A grassroots racing team from Charlottesville, VA.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The Inevitable Trail to Here
I guess it was about 25 years ago when Shawn and I started building trails in these woods, racing our bikes on them with our pals from the neighborhood. When I say neighborhood, I mean the kids from over in Indian Springs and Windrift, neighborhoods just to the west of here that bordered up to farmland, like ours, and Buck Mtn Creek, and the remoteness of whatever lay beyond. We were rural kids, dispersed in a way that urban kids are not, so getting together took a little intelligent transportation, and bikes, quite naturally, were a way to get around.
Also, quite naturally, when you put vehicles like bikes that can go 20 mph or so in the hands of 10 year old kids, they're going to race them. Just the way it is. Outside of stealing away down Markwood Road to the old Chapman grocery, 1/4 of the way to Dyke, to smuggle back 1 liter bottles of Pepsi in our jackets - which was absolutely forbidden by our parents - racing bikes in the woods was a good way to shake out the contagious brain cobwebs of being a kid without much to do. Video games or race bikes. Racing bikes would require building some trails. Video games would be much easier. We chose racing bikes. Still do.
Our dad, always an enabler when it came to getting us out of the house and into the great science experiment that is the natural world at large, sacrificed an old, beat up push mower to our efforts. And without any real knowledge of trail building other than knowing we needed to make some room, we mowed paths through the woods. The damage that we inflicted upon that old mower is something that I'm very proud of, although I don't know whatever became of it. With the trails in place, we cast it aside, dove into loamy dirt with our 10 speeds and BMX bikes, never to see it again. For all I know, it's still out there somewhere, bearing the scars of thoughtless, abusive ownership, and rusting away with the passage of time. We probably ride past it - the trails we built then, we still ride portions of today.
A year ago this week, when Shawn decided to open up a Bike Shop, there was a sense of fate about it that just felt appropriate. Of course he is doing that, one might have said, finally - acknowledging it as the only likely finish to a trail that was built a long, long time ago, and actually sort of surprised that it took this long to find it's way to this point. A year later, he's been successful. As a reader of this blog, chances are you've been a part of all of this, so thanks are definitely in order for your role, however small it might have been, in helping build the inevitable trail to this point. Stick around, good things are still coming right around the corner, wherever the trail goes next.
But that's the thing about fate: however inevitable it might be, you've still got to build your way there.
I'm proud of you, Bro.
And not just because I want free appetizers on Thursday.