Mountain bikers are intense, extreme, and don’t want anyone else getting in the way of their ride.
Or so I thought.
I’ve been road biking and running for about 6 years now. But six months ago, I was invited to a couple gatherings of people interested in building trails in Vinton. We walked a bit of the trail the group had already been working on and my mind was blown. This was real! What was once acre-upon-acre of thick brush and overgrown woods, was now home to a very clear (albeit at the time, rough) trail! And over the next few months, it has only gotten better.
So I dusted off my old mountain bike, strapped on my helmet, and headed for the trail head. I don’t consider myself to be a mountain biker, by any means. But…it…was…SO MUCH FUN!
Biking on the singletrack upper trail is a rush – hair pin turns, climbs, descents, bridges, up-and-over ramps (to say nothing of the teeter-totters and skinny’s I’m still mustering the courage to try). Even just riding a flat straightaway is exhilarating! You focus on the next 10 feet and that’s it. You can’t think about work or laundry or bills…. You get to think 3-5 seconds ahead of you. There’s something refreshing in that.
The lower trail is more open and quiet. It’s fairly flat and the turns come with a bit more warning. The river is literally only a few feet away at times. You can look up and around occasionally and realize you’ve gotten away. And that’s exhilarating, too.
Why? Because it’s nature, and it’s beautiful, and I’m a part of it. I’ll never conquer it. Bruises, scrapes, jammed fingers, adrenaline rushes…I’m far from conquering it. But I’m not there to conquer it, just enjoy it. And for that reason, anything you do on the trails is exhilarating. Walk, run, bike, ski, snowshoe, walk your dog…whatever. You’re out there, and you’re a part of it. There’s a reason people hate treadmills. We want to be out!
By now, I’ve spent more time on foot on the trails than I have on wheels. I’ve walked it with my husband and kids several times. I’ve run it by myself and with a friend. And that group of mountain bikers I’ve started hanging around – they’re okay with it. Turns out, they rather relish knowing that other groups are getting use out of their hard work. And people of all ages, male and female, walkers, bikers, runners – all kinds have been out there, and they all seem to enjoy it!
I’ve learned that people who ride mountain bikes can be intense, they can be extreme, but they generally want you to be where they ride! So don’t be intimidated – the trails are meant to be multi-purpose! So do your part and make them multi-purpose! How will you #ridevinton?
VORC Board Member
Ashey is regular contributor to the ridevinton.com blog.