• The Eki Chronicles
    The Eki Chronicles A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.
  • The Eki Chronicles
    The Eki Chronicles A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike
  • The Eki Chronicles
    The Eki Chronicles A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.
  • The Eki Chronicles
    The Eki Chronicles A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.
  • The Eki Chronicles
    The Eki Chronicles A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.
  • The Eki Chronicles
    The Eki Chronicles A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.

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A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.

Learning to Fly

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I've been on sort of a mission lately. In search of a change to keep things "fresh" on the bike I've decided to dive head long into my Horsethief. Determined to learn how to use the bike for what it was designed to do - FLY!

Now, I'm a XC rider, always have been. In other words, I'm most comfortable when both my tires are firmly planted on the ground. When I do manage to get airborne I tend to stop breathing, stop seeing, and there's a whole lot of pucker sounds happening. I need to get over it.

Yesterday I lubed up the chain, took the Horsey off the hook in the garage and pointed it toward my local trail system in Duluth, known as the Piedmont Trails. Piedmont has a whole section devoted to big drops and air. I've always avoided it, pretending to be too cool for it as us cross country guys need to get our laps in, there's no time for goofing off. So, I skipped the work out for some "goofing off". Thing is, for me it wasn't playing around. I was dead serious and quietly worried that I would end up in the E.R. right in the middle of race season. Oh well, one can't worry about getting hurt, because what would ever get accomplished? I spied the first jump, a boulder in the shape of a ramp jutting out of the middle of the trail. "That's where I'll start", I thought. I rode past the rock looking at it closely as I passed. Once I was positioned at my starting point, the rock looming in the distance, almost laughing at me, I said out loud to myself, "You taught yourself to snow board, you can teach yourself this too." "Don't hesitate!", was the last thing through my head as I pushed off down the trail, gaining speed, and aiming for the ROCK. I hit it, thrust my body up as I felt the front tire leave the ground. Every thing went quiet and slipped into slow motion, I was in the air and things were going fine. The Horsethief touched down with both tires landing at the same time. The suspension soaked up the landing and I felt as if I had landed on a mattress. Grinning ear to ear I squeezed the brakes, turned around and rode back up to my starting point. 7 times I hit that rock, hucking myself higher and farther every time. It felt right.

I moved through the "black diamond" route, practicing certain sections over and over while simply skipping some sections as I needed to be honest about my limitations. I rode through a pure down hill course set up by some people who have a vision for what can be ridden on a bike that I do not share. Honestly, I'm not sure how any one could ride down the line they had cut out of the hillside above Skyline Drive. Truly SICK! I could barely walk my bike down it.

Day 2: 

I rode out to Spirit Mountain in an effort to practice that wildly popular Candy Land trail. This is the beginner down hill trail at Spirit, but it seemed like the perfect place for me to start. I could see the jumps and the lay out of the course, but just couldn't get the "flow", which is what is supposed to be all about. I "cased" landing after landing, slamming the suspension to it's bottom out point over and over. I was getting frustrated and called myself a "chicken" more than once.

Unable to afford the lift ticket I chose to ride up the mountain after each trip down. This is no small feat as Spirit is STEEP! Also, I figured I had not yet earned the right to use the chair lift, I was too much of a rookie. My final run down I took a little more risk and hit one of the jumps harder and faster than I had earlier. I felt myself lift off and begin to float. Just before I thought I was about to black out I touched down on the down slope of the second jump and the transition from air to ground was seamless. It felt sooooo good. I got a huge rush of adrenaline and instantly realized that this is what it was all about.

I'm not done hucking. All be chasing that feeling I got when I hit and landed that double - was it a double? I don't know, but it sounds cool. So, for now that's what I'm going to tell my friends.

"Yeah, when I hit that double it felt so good."

Eki

 

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A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.

Comments

  • Guest
    moved here Griff Wigley Monday, 26 August 2013

    Tim, I've yet to get to Piedmont or Spirit Mtn but it's on my agenda for this fall.

    I'm in a similar place as you, though, wanting to learn to fly. And I had a similar experience on my trip to Copper Harbor MI trail system earlier this summer. I rented a full suspension bike on my last ride of the day, just to see what it's like to fly, if only a little. Wow. Like you wrote above, I came away "grinning ear to ear."

    Hopefully I'll have something in the 'full squish' department next spring. And yes, I've got my eye on that split-pivot Horsethief.

  • Guest
    hook up apps usa Morny Sunday, 27 December 2015

    Never thought bike will be used to fly, after reading this post totally changed my mind. I've become so inspired to learn this trick and looking forward to fly my mountain bike also. Do you guys have recommendation for me, where I can learn or any guru favorite of your?

  • Guest
    Geoll Monday, 16 September 2019

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Guest Tuesday, 19 November 2019

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