So I saw this article written by Cam McRae (editor of nsmb) last night. It cracked me up and rang true because my crew's weekly Thursday night rides sound awfully similar to theirs in both mindset and execution.
I'm guessing this is true of many of the folks here on the Passion board. Enjoy!
Article link here:
Words and photos Cam McRae
His prop is a one-gallon wide-mouth Mason. The speaker begins placing fist-sized stones into the jar until they reach the top and then asks if the vessel is full. His audience nods in assent until he pulls out some pebbles. He lets them rattle down into the spaces between the stones until there’s no more room and he again asks his question; is the jar full? He repeats the process with sand and finally water and then asks his audience the point of his performance.
The idea isn’t that you can always get more in to a given slice of time; it’s that the big mothers need to go in first or they’ll get left behind.
So what are the big rocks? That of course is the most important part of the exercise. Without nailing down the things that really make your list it’s pretty tough to make time for them.
Riding is a priority for me – all year long. On the rare occasions when we get a lot the wrong kind of snow here on the North Shore – the wet, sticky variety that’s impossible to plow through on even the steepest lines – I get grumpy fast. The first couple of days after a dump I let all the white stuff transport me back to the years when I rode my snowboard whenever I wanted. After that, since days when I can dodge and head to Whistler or Baker are becoming as rare as a ladder bridge in Marin, I simply pine for the dirt.
Quite a few of the really talented and enthusiastic riders I know take some time off the bike every year – often a month or more. It may be in the winter, out of necessity, but often it’s a conscious choice to park the two-wheelers and recharge. I wonder if Mark Weir voluntarily takes a break? (for more on Mark Weir’s million-foot year see below) There have been some injury-imposed intermissions for me but otherwise I’ve never parked it and I’ve never wanted to.
Until recently though there was a wide gap between the number of rides I wanted to get in per week and the number of times I was actually in the saddle and on the dirt – a surefire recipe for meltdown. It seemed my jar was full.
Back in the day, before NSX 1 showed up on bike store shelves, Trevor Hansen and I had a weekly night ride. Yes – if you like you can call it a man date - but anyone who wanted to join was welcome. Every Thursday we’d ride on one of the three North Shore Mountains with the help of halogen and NiCad. We’d firm it up on Wednesday, to sort out the when and where and who, but it was set in stone; Thursday was for night riding. Back then we both lived in the big city and generally Trevor would roll by my place in his Hyundai Pony, with ‘custom’ bike racks, and we’d head for the Lions Gate bridge. We usually ended the night at the Black Bear Pub or maybe with a few cold ones sitting on the bumper.
Instead of dying a respectable death with at least a few beers raised in memory, the Thursday night ride just faded away. For years since something has gotten in the way of even the occasional wattage-assisted adventure. Fortunately the Thursday night ride is back. The week before last it became the Wednesday night ride (at Trevor’s urging) and he bailed at the last minute, but we’re back to Thursday and all systems are go.
Saturday and Sunday are also pretty much guaranteed ride days but sneaking one in during the week, every week has tipped the odds in my favour. I’m aiming to get a fourth ride in consistently and that’s proving to be difficult unless I can figure out an ironclad reason to call it work. I dragged Stu Kernaghan out on one of these rides a couple of weeks back. There was fresh snow on Fromme - and all the way down to the city - and it took some convincing but the Doc came along and was the better for it. Having a weekly ride appointment also gets you out in all kinds of weather. Since Trevor and I – along with Colin Miller- resurrected the Thursday night ride we’ve had a full moon, two days when it pissed rain from start to finish, three snow rides and about five occasions when the weather was just right. Having blustery encounters with mother nature is truly one of the best things about the riding here. The off-season is often my best riding season.
In the summers there are times when I ride quite a bit and others when it’s tough to find a day to get out. Some of the best riding situations during the season are media events where there are bikes of all kinds to try out so you can do some downhilling as well as engage in some old school tactics. My schedule during the season is haphazard though and it becomes fairly rare that I can just rip out and ride exactly what I want to ride. Note – I am not complaining. I couldn’t start from scratch and invent a better way to make a living – but the absence of a rhythm makes it harder to notice the benefits our obsession can have on real life.
Lately it’s been crystal clear.
There are those who would say there’s something pathological about the need to ride – and they’re probably on to something. I’d wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain.
Big rocks. Riding my mountain bike is a big rock for me and until I can no longer swing a leg over, it will continue to be among the first into my mason jar.
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