Keeping the wheels rolling forward, nice ‘n easy
By Sarah Hansing
Well, I hit my head again.
No surprise I suppose, but this is the third (or fourth?) helmet I’ve cracked in 14 months, and this time it rattled me. And by “rattled” I don’t just mean it addled my brain. I mean it shook me to my core, emotionally. It scared me. And because of concussion number three (four? I can’t honestly remember) … because of the frequency of hits to the head, I took a pretty long break from the trails.
It was with great trepidation and a lot of coaxing from friends and co-workers that I finally put tires to dirt again recently.
I’ve been creeping along the trails. I mean REALLY picking my lines carefully, and trying to not do anything that falls into what could be defined as “dumb.”
No taking chances. No hauling ass as fast as I can go on the trails. No jumps (well … ok, maybe just the baby ones …). No shucking, jiving, ducking or weaving through the trees as fast as I used to, or as fast as I USED to want to.
It’s an interesting turn for me, this whole “learning that maybe I’m mortal” thing.
Previously, I had never really quite understood when people had told me that they just sort of cruised carefully in the woods, because they didn’t want to get injured again. I simply couldn’t register not being able to just shake an injury off and bounce right back into the swing of the singletrack.
But I get it now.
Because it turns out the MOST important thing is just being out in the woods, and soaking it all in; smelling the redwoods, enjoying the sounds of your tires on dirt and connecting with yourself, your friends and with nature.
Maybe I’ll get back to trying to gun it and smash my Strava times. But for now, I’m actually pretty content to just roll it, smile and enjoy my time upright on two wheels.
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.)