Getting blessedly dirty Down Under
By Sarah Hansing
Sweet, sweet salvation. It was nothing if not a relief to get some dirt on my tires this past weekend – both for myself, and for those poor unfortunate souls who’ve been around road riding, non-mountain biking Sarah for the past few weeks. As I suspected (ok, ok, ok, fine. as I already KNEW) I am not the … erm … (how to put this diplomatically?) … I am not the best version of myself when I stay away from single track for too long. And a week is too long. Two weeks, and I think I begin to get that murderous glint in my eye, that has most likely started to twitch just a teeny bit. Worst of all, I slowly begin to turn into the thing I fear the most. Well, the thing I fear the SECOND most (although turning into a Great White Shark would be kind of cool and all …). I slowly begin the terrifying transmogrification into a GROWN UP.
Look. It’s not that I’m not capable of adulting, because I am. In fact, in a relatively impressive number of arenas, I can adult right up there with the best of them. But there is something very sacred in keeping ahold of that inner giggling juvenile delinquent buried not-so-deep in my soul.
I LIKE getting the giggles about comments that my brain turns into completely inappropriate innuendo. I LIKE that I decided to start skateboarding at 37 years old. I LIKE that I still like to jump in bouncy castles, race go-karts, and pick cool seashells and rocks that I find on the beach. I LIKE that I haven’t lost my thrill for traveling and adventures. And I LIKE that (as my mom can attest to) I am happiest when I am covered in dirt and mud – possibly with some leaves thrown into my hair for good measure.
This past weekend brought me back to myself. The thing that sort of surprised me was that it wasn’t just obvious to me; I was apparently smiling and laughing so much, that I almost looked suspect. “Hansing, did you have too much coffee? Overdose on sugar? Jesus, you didn’t take drugs before a group ride did you?!!!?”
It was none of those things. It was just dirt on my tires, and single track on my mind. Being in the woods, picking my way up and over roots and rocks and threading through the trees … that was enough to turn back the time. The adulting clock has (to my great relief) been reset, and I am free to act my shoe size (times 3 or 4, as I have very small feet) once again.
I’m stoked to be a kid again.
Even more stoked to shred a new trail tomorrow. There’s lots to explore here in Australia, and I intend to get my tires as dirty as I can before I come back home to California and my friends and family there. (I mean, I actually rode past a wombat farm. How cool is that?! It would’ve been cooler if I had gotten to pet one, but STILL.)
Wish you were here, guys!
Fat Tire Tuesday columnist Sarah Hansing has been slinging wrenches as a pro bike mechanic for 15 years (with the exception of a one year stint working for Trek Bicycles in Wisconsin.) Epicenter Cycling scooped her up as their lead mechanic and the shop’s crew plans to keep her forever. Sarah loves riding singletrack, wrenching on bikes, and hanging out with her jerk-face but adorable cat Harlan. (Who is a jerk.)