I'll never claim to be a religious man because I'd be lying if I did and we all know where liars go. Washington DC is a place where I have no desire to take up permanent residence. My personal religious views are well known by those in my inner circle. I am most assuredly a believer. My belief system is simply based on something slightly more grounded than an omnipotent being. All I have ever needed to believe in is the overwhelming power of well manipulated aluminum tubing and the sacred space between my saddle and my handlebar. Amen.
This thought struck me this morning as I maneuvered my bike along a ribbon of single track in the warmth of the early morning sun. There are those who will tell you that god is found in ornate buildings lined with sculptures and multi-colored windows. I spent my childhood staring through those distorted panes questioning why any god would choose such uncomfortable seating. As the light danced off the leaves this morning I knew full well that there was perhaps something more to learn than what I found inside those walls. I found a more comfortable seat as well.
You few yet faithful followers of my random musings may notice something odd about the picture above. No, closer examination will not reveal a large reptilian creature momentarily breaking the water's surface before returning to the depths. The oddity in this photo is my chosen mode of transportation. I, at least for the moment, do not own a mountain bike so I have borrowed one from my favorite Greek. I'll pause a moment while you all catch your breath. Is everybody OK? Good. This has been an eventful week indeed. I was able to sell my most recent rig within days of posting it on the local message board. It is not gone entirely. A few choice pieces have remained to bring another in my stable up to speed. The frame and fork however have passed through my fingers and hopefully gone on to good homes. You may think this is the last act of a dying man but that is not the case. This week I finally received confirmation of the delivery of my new rig. At long last my bike is heading toward American soil. With just over a week to go before the delivery I can say that I am more than a little bit excited. You will be too when you see her in all her glory.
So what have I been riding? A bike with a personality more unbalanced than my own. With a 29" wheel in the front and a 26" wheel in the back, my borrowed machine leaves me a bit confused. Perhaps the engineers who were designing it were drinking heavily on final draft day. The bike can move, I will give it that. It can climb like a goat and accelerates faster than a standard 29er. All is well until you turn. With two different sized wheels tracking at different rates I find it is far better to just go straight all the time. I tried that this morning and can say that it did not work as well as I had hoped. If nothing else, the color of this bike really works for me.
With my morning ride leaving me a bit less than satisfied I decided to pursue my quest for tranquility elsewhere. Today seemed like a perfectly fine day for a hike. With a brisk ascent to the top of Crowder's Mountain, my thirst to embrace the natural world was being quenched. A light breeze kissed the top of the mountain and broke the afternoon heat. The views from the top were refreshing as always. Perhaps the most important part of any journey to this locale is finding the view back to Charlotte. She sits off in the distance and although very real, seems to be more a memory than a part of daily life. Perhaps it is the chaos of day to day living that drives people into church on Sunday morning. It may not be the religious experience itself but instead, a coming together. A community if you will. And perhaps, just maybe, I found a little bit of that on the hill today.
I'll let you figure this one out on your own.
Like I said in the beginning, I'm not a religious man and I'll never pretend to be. I also won't suggest to anyone else which particular path they should follow. And no, for those of you wondering if a tide has turned, I did not have a religious experience today. I will say this. There is much to be enjoyed in our world that has nothing to do with Tivo, iphones or anything made by D&G. There is a peace that can be found by embracing the outdoors in any form that suits you. Take a deep breath, feel the wind on your face, and you tell me what you believe.