“When facing a single tree, if you look at a single one of its red leaves, you will not see the others. When the eye is not set on any one leaf, and you face the tree with nothing at all in mind, any number of leaves are visible to the eye without limit.” Takuan Sōhō, The Mysterious Record of Immovable Wisdom.
By: Randy King
Photos: Doug King & Randy King
Yesterday I experienced one of those signature moments in a mountain biking year. Descending LU’s ruff-n-tuff Pscycle Pathe in duo, I rode the rough line most of the way. Bouncing over exposed bedrock and dicing through eroded leftovers, I railed the thing. This alone is a great sensation. However, as I hit the run-out at the bottom, my rear wheel struck a loose rock at high speed. The back end vaulted up, swung right and came forward fast. In the split second interval before a spectacular crash, I realized what had happened, evaluated what was to come, and changed my fate. Slamming my chest down to the handlebars, I twisted the grips to the left slightly and leaned into the carving front wheel. The back wheel landed almost perpendicular to my front wheel and miraculously, the bike straightened out and I rode it out. I shouted out a great “Whoa!” and heard my companion yell “nice save.”
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” Newton’s third law of motion.
At the bottom, waiting for our third amigo, I basked in the thudding-heart glow of having created art-in-motion – a glimpse of greatness. A glimpse of the Zen state No-Thought-No-Mind.
I believe it is why we, grown adults, ride bikes in the woods. It is for moments like these, and for the spontaneous mash-up of skills, luck and improbable execution that can carry the day when all seems lost.
“When you elevate your gaze, you literally elevate your perception of the trail. Instead of noticing individual objects – little round rock, big pointy rock, huge wet rock – you sense the overall flow of the trail – left, right, up and down.” Brian Lopes, Mastering Mountain Bike Skills
Don’t miss – Of Zen and Mountain Biking Part II & Part III (Coming Soon)
For Stanley, Christa, Darren and Dig, who tolerated my early bike-borne Zen ravings.
© Big Mountain Riding