The only way to enjoy being an unstoppable force is to have obstacles in your path. You need to have things that try to stop you, that get in your way, so you get a sense of how fast you’re going as you smash through them. Sometimes this works out, sometimes it doesn’t.
But such is life.
Since time immemorial, turning on the lights in a pub has signaled the beginning of the end of your night. The room lit up, your thoughts turn to securing that last drink, finding that greasy snack, or making that last-minute connection. For the past couple of years, the arrival of Frozen Thunder at the Canmore Nordic Centre has signaled the imminent end of the bike season. Snow has been creeping ever-lower down the mountains, frost is now ever-present during morning rides. Thoughts now turn to the off-season. Cross-training, hitting the gym, running (blech!), maybe the occasional swim. The off-season is coming. Frozen Thunder is telling you ” You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”
It’s early and I’m already up. My body is still on Mountain time and I’m awake as very early melts into early. I have to be on the road in a couple of short hours, an eight hour drive across a still sleeping, unconscious, Washington State.
I didn’t really know what to expect. I had ridden the Dewdney Trail fifteen years ago (almost). Since that time, my memory of it has become hazy. A blur, now more feelings and impressions than concrete detail. However, I do remember that, at the time, I really liked it. With the access road literally across the street from my motel, the eminently charming-in-it’s-own-way Rossland Motel, I set out to re-acquaint myself with a trail that I had ridden only once, many years ago.
The Montane Traverse is never as easy as I want it to be. Or rather, it’s an easy trail, except when it’s not. The easy parts are pretty easy and the hard parts can actually be kinda hard. The problem is that there’s nothing in between. That and, also, I usually forget about the hard parts until I’m just about to ride them.
Of the two trails that best represent the soul of mountain biking in Canmore, EKG is undoubtedly the most popular. This doesn’t mean that it’s the best trail in the area, although it is pretty decent, but rather that it’s very accessible. And I mean that in every sense of the word. EKG is both easy to get to, and easy to ride. All of this is good, as the trail can be very fun.
If you are caught unprepared by a sudden rainstorm, you should not run foolishly down the road or hide under the eves of houses. You are going to get soaked either way. Accept that from the beginning and go on your way. This way you will not be distressed by a little rain. Apply this lesson to everything.
– Yamamoto Tsunetomo, The Hagakure