Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"What is Flat?"

  Although I still consider myself primarily a bicycle commuter and not a bicycle racer, recent competitive events have given me some interesting perspective.
  At last month's Hilly Billy Roubaix I found that if we weren't going down we were going up. In other words there were seldom any genuinely level stretches of consequence. No sustained "flat."
  On holiday this past week an old friend loaned me a rather nice 29er and took me on some single-track for a couple of hours. I sorely underestimated what that meant as we proceeded up and down hills of rock that appeared more like sport climbing routes than bicycle trails. Each time he slowed to let me catch up he described the trail ahead: "From here we'll go down to the left where it really flattens out before we jump back up a short climb..." He would say. The downhills were always treacherous. I think instead of removing rocks from the trail the club actually sought out rocks to add. A counter intuitive maneuver in my experience.
  But more to the point, where was the so-called flat trail? How did I miss it again and again? My lesson from these two experiences? Flat is relative. I'll never complain about those few rollers on my commute to work again.
Riding in Dryden, Ontario.


  1. I don't like steep. I do like rolling. I mistrust anyone who tells me a route is "mostly flat"!

    1. I think that's good wisdom for me to adopt!