on all that stuff I'm actually supposed to be getting done when I'm out in the woods. The real problem is that I'm missing something I genuinely love doing. I'm missing something that can always bring a smile to my face. It's cliche to say that "any ride is a good ride," but in honesty, any ride is a good ride. Just being out in nature, hearing the crunch of your tires on single track, and listening to your heart rate and breathing combine to make a symphony of suffering is something you can't get anywhere else. Sure there are other things in life that bring me similar joy, but nothing I've yet done has produced the same feeling of freedom and ultimate confidence I get from riding my bike.
I've evolved over the years on two wheels. First I was a triathlete, then a roadie, then a xc mountain biker, and now I've moved on to something all together different. I surely like more gravity oriented riding, but skillful climbing makes me happy too. I like getting air, but I'd rather ride down a steep rocky trail, or focus my attention on a chunky rock garden that doesn't seem ridable. I like riding the stuff that looks like it belongs on the moon rather than on a trail. Skills have taken a new meaning, one that has more to do with enjoyment than getting from one place to another in the least amount of time. I used to ride to go fast, now I just ride to ride. In many ways, I consider myself an artist when I ride. Like any medium, riding to me is an expression and an extension of who I am. It's more than just exercise, and it's more then just competition. It's something I would do if no one was watching, and more often than not I like it better that way.
Sure there is stress that comes along with my riding, but I'd imagine it's no more than what a painter or a sculptor feel for their tools. Without a chisel, what is a sculptor? Without a brush, what is a painter? I stress over my bike not because I see it as an object of desire, but because I see it as an extension of me. It's the instrument that allows me to create, and with it I feel limitless. Handlebars, wheels, suspension, tires, and gears combine to allow me entry to a world of my own making. It's a place I can go where there are no rules other than the ones I prescribe myself. They can be changed and rearranged as and when I see fit. It's my universe of one, only allowing the natural progression of my riding as evolution.
Like I said, I miss my bikes.