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  1. #1
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    Keepin the stoke alive.

    Sometimes I find myself just going through the motions of riding, having that stoke is important. Tell me something about one of your recent rides that got you stoked. Is it just getting out with your friends and just spinning? Is it clearing an obstacle that you couldn't clear before? Maybe it's a new bike or part that you find cool. What's keeping that fire lit?

  2. #2
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    After riding something like 25 years, I really can't recall a ride where I'm not completely stoked. To me every ride is about the challenge of pushing it by going harder, smoother, faster, better - its the learning and advancing and challenge of a difficult trail. I think every ride I come back and have learned how to be just a bit better rider. Unless I'm with others, I can't not push myself and red-line it. Not that I'm fast, but rather I can't ride and not push myself. And, when your heart is about to explode out of your chest, its hard not getting a rush. I can't remember when I've ever gone for just an "easy spin".

    To help, we have really good, challenging AM type trails. If we didn't I'm not sure it would be the same.

  3. #3
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    When my fiance passed away, I really lost any desire to ride. I did, but I knew I was just going through the motions. It didn't help that I had taken a bad fall the month before, with 25 stitches and bruises everywhere. The following year, as I was starting to feel the stoke again, I saw my girlfriend crash hard enough to take a helicopter ride off the mountain. It took me nearly two years to get back to the joy I used to feel on a bike. Sometimes knowing that you love something is enough to keep you going, even when you don't feel it.

  4. #4
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    That's deep Evasive, thanks for sharing. I got nothing compared to that story. I will say that I have been dealing with some health issues that have limited my ability to ride. I was losing faith that I wouldn't be able to ride the way I used to. After a lot of physical therapy, chiropractics, acupuncture, and some cortisone shots, I am seeing progress. Granted I'm not super young anymore but I'm happy to be able to push myself a bit. That shimmer of hope has rekindled my stoke.

  5. #5
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    New locales and new equipment have always stoked me but to be honest some YouTubers are doing a good job at it now. That FollowCamFriday channel gets me stoked the most since he's not talking the whole time and he doesn't add some shitty music -- just natural bike-on-trail sounds.

    Yeah, thanks for sharing, evasive. That was a nice contribution.

  6. #6
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    Seeing the smile (stoke) on a newbies face last night on our group ride, definitely makes me appreciate how lucky I am ^^

    Now if I could only get rid of this bloody Sciatica!

    'We'll all make it to the top... Some of us, might not make it to the bottom'
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  7. #7
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    I've been riding for about 12 years but recently started riding more technical stuff and hitting bigger jumps and drops, railing berms and turns a lot better. I also switched to flats recently after 10 years of clipless and it has been so much better than I expected.
    I'm totally hooked on the adrenaline and working on improving. Almost too much so where I'm thinking about it too much and bummed if I can't get a ride in. I'm sure it'll drop down, but right now it's like a drug that I can't get enough of.

  8. #8
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    A good Moab trip last fall definitely helped bring it full circle. It had been over 2 years since my last one, and a good fast rip down Porcupine Rim left me with a post-ride glow that I kept reliving as I went to sleep for weeks.

  9. #9
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    just getting out there puts a smile on my face every day, the alternative is I could be at work all day instead of riding for a hour or two before work.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by scaryfast View Post
    Sometimes I find myself just going through the motions of riding, having that stoke is important. Tell me something about one of your recent rides that got you stoked. Is it just getting out with your friends and just spinning? Is it clearing an obstacle that you couldn't clear before? Maybe it's a new bike or part that you find cool. What's keeping that fire lit?
    I don't really know what happened. Was off the bike for over a month due to a disc pushing on a nerve and making my right leg unusable part of the time.
    There were a couple days I couldn't even crawl on my hands and knees. Was low-crawling around my house dragging that leg during what was supposed to be a 9 day backpacking vacation in December. For whatever reason, pedaling my exercise bike and moving my hip gave me relief. So I started doing that. First for a minute, then two, then thirty. A couple weeks ago I'd turned it into a serious workout, spinning half an hour with more resistance than I was used to when actually pedaling, followed by intervals of standing and mashing at even higher resistance. Then I stopped doing so many intervals, and mashing up to 15-20 minutes at a time.
    First time back on the bike, I noticed I was consistently 2 gears higher than usual on my local trail. Second ride at a much bigger trail system, I was even using the 11T on rolling terrain, and riding much faster than I ever have before. I've never even used that gear on an actual trail before, and never imagined I would. Just wow, and after only a handful of workouts.
    I've not been "seriously into" mountain biking except the past year or so, and never been so excited about it as right now.
    Totally stoked, and can hardly bear the idea of missing a chance to ride. Guess I'm afraid things will go back to "normal" as quick as they ramped up. Like Cinderella or something; it doesn't make sense or seem real, so I feel like I've got to get out there and make the most of it while it lasts.

  11. #11
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    Sometimes you just need to take a different approach to riding to keep it interesting. On group rides we are mostly pushing for faster times, strava pr's etc. For a while I did just that on solo rides too and it started to feel a bit old, plus I'm not really fast or competitive. I've also started feeling physically tired, my body just doesn't feel keen on hard efforts.

    So lately I've been approaching the local trails differently, taking easy, enjoying the good weather, sessioning natural features. It's also the time of year that I switch to flat pedals. A bitch for the first couple of rides, but fun after that. Simple but enjoyable stuff, like dialling a smooth pedal technique so I can ride up a rockgarden, practicing nose pivots, etc.

    As long as you're out there having fun it's all good.

  12. #12
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    I also think taking time off the bike can help as it's easy to get board or burnt out. I usually take summers off for water sports. And trying new trails, riding styles, and more technical features.

    And watching YouTubers like Nate Hill, Seth's Bike Hacks, Single Track Sampler, BKXC, Skills With Phil.

  13. #13
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    Wow evasive, heavy stuff thanx for sharing.

    Just throwing a leg over a bike and making circles is enough to keep the stoke alive and strong for me. We are very fortunate to be able to do what we do.

  14. #14
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    My Stoke Does not Seem to Wane

    I was going to copy all of my recent ride posts to here, but I'm too lazy.

    To sum up:
    - Riding the same trails, but in ever-changing conditions (like snow - every different kind of snow), makes them like new places
    - Sharing the trails with other people, trail users, and creatures
    - Revisiting places that still make you feel like you're somewhere else/new
    - Sometimes really stomping the pedals and seeing a difference in pace/range/fitness
    - Sometimes NOT stomping the pedals and still seeing a difference in pace/range/fitness (those of us with no real training plan and erratic riding schedules)
    - 'Splorin', creek riding, new trails...
    - Seeing or hearing about others doing all of the above

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    Seeing the smile (stoke) on a newbies face....
    I volunteer to help with a local middle school's riding before school group...I have to get up early and move work around but being in the middle of two dozen amped up adolescents who rip it up and fear nothing gets me fired up every time.

    One of these days I'm going to be able to stay with the lead pack!
    Bicycles don't have motors.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    After riding something like 25 years, I really can't recall a ride where I'm not completely stoked. To me every ride is about the challenge of pushing it by going harder, smoother, faster, better - its the learning and advancing and challenge of a difficult trail. I think every ride I come back and have learned how to be just a bit better rider. Unless I'm with others, I can't not push myself and red-line it. Not that I'm fast, but rather I can't ride and not push myself. And, when your heart is about to explode out of your chest, its hard not getting a rush. I can't remember when I've ever gone for just an "easy spin".

    To help, we have really good, challenging AM type trails. If we didn't I'm not sure it would be the same.
    I couldn't sum it up any better for myself...save, only 23 years here


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive View Post
    When my fiance passed away, I really lost any desire to ride. I did, but I knew I was just going through the motions. It didn't help that I had taken a bad fall the month before, with 25 stitches and bruises everywhere. The following year, as I was starting to feel the stoke again, I saw my girlfriend crash hard enough to take a helicopter ride off the mountain. It took me nearly two years to get back to the joy I used to feel on a bike. Sometimes knowing that you love something is enough to keep you going, even when you don't feel it.
    Glad to hear that you found eventual joy in biking. It's hard to explain to those who don't share the same passion.
    Stick around if you're housebroken...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jncarpenter View Post
    I couldn't sum it up any better for myself...save, only 23 years here
    Ha - well, through the many foggy, and indiscernible years, maybe I'm not being very accurate. So it might be plus or minus a few years.

    Thinking out loud... If I recall correctly I built up my first mtb, a fluorescent Haro, Spring of '92. And have been riding pretty consistently since then, so... yeah, around 25 years. Wow, time flys when you are having fun. I should probably be a better biker by now though.

  19. #19
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    All I need to do is take a drive and ride something I don't normally ride, and I usually get pretty stoked. I mean, I enjoy every ride, but there's my 4 x a week trails and my "once or twice a year" trails that take longer to get to -- those are the ones I relive over and over in my mind.

    One of the most standout rides I did last summer was a local ride that I had previously only done on my enduro rig. That ride is a bear because it features about 2500' of climbing in less that five miles -- yet, it's not really technical at all. I did it on my XC 29er and not only was the climb more manageable, I actually really enjoyed riding the descent on a bike that didn't just yawn at everything. Sometimes less is more...

  20. #20
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    My stoke comes and goes. I'll have months of 5-6 rides per week and then I'll find myself skipping a week or two out of boredom with the back yard trails and a lack of time or interest in driving to ride. Usually a change in scenery is about all that is required to bring the stoke back.

    The biggest stoke in recent memory was doing a 3-day group bike packing ride that covered 200+ miles with 20,000' of vertical on gravel, pavement, Jeep roads, and single track with elevations over 10,000'. The evenings around the campfire, the big community breakfast tables, and the conversations and scenery along the way were a definite stoke that carried me through the next few months.

    Keepin the stoke alive.-0729161058a_small.jpg

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgltrak View Post
    My stoke comes and goes. I'll have months of 5-6 rides per week and then I'll find myself skipping a week or two out of boredom with the back yard trails and a lack of time or interest in driving to ride. Usually a change in scenery is about all that is required to bring the stoke back.
    I've gone through spells like that with hiking/backpacking(which I've done a LOT more of). After seeing everything worth seeing within a 4hr drive in every direction, every season, every year...well, knowing what you're about to see every step of the way kinda takes the magic out of it. A trip out West to somewhere like the Rockies, Sierras or Utah's canyons usually lights my fire again.
    That day may come for my mountain biking, but it hasn't yet. So far, different lines, seasons and surfaces make for completely different trails, and it's all an adventure to me

  22. #22
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    Out of town riding is great for stoke, you can't beat that. It's rare for me to have free time so mostly I've been on the same 30 mile of trails for 20 years. (Yes those trail networks have evolved.) As an ex-racer I've always wanted to keep my times quick and as those trails have filled up with younger/faster riders I've found all the motivation I need. It takes commitment/concentration to gain skill while avoiding injury. No longer in the top ten I've failed to keep the speed, and not being a rider with the most steeze I can feel low about not consistently flying awesome scrubs, but I love working on it all. There is no better (for me) way to get a physical work-out then pushing myself on the mtb.
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  23. #23
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    I've found that having kids helps keep my stoke high. I don't get to ride as much as I'd like these days and normally don't ride as long as I'd like, which results in me still wanting more at the end of every ride. Not that I ever lost the passion before but there were times when I wouldn't seize every single opportunity to get on the bike. I don't do that now.

    Also, watching my kids develop an interest in MTB and getting them out on the trails is also excellent for keeping the stoke up.

  24. #24
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    These stories are awesome. Everyone has their own unique story but at the same time, many people can relate. I dig it. Thanks for sharing everyone and keep'em coming!

  25. #25
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    This last Sunday I took my son to the local bike park where he followed my off a big drop and some sizable jumps (at least for me). We had a great time together and it was awesome to see how much his skills have progressed. We raced each other down the dual-slalom course and he beat me. Riding together with him is the best experience.

    Then again, over the course of 30 years of riding, I've had a few here and there that were pretty miserable. Crashes, bugs, blackberry vines, and flat tires have all played parts in bad rides. But the great rides more than make of for the crappy ones by a huge margin.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  26. #26
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    I do not ride when it is cold so during the winter months I have my bike in pieces for repairs and maintenance. For me the process of working on the bike and starting with weak legs and lungs in the spring makes me fall in love with my bike again and gives me a goal to shoot for. My first ride of the season is always filled with pain but it also gives me enough stoke to last me the season until temps drop.

  27. #27
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    I've also been really stoked on winter riding the past few years. Our trails are typically very very technical (rocks and roots) so when they are snow covered they are like totally different trails. It's actually astonishing how much faster you can go on them in the winter. It's like having two trail systems for the price of one.

  28. #28
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    I've been having a rough go at staying motivated as well. I am attempting to recover from the end of a 7 year relationship, and riding is what I use to keep my head straight. Riding was starting to feel stale. I'm starting to achieve higher level of fitness, and bike skills. So i'm stoked on the feeling of progression.

  29. #29
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    Good job! Good and timely topic !

    Quote Originally Posted by scaryfast View Post
    These stories are awesome. Everyone has their own unique story but at the same time, many people can relate. I dig it. Thanks for sharing everyone and keep'em coming!
    +

    To all comments; Great to get us all thinking about that verve to get out and understand it fades with some at times too.
    I'm as excited to hear of those that ride 4-5 or more days a week as I am to hear it's not abnormal to miss a few rides or weeks or ?

    Seventeen or 77 years of age, we all have various life, personal or health issues, different responsibilities with friends family, occupation etc.... and climate variations, ride preferences.

    For me, it's better to avoid the funk of negative thinking when I realize I haven't felt the push to get out or missed a ride with some friends but it does kind of taunt me at times. Just better not to dwell on it.
    Others input and thought's here really help and it's especially uplifting to see some examples where the ride and biking has been a/the tool to rebound in emotional or physical health/fitness and growth ie; MudderNutter and evasive among many other notable examples.

    *Sometimes I find myself just going through the motions of riding, having that stoke is important. Tell me something about one of your recent rides that got you stoked.

    Recent rides/stokes- Last ride a few days ago was at a park I've been to many times. Ride buddy took to a newer trail that was quite challenging for me in the climbs and tech stuff. Felt so good proving I'm a bit stronger than I suspected and cleared a lot (for me) of the tricky stuff. John was on his Kona Honzo tubless that feels 5 pounds (at least) to the better than my steel plus bike and he's close to 10 years younger.

    *Is it just getting out with your friends and just spinning? Is it clearing an obstacle that you couldn't clear before? Maybe it's a new bike or part that you find cool. What's keeping that fire lit?


    All of this ^ for me, I don't do many solo spins.
    - Conversations, camaraderie fitness in the great outdoors.
    - The challenge of following an advanced rider up the craggy stuff.
    - Still learning the capabilities of my newer bike.
    - Riding with friends that enjoy the journey and are not competing to the destination.

    In the Middle Ages, the biggest mistake was not putting on your armor because you were 'just going down to the corner.'

  30. #30
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    I usually like to watch a few videos while I'm getting ready. usually some insanely rad stuff that my skills will not let me do, but it get's me pumped.

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