It was the ride after the wind storm. Debris so thick, it took talent to overcome the obstacles that buried the hard packed dirt of the fire road. I was in a foul mood. I was exhausted from a long work week and Steve-O had decided not to show up. When kids don’t show, I worry about what they’re up to, or why they are not there. That day I questioned why we even keep having these rides. After errant branches made a twisted three dimensional puzzle out of one participant’s rear derailleur, our group headed back out of Nisene Marks State Park, slightly defeated. Thankfully, though, It’s a Wonderful Life mountain bike community, and despite scraped knees, unfriendly terrain, and the missing regular, I had a great day because I was riding bikes with cool kids and cool adults.
The pump track John & I helped build back in July 2010 was a great back-up. Rox and John brought a BBQ and hotdogs. Shawn from Epicenter Cycling lent us a bike to replace the broken one, and was full of welcoming smiles as usual. BBQ, chips, pump track, and one super excited kid got me out of my doldrums.
This one kid, Tim, wanted to jump, catch air, and throw down challenges. I love it when the kids are so lively and engaged with the bikes. They energize me. Tim challenged me to try to take jumps, corner tighter and ride a plank. I performed with mediocrity, but it was so fun.
And that’s what’s important in the end, is to show up and try. We had kids dropped off from Peacock Acres and Jovenes Sanos, they showed up. John the ride leader showed up, Roxanne our newest board member showed up, and Kathy, a new volunteer, she showed up too. We rode through debris, cleaned wounds, adjusted seat posts, cooked hot dogs, and gave pep talks. And we played on a pump track. It turned out to be a great day, and that’s the lesson. Next time we’ll go drag Steve-O out of bed.