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I believe Myles Davis said something to the effect of, “the beauty in music is the space between the notes”. I have realized it is the same in Mountain Biking.
I stopped enjoying Whistler Bike years ago but I keep coming back. Hoping, I guess, that the my-hair-is-on-fire-let’s-go-fast-30-something-kid I once was will return.

That kid is a beautiful part of my past but he doesn’t live here anymore.

I still love going fast but it needs to be balanced with some meandering on flat and uphill sections of trail or even gasp, DIRT ROAD.
5 -10 Minutes of flying down a trail followed by standing in a shopping mall at the bottom of a mountain waiting to get on chairlifts just doesn’t do it for me anymore.*

It hurts too! My entire body aches after a day of downhilling, especially my upper back, shoulders and neck. I can take the pounding, life is tough, but is it worth it?
I was in such good shape this spring that I really wanted to prove to myself that I still have it (what ever it is that a middle of the pack pro racer “had”).

Strava was my training tool, “faster Gene faster!”. Racing has always been about me, I don’t race other people, I race the clock.
Steve Peat and Greg Minnaar are the only people I have ever raced (not that they knew it!). For me it was about seeing how far I could push the limits of control and how close I could come to the best in the world.

Well, that quest is over.

I realized in April that while chasing faster times on trails I wasn’t having as much fun riding as I normally do. “Well, training takes work”, I thought. A little less fun is the price I pay to go fast.

What? Sacrificing fun? Mountain biking is all about fun, racing is silly (to me now, it was very important to me for 15 years). Risking injury by pushing it a little faster over those slippery roots so I can get first instead of second in the 50-54 year old class?!

It’s seems ridiculous to me now. I miss my Tuesday crew in Moab. Big rides where everyone goes the speed they want to on the descents, then we laugh, talk smack and enjoy being out in the great wide open.
I love solo rides where I stop and stare in slack jawed wonder at the beautiful place I am in. Those moments where I have pushed myself to my limits and my reward is an amazing view. Then a rip down one of my favorite trails.

I’ve always loved coaching more than my personal racing and continue to be more stoked for my students victories (be they personal bests or race victories) than my own. Watching Mitch Ropelato and Chris Canfield win National Championships and Cody Kelly and Kialani Hines medal in multiple disciplines at the National Championship was much more rewarding than my own win.

Ah, change is hard but beautiful too. Another amazing, challenging and exciting chapter in my life comes to an end. So that another beautiful chapter can begin.

I’m going for a long ride with peaceful spaces between fast, rough, challenging descents.

Anyone want to buy a downhill bike? It’s only six weeks old! Gently ridden by a guy in his 50’s.

* Don’t get me wrong, Whistler has some of the best trails in the world and I like riding them, especially off  Top of the World! It’s just the overall experience of being in that shopping mall atmosphere.

Gently used Downhill Bike.