The last ride of the season comes in many shapes and forms. It could be your last ride due to weather conditions. It could be your last ride due to an injury. For some there is no last ride. But regardless of your lifestyle there is always a beginning and end to the season.
James Healey, Terry Hauk and myself ventured into the woods to see if the fall weather could show us what a last ride means.Pics and Video inside!
Fall is that time of year when riders typically put the bikes into storage and prepare for ski season. Rain is more frequent, the temperature has dropped and it gets dark by the time everyone is off work. Fall is also that time of year to take advantage of unique trail conditions. The fallen leaves add an extra layer of grease, heavy rain provides spongy loam and near freezing temperatures leave no room for error. It's a perfect time of year to re-learn your favorite trails. A Black Diamond trail can quickly become a Double Black Diamond after a rainfall. The trails can quickly become too hazardous though and it's good to avoid an obvious crash. Don't make your last ride a bad memory.
Most extreme sports enthusiasts have been injured at one point or another. It's just part of the game and it usually starts with a simple thought. "This is my last run of the day." Focusing on getting to the bottom to enjoy that nice cold beer overtakes the focus of getting there safely. Hit a few jumps, pump a few corners and before you know it you're in a big cloud of dust wondering what's happened. Your concerned friends come running and help untangle you from your bike. You feel fine but it's just the adrenaline playing tricks. The first words out of your mouth are, "Is my bike okay?" A couple hours later you're at home, in a cast, watching Disorder 10. But making it through a season unscathed is not difficult. Knowing your limits is one way of accomplishing this and enjoying that last ride even more.
Living on the west coast we have access to trails nearly year round so it's important to keep healthy and uninjured. Many riders here don't do "last rides." They ride in every condition all year long. Since moving to the coast I have heard riders talk about snow riding countless times. Many of the trails remain rideable even in February. Even though riding on ice is not as fun as it sounds it is possible and something to at least try. Riding through the winter is good training for the next season. There is always an end to the previous season whether it is in November or February but for a lot of riders there is no last ride.
Keep riding and make those last rides, however they come to be, as memorable as possible.