On September 14, 2016

Uncaging the human spirit

By: Matt Baatz

I remember what hooked a lot of us into mountain biking in the early 90s. The sense of freedom of riding a bike, multiplied by mastering daunting terrain in beautiful natural settings, yielded exponential results. The payoff was nothing short of the liberation of mind, body and spirit. The side benefit of working yourself into incredible shape was just a matter of course and rarely the point.
Festivals and races abounded. The community felt so accessible that at any given race you could hobnob with the virtuosos of the sport, the living legends. The Overends, Furtados, Tomacs and Sydors of the world were just regular people with superhuman skills and lung capacities.
So, unlike many other sports that tout narcissists as role models, to reach the pinnacle of mountain biking practically required that you stay down to earth. There are pompous cliques in every bunch, but it seems like the ones who ride mountain bikes are only trying to compensate for their mediocrity.
Races have always been an integral part of the sport, starting with the legendary repack contests down Mount Tam. (Mount Tam is in the hills outside of San Francisco where some of the pioneers of the sport raced down the fire roads on mountain bikes that they fabricated themselves. Without them and those races, mountain biking as we know it wouldn’t exist.)
From the beginning, competitions were more about camaraderie and adventure than determining a pecking order. This is the spirit with which we approached this year’s race.
“Winners” will be celebrated but quickly forgotten. The intent will be pure adventure, fun, connecting with a great community, and un-caging the human spirit through challenge and communion with nature.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Wellness Revolution Rutland welcomes women to join the August session

July 17, 2024
Biking program builds health, empowerment, and community  Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (Blue Cross VT) and Terry Bicycles are welcoming the return of the Wellness Revolution Cycling Program in Rutland for the 2024 season. This free program serves those who identify as women to help them break through barriers that keep them from getting…

Velomont trail network expands

July 12, 2024
The first completed multi-day segment of the Velomont Trail,a 38-mile loop in Rochester and Pittsfield is complete By Katy Savage For Angus McCusker, a vision he had eight years ago is coming true. His plan to build a 485-mile mountain bike trail, extending from the top of the state to the bottom, broke ground in Rochester…

Is Vermont the ‘Moab of the East?’

July 11, 2024
It’s hard to believe that in just a few short years Vermont is now considered among the top mountain bike destinations in the U.S. The Green Mountain State now sits on countless “must ride” destination lists alongside Sedona, Arizona,  Fruita, Colorado and yes, the true “Mecca” of riding, Moab, Utah. While mountain biking has evolved (with…

Popularity: ridership, trail use, local chapters expand

July 11, 2024
By Polly Mikula Mountain biking in Vermont is now the state’s fastest-growing form of outdoor recreation, according to the Vermont Mountain Bike Association (VMBA) a nonprofit that provides advocacy, education, and community-driven stewardship statewide and to local chapters.  “The growth of the sport has been exponential in the past — call it five years,” Mark…